Annie draws 6.5 feet, and has a 66 foot mast so we have limited selection as to where we can anchor. I picked Rock Harbor because it was close to the veterinarian’s office, was advertised to have several dinghy-able restaurants, and had just enough depth for Annie.
We arrived the day before Thanksgiving, so we prepared a “boaty” Thanksgiving with what we had on hand.
I guess I knew that there were a lot of hurricanes this season and that a few affected the Keys, but I was more focused on the one that hit Sint Maarten where we had spent some time and had a few friends. Once a storm leaves the news cycle we forget. I certainly did until we landed in Key Largo. The anchorage was nice but the hurricanes did a number on this part of Key Largo.
It looked like a bomb went off. The “dinghy restaurant” was just a shell, the adjacent marina was littered with wrecked boats, a few blocks inland on US 1 there were boarded up buildings and debris piles alongside the road.
All around the area it appeared that heavy equipment had been at work razing buildings and clearing land, leaving a thin covering of rubblized community.
A few days later we rented a car and found the damage was not entirely uniform. It was like the wind bands of the hurricane, destroyed localized swaths of island, but a mile down the road left no damage. Unfortunately where we anchored was hit. When we drove down to Key West to register my new passport number with Customs and saw a lot of damage in the middle keys. Key West luckily seemed to have been spared. We sailed there later in the week…
In Key Largo there was lots of active rebuilding going on. We found another restaurant called Snappers on the south end of Rock Harbor that was running from a food truck while rebuilding. There was a lively local crowd there.
This restaurant looked like a fun place but it was almost 2 miles by dinghy so we only stopped in once. I was impressed with the rebuilding efforts and ingenuity of the owners. Note the shirt the waiter is wearing “Snappers Strong”
We learned that the northern part of Largo faired better in the storms and found a few places inside the canals that were fun. Colleen got to watch the Auburn game!
Like Snappers it was a bit of a dinghy ride to get to them, and a fair run outside in choppy water.
I did some maintenance on the outboard….boat maintenance in exotic locations…. The outboard had been running a bit rough and the choke linkage kept falling off so I decided to tackle it and coat the motor with Corrosion X, wonderful stuff. It leaves a waxy coating that protects the parts and does not conduct electricity. I use it on everything now.
One of the reasons to stop here was to continue Kellie’s treatments and tests for her international travel papers. We needed to do a couple of booster shots, and have her blood drawn for the rabies titer test. She was quite happy to get off the boat, but soon realized we weren’t going to a restaurant….sad puppy getting stuck with needles.
Kellie’s tests took a few days longer than anticipated, the vet noticed that we had to wait 60 days from the last rabies shot before doing the test…we were a few days early. So two trips to the vet.
We spent a week in Key Largo, restocked the boat a bit from Publix and topped off fuel with a run to the gas station in the rental car. I like having full tanks just in case you need it… We will need to stop by the vet again in 4-6 weeks after they get the rabies test results back. We plan to do that after Christmas then head over to the Bahamas. (we actually had a vet in St Augustine handle it rather than sail back to Key Largo.
On the pet travel, Kellie was already good to go to the Bahamas when we left Charleston, but we were getting her set up to go to the British Virgin Islands which have the strictest pet requirements. I figured if we meet the BVI requirements she should be good for pretty much any other country. This necessitated some tests and extra vaccines.