This chapter finds us at the halfway point of our stay at the Boca Chica Marina, just up the strand from Key West. We fell quickly into the routines of this most friendly place on the coast. The marina has survived a couple of hurricanes in the two years since we last visited. And, in the same time, the docks have undergone lots of improvements and more slips are useable. The place really becomes busy around mid November and builds to a full house by Christmas. The potluck tradition that we participated in the day after arriving becomes a grand affair each Sunday as the sun set in the west. With our truck here for basic transportation off base and the bikes offloaded for the on-base stuff, we are all set.
Jean had booked flights out of Miami to DC in order to spend a couple of weeks looking after Carson and Wende as the twins were hatching. It looks like the planned delivery date will coincide with our crossing date to the Bahamas. It will be at that point...waiting for a weather window...that our email and cell connections will be most tenuous. Also during Jean's absence, sister Mary has come to visit. Enroute from Virginia to Utah, Key West, her place of birth, seemed like a good place to stop along the way. Bill can sure use the company, and with her, she brings a nice car for the longer trips off base. Jean was delivered to Miami International on 19 November and Mary arrived on Monday the twenty fourth.
The first social requirement for her visit was to keep Bill out of trouble with his entries in the Thanksgiving Day feast. With three turkeys and a ham donated by the marina manager, the sign up sheet for the rest expanded daily. We chose mashed potatoes and green beans and left the exotic deserts and other side dishes, to the more experienced chefs. A good turnout yielded very little to take back, except our over full tummies. The oyster dressing and mango-key lime pie were outstanding examples of doing more with less in the galley. Bill finally got on the bike to work off the excesses.
Another highlight of the week in the Keys is the chance to visit the Big Pine Key flea market that fills up each Saturday and Sunday. Good fresh fruit and vegetables make it down from the Homestead farms and are priced at rock bottom. Likewise the flea-market part has lots of good deals on items that you will pay thru the nose for at West Marine or Ace Hardware. It is a great place to pick up those absolutely essential items that you didn't really know you needed. We headed up last Saturday morning, picking up John Renzi along he way.
Our marina is principally occupied by sail boaters. And, as is their custom in the Bahamas and beyond, the sun cannot be allowed to set without first a send off from the conch chorus. In regular fashion, at the close of he day, we get the signal with a couple of tune-up blasts and then the fun begins. Several are accomplished enough to have won the Key West competition last year.