**This is a test post trying out the Windows Live Writer… let’s see how it looks! My posts might be a little out of order for a bit, I’m a little back l logged, since I haven’t had wifi for a while!
Cost: Anchoring was free, but the dinghy dock access (that included the showers, coin laundry & lounge with WiFi) was $22.00 a day or $90.00 a week (I can’t remember the monthly rate)
Pros: Private showers, WiFi (although really only useable in the lounge area, the signal apparently didn’t carry well outside of the building, even with a booster), friendly people (and plenty of games/socializing stuff going on in the lounge area), public beach within dinghy/kayak distance, Nature Center, $5.00 cab rides, Grocery store, Walgreens and a gas station in walking distance. In the other direction was a fuel dock and Burdines restaurant. Also, SEA LIFE and CLEAR WATER! AND I got to meet my first cruiser friend in person Carolyn Shearlock who writes The Boat Galley
Cons: A LOT of boats in the anchorage. It was crowded and somewhat dangerous on bad weather days.
When there were calm days, though, it was so gorgeous!
This place was fantastic and reasonably priced. We went there three times over the two weeks that we were there and they had what was quite possibly the best burgers we’ve ever had (and we have some burger fanatics in this family!) They also had a Shrimp Reuben sandwich that our Pescatarian son loved. Most of the seating was out doors, so it was nice to sit and enjoy the weather.
Sombrero Beach, Marathon, FL
A ride on a kayak/paddleboard or a family dinghy ride takes you to Sombrero Beach.
We didn’t get many opportunities to visit the beach because we were there in January and it was wet, rainy and cold almost the entire time we were there. On the days that we did make it out there, it was amazing. Nice clear water, nice sandy beaches and even the dogs enjoyed playing on the beach and in the water. There were clean restrooms and outdoor showers for rinsing off the salt water and sand.
Iguanas are apparently better chick magnets than dogs, just so you know
Out past the beach there was this teeny tiny island that the kids wanted to explore. On the way there, we had to dinghy slowly and sometimes even lift the motor and row instead, because the water was SO shallow… which meant we could see all sorts of critters in the water. There were jellyfish, starfish, sting rays and Paris finally got to see the ever elusive manatees! We got some video that will be uploaded soon (hopefully!)
Long story short, this was a great place to anchor. They have mooring balls as well, but those were all taken when we got there. Anchoring was fine, but we did drag a few times in the beginning until we switched anchors. We also had to move a couple of times because of people having far shorter anchor chains than we did, which meant every time the wind would swing us around, we’d nearly run into the boat that used to be behind us.
Pro Tip: If you’re really quiet in the evening just as the sunsets or early in the morning before the sun rises you can hear/see dolphins playing in the water! Patrick and the kids saw some on the way home in the dinghy one night and they were so excited. They just sat and watched them for quite a long time.