12/6 – 12/11
Next stop was Sanibel Island, where our sons met us for the trip to Key West. We tooled around for two days checking out the area in the little red convertible they had rented for their trip across the state to meet us. This was the first time we had access to a vehicle since Dog River, AL. Our sons also explored the area in the dinghy, which met its fate later at the hands of a big wave. Once again, we learned something after the fact; clear bottom dinghies are no longer made because they always crack and caused Zodiac more trouble than they were worth.
Unfortunately, we never got to use ours in clear water. In Naples we launched the new dinghy, not a clear bottom one. Notice the old one folded up on the dock. We liked the city marina, complete with nearby restaurants, the city dock and what we saw of the city of Naples. The trip from Naples to Key West took seven hours at an average speed of 17mph. We took turns at the helm and were happy our sons were aboard to help, with the First Mate doing the navigating. There’s not much to do in open water except make sure we’re on course, so it can get a little boring. Unfortunately, the dinghy deal in Naples took too long and we didn’t leave until 11:30. Therefore, we arrived in Key West after dark, something we vowed never to do in a strange port. But, with the use of our navigational equipment and paper chart, we were able to dock at the city marina in Key West Bight without incidence. We had made the reservation earlier and were given our slip assignment, a procedure we have used throughout our trip. We viewed our first Key West sunset of the trip en-route to our dock.