We had an enjoyable sail and motor the forty plus miles to Boot Key. This was crab and lobster pot haven so we were on our toes playing frogger once again. I’ve never seen so many pots placed in a scattered matter. We zig zagged our way. Through binoculars I watched commercial lobster fisherman retrieving their catch and traps. They would hall up the traps, claim their prize, pressure wash the traps and stack them as high as they could on the boat. We drug a line along the way in hopes of catching a lunker but all we caught was a crab pot by way of my stellar helming. The reel went crazy and we flew into action turning the boat before the line ran out. John cut the line along with his thumb. We reached Boot Key and passed under the Seven Mile Bridge to anchor in the Atlantic off of Marathon.
We had originally hoped to meet up with my cousin and her husband in Key West but making plans with a sailor is like making plans with the stock market. Fortunately though, we could catch them for an early lunch as they rode their Harley back to Fort Meyers Beach. We were very much looking forward to seeing these two. They live in Indiana and we don’t get to see them as often as we would like. My cousin is not just a cousin. She is the one at nine years old that I rolled up my jeans with, slicked back our hair, took off our shirts and rolled up paper cigarettes to act out the song “Smoking in the Boys Room” by Brownsville Station. In high school we double dated as her now husband was courting her in his kick ass Trans Am. (I sincerely hope I got the car right, Gary.) Even our Raggedy Ann dolls would cry when we had to part. So, we deployed Sea Alice first thing in the morning to see what his mood was. He revved up right away without any complaint. We let him purr satisfactorily for a while. Fifteen minutes before we were to meet we jumped in Sea Alice and…..nothing. Sea Alice had his moment and he was spent. The word I uttered loudly echoed over the anchorage. But, eventually, my hero got him going so we threw every tool we could think of in the back pack and took off. We had a great visit with Shannon and Gary. It went too fast. John would start to tell them a story, like, Candis flipped me off! And they would chuckle and nod and say, We know. We know. John still doesn’t read the blog. I am smarter than him and I am right almost all of the time.
After Shannon and Gary rode off to Alligator Alley we scouted around the Island a little to check out dinner possibilities. We met colorful sailors who were held up due to prop and engine repair after tangling with crab and lobster pots. Funny that the lobster pot business was directly across from engine repair. Why would you choose to paint your balls blue to put in the blue water? Why?
We hopped back in Sea Alice to return to Echoes and after much coaxing he came to life….for about two minutes. We paddled back to tie off on a piling. Maybe you are about as bored with engine repair and bloody blisters as I am. This was the mother of all tear downs. John had Sea Alice completely pulled apart as we bumped against a boat which had created its own reef on its bottom. I watched an entire universe thrive under that boat. Apparently, my suggestions of, How about that gray thing over there. Could that be it? wasn’t helpful. So I watched the boat reef. Finally, I heard John mutter a satisfying, Ahh. And then a, That might just have done it. What! What was it!? I asked. The jets. A jet was clogged. He blew and blew and it opened up to show sunlight through it again. You know how hind sight works. But of course, Sea Alice just needed his jet blown.
We successfully returned to Echoes to shower up and fix other things. We brought Sea Alice in for a great dinner at the local favorite, Castaways. John had alligator and I had crab stuffed shrimp just so that I could make up with the crab pots. The locals were dancing the night away to some good live music which was like watching an episode of the Muppets. Sea Alice came to life on the second tug and took us home like a young, sprite engine. By golly, I think he’s got it!