Boot Key Harbor – Week 2

We spent a total of two weeks in BKH (Boot Key Harbor). While there, a go-fast boat poker run paraded by.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We got to see a manatee even if the video evidence is quite brief.

 

 

We spent time at the Sunset Grille which is at the start of the famous Seven Mile Bridge

 

 

One of the best things about being a cruiser in BKH is the “BKH Cruiser’s Net” that is broadcast every 9AM on VHF channel 68. This communications link (along with their FB page) ties the live-aboard boater community together in a way I wish landlubbers did. Communicating with your boating neighbors everyday in just the two weeks connected us with more neighbors than our 13 years in our previous land-based home.

There is a format to “the net” that starts by allowing new cruisers to introduce themselves and departing cruisers to say goodbye. They then do announcements about rules of the harbor, weather, meet-ups, Charity work, etc. They allow boaters to ask questions of the group (ex. Can anyone help me program my Raymarine autopilot?) The amount of boating knowledge in the community is impressive. They hold a buy/sell/trade/give-away/ask-for different items cruisers want/don’t want. They do a trivia section and end with different boaters contacting each other on other channels to discuss business of sorts.

Through the Net, I learned of a cruiser, Capt. David of S/V Expectations who was offering to share his knowledge of the NW Caribbean.

 

David shared a book and his notes about sailing in the NE Caribbean. A popular route from Key West is to sail along Cuba’s coast to Cozumel, MX then down to Costa Rica, Guatemala, Roatán and Honduras. I and many other captains jumped at the opportunity to talk with this life-long boater to pick his brain about navigating these areas as well as his fishing tips. Below are two lures David was suggesting as well a pneumatic spear gun in lieu of a gaff.

 

 

David spent many years in Rio Dulce, Guatemala where it cost him $125/month for a slip. Not a bad deal to live in paradise.

 

Living on a boat we often spend time staring at the night sky. When you look around boat the sailboat anchor lights sway to and fro like dancing stars.

 

 

 

On one particular night I was staring up at the stars when I saw a meteorite or possibly a piece of “space junk” come flaming down to Earth. It only lasted about 2-3 seconds but it was an amazing sight to see. I was moved enough that I submitted an online “Fireball Report” at amsmeteors.org

While we were in the harbor there was a salvage operation going on that included an old sport-fisher with a bar and block on it’s bow being used to raise up a sunken vessel (possible Hurricane Irma victim).

 

 

Yes, that is an outboard mounted to the back of that sport fisher. You’ll see all kinds of things like this moment where boaters just dropped a full-size fridge on the bow of their runabout to deliver to a larger boat in the harbor. The community here donates items to fellow boaters in need. Many of the boaters here live life on a shoestring budget and donations are used when the budget is dry.

While listening to the net you’ll hear requests like the one from a family of 4 living aboard a 28’ sailboat bound for Guatemala that were looking for play dates for their children as well as home-school lesson plan swapping. I look up to these cruisers for their self-sufficient life style.

Each night we join in blowing our conch horn to announce that the sun has set.

 

We enjoyed dinking around the harbor with the dogs

 

 

 

 

We motored through Sister’s Creek and found many great sights of birds, boats and one spectacular tree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

But best of all were the sunsets in BKH

 

 

 

Boot Key Harbor – FL

Boot Key Harbor Florida
0 BKH Map

This last week we have been in BKH – (Boot Key Harbor). The week was made extra fun due to Susan’s visit. Right off the bat, Susan & I decided to do some snorkeling out at Sombrero Reef. We took the dinghy out via Sister’s Creek. Here are a few photos of the homes along Sister’s Creek.

As you exit the mouth of Sister’s Creek, off to port you’ll find Sombrero Beach.
Sombrero Beach is both dog & dinghy friendly.

2 Sombrero Beach

Sombrero Reef is marked by a tower approximately 4 miles offshore.

 

The dinghy ride out to the reef was a bit wavy but the water was nice and clear.

Upon arrival we tied to one of the free buoys provided by the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Buoy Program  . Anchoring is prohibited due to possible damage of the living coral below.

While Susan has snorkeling and SCUBA experience,  it all new to me. It’s not easy getting into all that gear in a small dinghy.  Once suited up we snapped a quick pic.

The only underwater camera I had was an actual Kodak disposable film camera (not digital). So much for being a tech-guy. The film says it expired in 2006 but it was still in the packaging. Anyone know where to find a fotomat booth in the Keys 😉

Kodak Film Camera
Film inside expired in 2006 but the best I had to go underwater

I was amazed that the fish completely surrounded me. Attempting to swim,  I had to avoid touching the fish. Below us we could see two scuba divers and their bubbles racing to the surface.

[ Insert snorkeling photos once developed ]

Back at the BKH dinghy dock (one of the largest dinghy docks I’ve ever used). They have some great dinghy dock rules that separate the hard dinghys from the soft (inflatable) dinghys. Dinghy etiquette demands that you leave your engine down and tie with a long enough painter line that when other dinghys approach the dock for offloading persons and gear they can push your dinghy out of the way and contact the dock directly.
Once offloaded you simply tie your dinghy with a long line and push it back off the dock. I wish everyone knew to do this. I can’t tell you how many times I have landed in Block Island’s Boat Basin at the Oar restaurant and had to climb over many dinks that were “short tied”.

7 Dingy Dock
Dinghy Dock at Boot Key Harbor

Now it was off for a drive to Key West. Our drive down Rte. 1 was lined with colorful water and dark ominous clouds.

We saw many of these lizards that I’ll call it a Bearded Dragon.  Reptilian experts chime in please. 9 Bearded Dragon

We arrived at Key West for some shopping for the kids back home and a few drinks. We started our walk at the Harbor Walk end of Duval St.

10 Harbor Walk

10 Duval St

Walking Duval you see many great sights. 11 Parrot 1

11 Roosters 1

11 Sloppy's Joe's Bar

We stopped in Irish Kevin’s for a little music and an IPA. Check out their webcam

We also grabbed some food & drinks at Willie T’s which is an interesting bar as the walls are covered in money with written quirky sayings on them like “Show me your pineapples”.

 

12 Willie Ts
Susan & I enjoying apps and drinks at Willie T’s

Lastly, it was time for some dinner & drinks at Lazy Days South.

13 Lazy Days South
Kelly & I enjoying happy hour at Lazy Days South bar
13 Cheers
Cheers!