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Colorado to Marathon ... 2 weeks with our boat.

Discussion in 'Florida' started by Where2Next, Mar 7, 2018.

  1. Rocketman3

    Rocketman3 Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: Salt Lake City
    60
    28
    18
    Look at some kind of eperb. I got a ACR ResQLink+.
    I just ordered a canister from Light Monkey so I can take it Diving. I take it in the back country and when I hike alone. It is small enough for backpacking. I want to be found.

    Also call your boat insurance company and verify you are covered on the ocean with your policy.
     
    Where2Next and sportxlh like this.
  2. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    24,544
    35,315
    113
    Nukes are the worst, probably a tuber to boot. Tell him to prepare like it’s Insurv, which I happen to be preparing for now. Get checklists, check them twice, and then use common sense. Oh, damn, you said he was a nuke. Oh, well, good luck anyway.

    MM1 Wasson, 8204, USS California 83-86
     
    Where2Next, Jayfarmlaw and T.C. like this.
  3. Where2Next

    Where2Next Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado
    262
    23
    18
    Ha! You gave a good laugh to my husband! He recalls insurv was more about making sure the ice cream machine was working ... Try an ORSE!

    USS Boston SSN703 85-91
     
  4. Where2Next

    Where2Next Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado
    262
    23
    18
    Great tip on the insurance company Rocketman3! Would not have thought there would be a difference between ocean and lake as far as coverage.
     
  5. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    24,544
    35,315
    113
    I am one of the only nukes he will ever not meet that failed PORSE, ORSE, and ORSE retest. We fast cruised for 6 months trying to recover. All reactor safety violations by the twidgets.
     
  6. Where2Next

    Where2Next Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado
    262
    23
    18
    Perhaps a beer is needed in May to rehash these Navy tales! We'll touch base in May if you are up for it.
     
    Wookie likes this.
  7. Wookie

    Wookie Secret Field Agent ScubaBoard Business Sponsor

    24,544
    35,315
    113
    Alwys.
     
  8. Where2Next

    Where2Next Barracuda

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Colorado
    262
    23
    18
    We are back! What an adventure!

    We drove straight to Key West and it took 4 days. We dropped our boat in storage on Marathon for 2 nights at Father and Son Marina and Rv for $25 a night - great deal! The day we left it was in a snow storm in Summit County, CO and we weaved in and out of jack knifed tracker trailers, and past many vehicles as we headed up to the Eisenhower tunnel - it was a freaking V8 Jeep GC ad! We drove through snow until a bit past Colorado Springs and then it was smooth sailing after that. We had our local marina wrap the boat, and wrap down to the trailer on the front and it was well worth it for bug and stone protection. One morning we came out from the hotel to find someone had attempted to steal a spare tire - but the locking lug nuts saved us!

    After a couple nights of checking out Key West (We stayed at the dog friendly Old Town Manor and loved it) we headed to our house rental on Marathon. (VRBO #1175946) We stayed on the gulf side on a canal and it was awesome having the boat right there to jump on each morning. The house was immaculate and clearly very well cared for, as well as a great central location.

    We dove Alligator Reef Lighthouse off of Islamorada, as well as a few other spots on the ocean side of Marathon. One day we tried to dive Thunderbolt but struggled to find the mooring buoy. So I called in to Hales dive shop (Where we rented our tanks) and asked them where it was, they said about 10-15 feet underwater. So I jumped in with mask and fins and looked for it, jumped out, we tooted to another spot where it should be, no buoy. Then one last time I went to jump in and I said to my husband there is a HUGE shark off the back of the boat, I’m not getting in. So I waited a bit then jumped in to look for the buoy. After futzing around to no avail we just opted to go fishing,

    WELL! It was a great white shark! Captain Hook's dive group a half hour before us caught it on video, it made national news! I shutter to think I just jumped off the boat right in front of it after seeing it a few minutes earlier, ha! Kinda disappointed we didn't find the buoy but who would have believed us had we come up to report it, they'd say "silly tourists!"

    We dove one day with Captain Hook's shop and I have never felt so babysat in my life. 18 foot max depth and the DM was a jerk. We did not go back, and frankly based on my crappy experience I would only recommenced them if you are new and/or want your hand held. So glad we had our own boat!

    I thought the reefs between Islamorada and Marathon looked pretty healthy. Lots of gorgeous purple fans everywhere. Tons of huge lobster and crab - damn why was it not lobster season!?! Turtles, lots of huge barracuda in schools, big grouper, puffers, yellow and green eels, conchs, sponges, tons of typical reef fish - lots of large schools, nurse sharks, little guys like coral banded shrimp and arrow crabs and christmas tree worms, some coral bleaching but really at the shallow depths the sun just makes everything pop with color. We saw a school of 6 spotted Eagle rays too!

    The water temp was fine for just a skin, vis was good at an average of 50 ft, I could easily use one tank for two dives with some of the shallow dives. Or just take 2 hours to dive one tank. Currents were basically nil on all our dives. Overall my impression was nice dive area but not a place I would go to for JUST diving. IMO, it is an excellent area for someone to learn to dive.

