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Friday morning, November 11, seven MBYC boats made their way to Faro Blanco Resort and Marina in beautiful weather with beautiful seas…..except for the many, many crab pots we had to dodge for much of the trip. The Herndons on TenneSea Waltz, Landwaards on Sweet Lips, Schroeders on Divergent, Browns on Therapy III, Kernans on Wanderer V, and Skillerns on Sea Ya’ll arrived safe and sound. The Skillerns brought the Dotterweichs and Orths with them and they stayed in the Hyatt Place Hotel right on the same premises with the marina. A few hours later Mike Carter and first mate Ava Dotti arrived aboard Miss Ava. They are new club members although Mike was a member back in the 90’s. They had some guests with them as well.

Friday night we had a group dinner at Plaza Grill, a newly opened, very pretty restaurant with a Mediterranean flair. A wide variety of meals were offered and some of us opted for Tapas or sharing plates and tried much of that variety. All were excellent, the place was beautiful, the owner/chef and his family of staff were great as well. We will certainly be going back there on future trips.

On Saturday most of the women spent the afternoon in Islamorada, starting with lunch at Lazy Days, glass jewelry shopping at Seaside Glassworks which has become a yearly destination, several other shopping venues, and all returned with treasures, both for themselves and for holiday gifts. The morning started out disappointing when the rental van that had been ordered online was not available at the airport … actually no cars were available…..but John Kernan came to the rescue and taxied down to Key West to pick up an 8 passenger for us. When we returned, the Sachers aboard Sachmo had arrived, and for Saturday night’s dinner you could find most of us at Keys Fisheries eating stone crab claws. I believe that Bob Herndon still holds the record for most claws eaten.

Sunday saw the departure of the Dotterweichs and the arrival of the Gelfands aboard My Turn along with their travelling guests, Commodore Bob Boland and Lynn Bedell. We were all glad to have so many MBYC friends along on this cruise. Almost all of our cruise destinations are planned to have local hotel/motel accommodations available either onsite or nearby and we enjoy having our club members with us, and all of our captains are happy to have others aboard for the ride.

On Sunday morning most of the captains departed on a trip to Key West to watch the Key West National Championship Super Boat Races while the ladies enjoyed a peaceful morning and an afternoon of Mah Jongg and Canasta. Dinner that night was at the Florida Keys Lobster and Steak House. Prior to dinner, the entire group congregated at the base of the Faro Blanco lighthouse for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a sad goodbye to Wanderer V, although not to the Kernans who will remain very active members of Marco Bay Yacht Club. The Kernans were presented with a painting of Wanderer V by Debbie Schroeder and Dianne was presented with a necklace she had admired at the Glassworks, but that the ladies had conspired with the owner not to sell to her on our visit on Saturday.

Monday morning the Schroeders left for Marco and many of the rest of us enjoyed a delightful visit to the Dolphin Research Center on Grassy Key. It was very informative as well as entertaining. The staff, both those working with the dolphins and those in supportive roles, were amazingly knowledgeable, extremely upbeat and helpful in every way. It is evident that these young people thoroughly enjoy what they are doing. After finally getting their rental car, a challenge it seems on Marathon, the Orths departed for Marco after a visit to the Dolphin Center. As soon as we returned to the marina, Bob Boland and Lynn Bedell took off to walk to the Turtle Rescue Center for some more wildlife exposure.

On Monday afternoon both men and women could be found taking over the room in the marina building for games once again. It is a great location with the bar and the restaurant adjacent to it, should one feel the need of refreshments.  Dinner Monday night was enjoyed by 10 of us at Frank’s Italian Grill, while several others opted to eat onboard or at the marina restaurant, the Lighthouse Grill.

Tuesday morning the Herndons and Carter/Dotti’s took off for Marco and the Kernans took off to take Wanderer V, on her final voyage with them, to Fort Lauderdale. It was a cloudy, rainy day and a lazy one for some of us, while the Gelfands, Boland/Bedells and Dorothy Landwaard taxied up to the Seaside Glassworks which they had missed on Saturday (except for Dorothy who was having buyers remorse that she had left a lovely bracelet unpurchased when she was there previously). Most of us did manage to get to dinner in the Lighthouse Grill for our final night.

Wednesday, departure day, dawned sunny but a bit windier than expected and with seas somewhat more unsettled than had been reported, as we found out when the final five boats left to return to Marco. It was a bouncy, wet, salty trip loaded with crab pots and while Sweet Lips had some minor issues, all returned to Marco without mishap.

I think all who participated will agree that this was another successful MBYC cruise and we hope that others will join us on future cruises.

This contributor would be remiss if she didn’t mention that she can’t wait for Brent Cook to recuperate from his double knee surgery and return to planning the logistics of most of the long range cruises, a task he excels at like no other. We are lucky to have him as a member of the Cruise Team and wish him a speedy recovery and return to cruising.

Cindy Brown

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