Day 181 thru 188 Everything Changes

Heraclitus, an ancient Greek philosopher who lived around 500 BC said “The only thing that is constant is change.”

That pretty much sums up the next week or so.

When we woke up on the 11th of March, the plan was to meet up with Knot Diggin in the Lower Keys, do a little snorkeling off of Looe Key and then slowly start our way North, taking our time to arrive at the Erie Canal shortly after it opens on May 15th.

So we planned to spend the day provisioning and cleaning the boat before we headed back out into the salt. Our friends, on Sea N Stars, had a slip right next to the Publix Store in Marathon so we took the dinghy down to do the shopping.  While shopping I got a call from the Marina telling us that we had to change our boat slip.   I don’t understand how the dock reservation system works sometimes.  They did tell me when I extended our stay for a week, that someone was scheduled to come into our slip and we might have to move and I agreed.  After we got the boat moved someone moved right into it, but the slip right beside remained open.  No big deal, but sometimes common sense doesn’t always prevail.  The new slip was actually nicer, with a better bathroom and great neighbours.



This Mother and Calf came by for a visit.
Then when we were checking out the internet connection (which was very good for a marina), we hear the news.
The WHO declares Covid 19 is a Global pandemic.
I wonder how that will change plans?

At least this dock has a better view of the sun setting over the Seven Mile Bridge.


On Friday the 13th., while cleaning and preparing the boat to head out the next day, we hear Trump declare a “National Emergency”.

“Two very big words.”  His words, not mine.
By the time we tossed off the lines on Saturday, things had changed rapidly. Canada was now recommending, no non-essential travel.
We learn about Social Distancing to slow the spread.

This would be a nice place to self isolate.
It was a beautiful day to start to travel again. The East wind was still blowing but it was sunny and warm.
All the wave makers were out working on their carbon footprints.

That night we anchored in Marlin Bay and did a little fishing and Janet caught a crab….. trap. It was a good evening.

Self isolating in style, I can do this. I even made an instagram post about it, #socialdistant
The next day we made a short hop to Lignumvitae Key. A beautiful spot where there are free mooring balls beside a state park.

Lignumvitae Key has an old property that you can tour so we launched the dinghy and went for a ride. When we got to the park dock we got a little taste of what was to come. The dock was closed due to repairs and even if it wasn’t, they just closed the buildings to the public because of Covid 19. So we went for a dinghy tour of the shoreline instead.
I started a crab pot float collection. There were many, as well as an endless supply of trash plastic interwoven into the mangroves. I did my part and brought some home to be disposed of again.
We liked it so much, and since the plan was to go slow, we stayed another night as well. Spent the day reading in the sun.
It was a popular spot for the Trawler set.
To continue with our slow plan the next day was a short 18NM to anchor out behind Bottle Key.
There was some skinny waters to pass through, and some narrow channels…I don’t know what their hurry was, but this was the most unsafe move I have seen in a while.
After we anchored in the Lee of Bottle Key, we went for a dinghy adventure to explore the area.

Another fine day socially isolated.
By the next day, things are changing again. The Canada/USA border is closed to all but commercial travel. Stories of hoarding and empty store shelves are everywhere on social media. The Miami area is rumoured to be a virus hotspot. We decide to get groceries to provision for at least 2 weeks so we can bypass the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area without stopping on land. We decide to go into Tavernier as our friends Heather and Mike have a slip close to a Wynn Dixie. It turns out if you are looking for a grocery store, just look for Sea N Stars, they like to dock close to groceries. We had hoped to get fuel, water and a pumpout as well, but the dockmaster said the water was too low with the east wind to allow entry. In hindsight, I think they may have been afraid to serve transients, fearing the virus. They didn’t even want to sell me dinghy gas, I had to pump it myself and gave $20 cash for the $18 bill so she didn’t have to make change. By the time we got to the Wynn Dixie our stress levels had raised. The empty shelves and people trying to physically keep away from others. About half the people were not worried at all, just upset that any meeting of more than 10 people had been cancelled. The other half were serious, face masks, gloves and hoarding were all present. The lady in front of us at the till had cleaned out the pasta aisle. It was the most stressful shopping trip of my life. I couldn’t wait to get back to the boat and anchor away from it all.

Don McCulloch
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