We awoke ready to leave and head towards Mangrove Marina in Tavernier and to finally be in the Florida Keys! It was still very windy and the waves were choppy. We had to leave the marina and find a close gas stop (which was another windy/concrete/choppy nightmare) and then down Biscayne Bay we went. Although the bay is very large and the waves were still choppy the ride was very comfortable. As the waterway got skinny again, we traversed Card Sound and thru Jewfish Creek in Key Largo. We passed Gilbert’s Resort just beyond Rte 1 and the Overseas Highway bridge. It looked REALLY fun with a beach, bar and lots of palm trees. They also had received alot of damage from the 2017 hurricane season and as of February 2019 didn’t have power yet. We crossed our fingers they would have power by the time we stopped there on our way back.
After this area, the water got noticeably prettier in color. It was beautiful hues of blue and green all around the boat. Pictures couldn’t quite capture how gorgeous this area was. In bright blue water, we passed thru several skinny mangrove lined cuts. These skinny parts of the ICW will always be my favorite as there is so much wildlife and vegetation to take in.
As we started our still windy approach to Mangrove Marina, we called and got instructions for docking and requested as much help as they could give us. The approach is shallow but we only needed 3ft. As we approached, we noticed there were more short finger piers and then pilings. This seems to be a common theme with Florida marinas and isn’t ideal docking for our particular boat. We attempted to find our slip and only found someone to help when we almost scratched a very expensive paint job of another boat with our bow when the wind again was too strong for our single engine. Come to find out it was the yacht broker at the marina and since he was pretty mad he managed to find us some help docking.
After we missed our slip twice, we settled on the adjacent gas dock and sorta hoped they would just let us stay there. After everyone finally figured out where they wanted us, we moved across the dock to another slip with the help of two dock hands, two other marina employees on a boat hook, a nice marina resident and our crew of one. We were in but we were frazzled. We got much needed showers and went to look for dinner. Since there weren’t many options within walking distance and the bar/food truck at the marina being closed, we settled on more boat food.
The marina has a great little pool which we enjoyed for a while and chatted with some of the marina residents. This marina also offers a variety of houseboats that you can rent and there were many people coming and going from the cute boats. Exhausted from the day we went to sleep early.