    We had sunset cocktails at Sunset Grill - bumped in to a boat renter whose battery had died - we had a box to jump him - turns out he lives 30 minutes from us! We stopped for gas at Mary and Bud's one day and saw lots of big Tarpon, Pelicans with fish in their necks, and Manatees right smack dab at the docks. It was soooo cool!!!

    We did a bunch of fishing and caught lots of Snapper (under 7 mile when the tides changed - 3 hook line and it took 2 seconds for a bite.) As well as Bonito trolling around the 100ft depth off of Marathon. We went about 7 plus miles out one day and had a school of tuna literally jump right by the boat but we got skunked. Boo! Lots of delicious dinners and some sashimi too!

    We did have one mishap - kinda embarrassed to even say, but let our lessen help you - we were flying out on the water about a mile or so north of Marathon and ran in to a random Kelp/Seaweed bed. The boat did not stop suddenly, just slowed down fast. And we were seriously stuck. We just did not realize the massive importance of navigation in that area. We messed up our prop, smoked the engine by trying to get out and actually ended up calling Sea-Tow. It was a stupid tourist/newbie lesson but we followed the Nav to the T after that. It cost us 3 days of no boat and a bill for FedEx to overnight some parts and luckily we had a spare prop. I grew up boating on the Atlantic and I just had no idea how much the Keys require diligent navigation. I imagine out-of-towners are running aground all the time. Heed my warning (!!!) if you are going to do a similar trip what your Nav constantly!

    A shout out to Captain Mike of Sea-tow - he never called us idiots, but I am pretty positive he rolled his eyes at us when we were not looking, lol. He was friendly in a grumpy captain kinda way and helped my husband troubleshoot once he got us back to our dock.

    Our favorite spot to chill on a pretty sand bar was the Gulf side on Lower Matecumbe Key off the Costa Bravo Drive area. Our favorite place to eat was Island Time Diner - holy cow was that a surprise - try the Chicken Salad Sandwich and fabulous thick cut fries. Marathon Bagel was a yummy find too! The take-home frozen Key Lime Pie at Keys Fisheries Seafood Market was the best freaking Key Lime pie I have EVER had in my life. Seriously go buy one. We mostly used Halls and liked that dive shop best. The young guys at Halls are so kind and sweet and friendly - the older lady... yikes, she needs a vacation or something. They were the only shop I could find with Nitrox - but at the depths in the keys, eh, why bother.

    As for Hurricane damage - gosh, it really seemed like the media may have taken some liberties in their sensationalism of Irma - was there damage, yes, but nothing that affected our trip. The economy/community took a hit and it sounds like from talking to locals a lot of people left as the tourism is just not there to financially survive as a worker. So ... Go! Eat and Drink locally! Spend money like it grows on trees! Have Fun while boosting the economy of a US dive spot! This was actually the main reason we choose the Keys this spring - it was our very first US dive trip ever. In the Fall we are going to St Maarten, Anguilla, and Saba to spend there.

    On our way home we stopped for 2 nights in Destin and tooted around there - we had dolphins surround our boat right at the mouth of the inlet. Plus the sand is a gorgeous shade of white and the water is a crystal clear blue - a bit touristy, but a fabulous layover for a road trip home. We also stopped in New Orleans for 3 nights - we LOVED Frenchmen Street and ate good food at Coops Dive bar! We put the boat in 24/7 guarded storage in NOLA. Since this is a dive forum I will keep that part short and sweet.

    I asked my husband if there is anything he would add to this and he said the advice to rebuild the bearings, brakes, and buy a temp gun was really good. It made for an uneventful drive down there at speeds of, ahem, 96 mph sometimes! He seconded how caught off guard he was by the extreme need of navigation there. We downloaded Navionics Boating USA and it was well worth every penny of the $10. We used it on my phone in a waterproof clear sleeve, and turned off the display dimmer. The automatic routing was a game changer.

    Thanks to everyone for all your advice and encouragement - it was such an adventure - some hiccups but not bad and we had a really wonderful and relaxing time!

    Wookie - we had every intention of meeting for a beer - but with friends and family popping in and out, and well just plain vacationing, time got away from us - I'm sorry about that - next time!
     
    Tug, Schwob, tkaelin and 1 other person like this.
  9. H2ODoc

    H2ODoc Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Colorado
    435
    116
    43
    This is a great thread, as I tend to do the same "crazy" things. We tow our Boston Whaler from Denver to Wisconsin each summer. I take an IR gun to take temps of the bearings at each stop and watch tire pressures. Someday, we'll take the boat to the ocean, but for now, just lake Michigan.

    Glad you had a great time.

    Did I miss what type of boat you have? Where do you normally boat? Dillon?
     
    Where2Next likes this.
  10. T.C.

    T.C. Photographer

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Ft. Hood, TX
    1,889
    971
    113
    Excellent write up.
     
    Where2Next likes this.

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