Depart: Bahia Honda State Park 11:45
Arrive: Faro Blanco Marina, Marathon, FL 1:45
Distance: 14 NM
The park ranger at Bahia Honda State Park told us we could stay past the normal check out time, so we went exploring in the morning before departing for Marathon. My only regret was that I had neither my FitBit nor my cell phone with me to track the number of steps I took today. We walked for more than two hours and covered a whole lot of territory. I just don't know how far we walked.
|Mounds of Sea Grass - good for the environment|
|Artistic shot: "Tangled Wood"|
|Peaking through the branches|
|Ev on bridge|
Leaving the dock area to do more exploring at the park
Around the campers campsite area ...
We crossed under the highway ...
|6'8" Clearance to go under the highway|
Clark wanted to be measured to be sure he could fit under!
|Painted water pipe - very attractive compared to the alternative|
|I liked the turtle the best|
|View from under the highway|
We came out from under the highway and walked down a long road on a sunny and humid day. At one point I told Clark, "I'm melting!"
|Long, hot walk to see the cabins|
(Fishermen on side of road)
|Here are the cabins.|
The road we had just walked had a fence that ran the full length of it. Clark said that if we crossed the highway, we could walk on the ocean side. That sounded like a great idea, and I found us a gate to get through. We crossed over the four lane highway and came to the main entrance for the park. Fortunately, we saw little to no traffic at the point when we wanted to cross the highway.
|Bahia Honda State Park|
We walked past the guard station where admission fees are collected. The park ranger came out to greet us. I guess he wanted to collect his per-person admission fees. We told him we came by boat and kept walking.
|Long road back but much cooler with the ocean breeze.|
|Interesting, but I have no clue what I am looking at.|
|Love this "Share the road sign"|
Share with bikes, golf carts, pedestrians and turtles!
Natural landscaping on the Atlantic Ocean beach...
The next part of our self-guided tour brought us to the old Bahia Honda bridge trail.
|Gnarly Tree At Bahia Honda State Park|
|Up we go ...|
|Lone shrub on an island|
(seen on the walk up to the bridge)
We got great scenery once we reached the bridge.
|View of the beach below|
Clark could not believe the bridge was wide enough for two cars to pass. He paced off the bridge and came up with 20.5' wide.
|Only a short section of the road is made available for viewing.|
The rest is gated off.
|Looking down on the Atlantic Ocean side|
|View towards the Gulf|
After entering the main entrance and passing the guard station, we came upon a man replacing the green "safe" weather flag with a yellow "hazard" flag. Signs posted nearby said, "No kayak rentals today". As we stood on the bridge, the people around us commented on how windy it felt today compared to the day before. One man stood with his arms outstretched with the wind hitting him and said, "I feel like that guy, uh, Leonardo da Vinci, in the movie Titanic." He told his wife to climb up on the railing to recreate the scene. She declined.
I had hoped that we could walk a bit of a distance on the bridge, but since that would not be the case, we made our way back down to the Atlantic Ocean beach side. Here we got another perspective on the bridges.
|Highway built on top of old railroad trestle|
|65 feet in the air|
The exploration of the old bridge trail was our last activity before heading back to the boat to get ready to leave for Marathon. Clark checked the radar and saw a storm headed our way, so we made haste to leave before the storm's arrival. The folks we met from the sailboat "Serena" were already preparing to leave when we arrived back at "Sunset Delight". Clark helped them throw off their last line and they were underway.
|"Serena" making her way up the narrow channel exiting the|
Bahia Honda State Park docking area
We enjoy meeting new people and chatting with them, but sometimes it can be extremely inconvenient to chat. As we hastily prepared to cast off, a gentleman meandered over to gawk and talk. Trying to be at least somewhat polite, we gave short answers to his myriad of questions. As I busily removed my fenders and chatted to Clark via my headset, the man decided to start talking about how nice it was we could talk to each other. "I don't have anyone to guide me", he said, "so I backed my truck into the fence over there and dented it."
He proceeded to explain how he had no boat now, but he wanted to get one just like ours and travel to the Virgin Islands. He asked where we got our boat. He also asked, "How do you get to the Virgin Islands?" I wondered if he has never owned a boat and, if he backs his pickup into fences, how he would do with a 50+' boat.
Glad to be leaving, I prepared to pull in my last line and said, "Sorry we couldn't chat, but we are trying to get out of the way of a rainstorm." He then asked where we were heading and how long we would be there. "I'll be at Faro Blanco on Tuesday", he replied to my answer. "I'll look for you then." Oh joy!
As we left the park, we passed a small sailboat.
|Sailing class in progress|
We decided to take the gulf-side route to get to Faro Blanco - it would be shorter and less windy. The down side of this choice is the bridge clearance of only 20'. We had to take our mast down. Unlike most bridges, this bridge had no clear indication as to where we should pass under it. Clark stationed me on the bow to spot for troubled waters in terms of depth. Only problem ... I could not see very far into the water to have any clue what might be under there. It might be shallow or deep, clear of obstructions, or full of hazards. I had no idea.
As we approached the bridge span Clark finally decided to target, he asked me repeatedly, "Will we make it?" "I have no idea", I replied. "I don't have a good perspective from down here on the bow." Finally, I gave him the affirmative answer he was looking for, and we passed under the bridge. From my less-than-ideal vantage point, it looked like we had plenty of room, but we agreed that we definitely needed to lower the mast.
A hardy tree grows on the bridge adjacent to Route 1. We have come to learn over time that at some point the tree acquired the name "Fred". I recently read a Facebook post by someone from Marathon.
The story went like this. ...
"I was driving on Route 1 and saw some debris in the road that appeared ready to cause an accident. I called the police and told them, 'There's something dangerous on the road - right by Fred'. The police responded, 'Okay, we know exactly where you mean. We'll get someone out there right away.' Only in the Keys can you give Fred as a mile marker!"
|"Fred" on bridge near Route 1|
We hoped to find less traps on the Gulf side than we dealt with on the Atlantic Ocean side approaching Bahia Honda State Park - no such luck. One or the other of us had to be alert and steer manually to avoid hitting them. They were everywhere and in no particular pattern. We had no hope of putting the boat on autopilot, so we could put our mast back up. The trap markers came in all sorts of colors - white, yellow, red, and sometimes green. Some colors are harder to see than others.
|Green trap marker on blue-green water ...|
"The worst!" per Clark
Even in the channel, we had to weave around trap markers. Normally the channels are considered off limits. That certainly was not the case here. Finally, we left the traps behind us long enough to get the mast in the upright position. Shortly after, we found ourselves at the entrance to the Faro Blanco marina.
|Entrance to Faro Blanco Marina on the Gulf side of the Keys|
We got settled in and registered. Boaters we know from prior years stopped by to welcome us and tell us about docktails tonight. Instead of the place we met in past years, docktails would convene by Mel and Ann's boat which is one slip over from ours. When we got together later, we had a good turn out and a very long docktails. It started at 5:00 p.m. I got chilly and left around 7:00. Clark returned to "Sunset Delight" about 40 minutes later. The gathering continued on until almost 9:00 without us.
Somewhere in there Clark managed to get a gorgeous sunset picture!
|Sunset in Marathon, FL|