Sailing - Chapter 2 - Bahia Honda State Park

Good morning, everyone. Hello from the Keys.

Today, we find ourselves on Bahia Honda Key (State Park). Nick's brother-in-law, Don is the Director of all the DEP State Park Rangers here. He has a beautiful, two-story stilt-house on the North end of the Key.   

Don likes to work, drink beer, fish, talk about fishing, talk about various boats, is buying a boat in two days for his own birthday, and was in the Coast Guard. Did I mention that I really like Don?!  Great guy. We spend a lot of time on his screen porch swapping fishing stories.  No exaggerations or embellishments, of course.

Here is a picture of Don and his daughter Natalie who are both graciously hosting all of us for two days: (I, of course, am the only one who is not family). Natalie is a college student at Stetson studying marine biology - or something close to that. Thanks Natalie, for putting up with all my extremely poor "Dad" jokes. I really enjoyed our Key West "chicken" game - and making you laugh against your will. Thanks for caring about our environment.

100 steps from Don's front (or back) door is the water. Specifically, it looks just like this:

Absolutely beautiful. From almost the same spot where I took this picture above, I caught this little Jack Crevalle throwing a gulp shrimp:

Same day. Another perspective from Nick's camera. That is us standing there. Great job on the panoramic camera shots, Nick:

Once again, absolutely beautiful. It must suck for Don being stationed here in the Keys.  
I feel soooo sorry for him.  :-)

We're all headed down to the water for a stroll.

Different day, same beauty.

For these two days in Bahia Honda, I spend most of my time outside swimming, kayaking, and fishing. Summer vacations suck! I believe this photo (above), taken by Nick, was 1st thing in the morning.

Later in the day, I am standing in a few inches of water here facing North. Severe thunderstorms keep passing through every few hours. The weather is extremely unstable around us. I feel relatively safe standing here, but I do wonder what one of these storms would be like if it were to hit us while we are on the sailboat offshore. The lightning and rain in these storms is pretty severe. I choose not to think about that though. What are the odds of that happening?

Don lets us borrow his kayaks to go to a small island across the channel  
I'm really not enjoying myself here. 
I'm faking it.

This is me sitting in a small tree - probably drinking a beer - watching another storm roll through. 
I'm quickly learning how to not quickly do anything.  

A few more shots for you from our short kayaking trip to the small island that is on the right side of this picture below (across the channel):

Hmm. Weather is still very unstable.

Hmm.  Same shot a few hours later - yet another new storm. I wonder (for the umpteenth time) - what conditions would be like on a sailboat, in the middle of that storm - where I can't return to the safety of a house.  

Nah - that will never happen. Stop being such a pessimist, Marc.


Kinda cool that people find conch shells, but instead of taking them, somebody built a table and people just place them on this table. This is on the small island that is in the pictures above. This table was right next to where I was sitting on the swing.

Okay. Enough. I think you get the "picture". Bahia Honda is a beautiful place. I will miss it.

But since we are so close to Key West, we need to, of course, take a short trip there so Nick's kids can experience it. The afternoon of the 2nd day on Bahia Honda, we all caravan down to Key West:

Everglades from the perspective of the Jeep.
I'm thinking they will look differently from the perspective of a sailboat.

Gotta get your picture taken at the southern-most point!  

Key West is still eclectic and unusual.

And cute.

So this is where it gets a little unusual. We are all walking on a small, non-descript side-street in Key West, in no big hurry to get anywhere. I am looking down at pictures on my phone. I look up because someone coming in the opposite direction is doing the same thing and we almost bump into each other. We both glance up from our phones to apologize, and then we both do a double-take. It is Caroline Cook (Sorry Caroline, I don't know your married name). Several years ago, before she got super-rich and influential, she was our PCG Financial Administrator. Caroline loves fishing - we used to fish together a LOT when I had my bay boat. What are the odds that we bump into each other in Key West on a side-street - gotta be extremely low. We chat for a few minutes. I am mad at myself for not getting a picture with her on that Key West street, but here is a throw-back picture many years ago on my "Geeks 1" boat - she having been the only person that I have ever seen to catch a starfish using a hook, baited with shrimp.  

Great seeing you again (albeit briefly) Caroline.  
Congrats on all your professional successes.

Current picture (courtesy of LinkedIn):

We continue our stroll through Key West:

Nick and I considered using this sailboat instead of his. 
It needs a little work, but it is a LOT bigger than Nick's!

Well, that about wraps up the "land" version of this adventure. 
Tomorrow, we launch. No turning back.

For two days now, I have walked past Nick's sailboat countless times, pondering our upcoming journey, considering the severe weather around us, re-calculating in my head the distances between waypoints. I admit, I have some trepidation and concern. Are Nick and I about to do something extremely stupid or extremely adventurous? Both? I mean, WHO takes an aging 22 ft sailboat from Key West to Clearwater in the middle of summer with thunderstorms all around? 

Apparently, we do.

I'll write to you tomorrow to discuss our launch and what is sure to be our "triumphant" 1st day sail.  Hopefully, I still have your attention for the upcoming: Chapter 3 - Launch and Catfish Key.  

Time for another beer and a bit more fishing on the key.  :-)

Good night, everyone.


  1. Nice job! Excitement awaits!!

  2. Can't wait to read about the rest of your adventures! Be safe and have a great trip!