A little after 7am I finally braved the freezing cold and went out on deck to fire up the engines. Jonathan was awake and raised the anchor for me and we set off for Marathon Key. I told Danny to stay in bed since yesterday I took an almost two hour break from the cold while he was at the helm. Six hours later, right at the point that I felt like my insides were as cold as my outsides, we approached Marathon Key and Danny surfaced to take over. There were many shoals and shallow coral patches which we had to meander through and into an inlet that shelters us from waves and wind. We tried several times to anchor but failed miserably and moved on to an open (less protected) anchorage to anchor. Jude and Emma were following behind at a snails pace in the dinghy, and as they came closer to Tanda Malaika, got pulled over by fish and game for not having life jackets on board. Jude seemed quite proud of that fact that she was pulled over for the first time, and that it was in a dinghy! We now have a $90 fine to pay into the frigged state of Florida.
The anchorage we are in is filled with 100’s of boats. More boats than we’ve seen in an anchorage thus far, and unlike other places we’ve been, there is hardly a soul in sight because of the cold.
Jonathan came scrambling down to our berth and said, ‘mom, beluga whales!’ We knew right away that he actually meant manatees, though given the outdoor temperature we may as well be in the arctic with belugas! Jude grabbed her GoPro and jumped in clothes and all.
At first her cannonball, scared them away, but after a couple of minutes they surface a few yards away. She swam over to them and squealed with excitement and yelled, ‘can someone please google whether these will bite me!’ I assured her that the worst they’d do is give her a giant hickey. Before I knew it, Emma and Mycah joined her, and then a few minutes later, Jonathan joined them. They gasped at the coldness of the water but soon became numb and didn’t feel it as intensely.
Mycah took some underwater shots…
After a good half an hour in the water, the creatures decided they were frozen to the point of feeling like they couldn’t quite breathe properly, and I met them at the stern with some fresh towels. They quickly showered , drank hot chocolate and are now looking at their photos with delight. We hope to see many more of these gentle creatures while we are here, and if so, many more pictures will follow.