Canada to Florida Keys

08/13/19 – 03/28/20 – We imagine most of you have noticed we haven’t posted any cruising news lately. It got to be too much of a burden for Tom to format pictures to Paula’s writing, and we just decided to discontinue our blogs. But exceptional times call for exceptions, don’t ya’ think? Plus, for some reason, we seem to have a lot of time right now.

Lunch with Dan & Linda at CIA

LT passing Ellis Island

Here’s a quick summary since our last post ending 08/13/19. As planned, we crossed Lake Ontario and did the first two-thirds of the Erie Canal by ourselves.  Friends Dan and Linda came on board through the last few locks of the Erie Canal and down the Hudson River to just short of New York City. We had a great time visiting Albany, West Point, and the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) together, then Dan and Linda toured the Roosevelt home and museum, which we had enjoyed on our first Great Loop. After they left us, they took the train to NYC for a few days and we continued on Life’s TraVails to NYC. As we were approaching Ellis Island, we texted to tell them we were coming through the city and asked where they were. They were on Ellis Island!  They quickly went to a window and snapped a picture of us as we cruised by (pictured above).  We anchored behind the Statue of Liberty that night and toured Ellis Island and the statute ourselves the next day.

We then headed south and had a bumpy ride in the Atlantic Ocean from the NYC Harbor to Atlantic City. We got to the Chesapeake Bay in early September just as Dorian was heading north, and not knowing how hard it was going to hit the area, pulled the boat out of the water in the southern part of the bay in Deltaville, VA and got some work done while the storm passed. (Fortunately, we saw a max of only about 30 MPH winds.) From there, we made the 1,000-mile run down the ICW to Florida.

We docked our boat in West Palm Beach over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays of 2019 and went to Phoenix to enjoy home and friends. Just before leaving, we listed our boat for sale by owner and got our first call 45 minutes later. Our time at home was interspersed with trips to West Palm Beach to get the boat ready to show! We had 3 serious buyers. The boat got surveyed (sort of like a house inspection for a boat), the top buyer backed out and the other 2 had to withdraw due to very complicated circumstances beyond their control. But we were very pleased to find out our boat was “above average,” just one category short of “Bristol” condition. We returned on Jan 13, 2020, and headed for Key West. After stopping for a week in our favorite marina in Marathon, we arrived on Jan 24.

We planned to stay 6 weeks in Key West (actually Stock Island Village Marina), sort of a “last hurrah” before any pending sale of Life’s TraVails. But…we just didn’t like staying in the Key West area. We’d toured the tourist attractions the year prior and the party scene didn’t hold anything for us. So, as soon as we could (3 weeks later), we made our way back to Marlin Bay Marina in Marathon to await either a boat sale or April 1, whichever came first.

Enjoying the pool at Marlin Bay Marina

Meanwhile, we had a great time in Marathon. We connected with old and new friends. We learned to play pickleball at the park across the street, enjoyed a community theater musical, and went snorkeling on a nearby reef. We listened daily to the “cruisers net” on the VHF radio, a “gathering” of cruisers who shared announcements, things to buy/sell/trade, trivia, etc. We bought charts, sold old bicycles (which we replaced with new e-bikes), kayaked with a group through the mangroves, and Paula improved her swim strokes with a coach. We even found a great church we could attend by bike.

So, what was to happen April 1? We, along with 4 other boats, were destined for The Bahamas for 6 to 8 weeks. 

[Sound of a screeching stop…..] We closed our last blog with, “Only God really knew at this point.” Now…with the current coronavirus epidemic, things have come unraveled and we are in the same boat – only God really knows where we go from here. All motels in Monroe County (which includes Key West, Marathon, and the entire Keys) have closed, restaurants are available for takeout only, and basically everything else except for grocery stores, gas stations, and other essentials have shut-down. A checkpoint has been set up on Highway 1 and no visitors are allowed to leave the mainland and come to the Keys. Our marina has closed its clubhouse and the only thing open on the property for us is the beautiful pool (pictured above). All future marina reservations were canceled, all boaters with shorter than a month-long contract were required to leave and no visitors are allowed. Fortunately, we extended our contract through the end of April just 2 days before no further extensions were allowed. The marina is down to about 25 boats (less than half its capacity).

Lots of slips available!

And as of March 24, we learned The Bahamas closed all airports to incoming international flights carrying visitors and U.S. citizens were urged to leave immediately. Boats were not allowed to check in through customs and a 24-hour curfew was imposed with few exceptions.

So…we wait. We feel we are very safe here at our marina (it is actually gated and locked) and people are practicing “safe distancing.”  Each boat is almost like self-quarantining, and since everything is basically shut down, there is not much to do except work on one’s boat, read (or in Paula’s case, knit) or relax by the pool. Oh, and watch our terrific sunsets!  Our boat is docked on what we call “Sunset Row.”  The aft deck is separated from the Florida Bay (Gulf) less than 30 feet away by a sidewalk, and we can watch sunsets from our aft deck while other boaters gather in the chairs on the strip.

Sunset viewed from our aft deck

So, we have great tans after having been in the Keys since Jan 17. And…we wait. At this point, our reservation has been extended at Marlin Bay in Marathon through the end of April.  We don’t have a plan for after April 30 but will keep abreast of the news, pray for a quick resolution to this epidemic of coronavirus, depend on our Lord to take care of us and bring others to Himself, and continue to reevaluate what we should do next. So again, we close with, only God really knows where we will go from here. But the good news is we know He has a plan!

One of the reasons we cruise!


  1. I always enjoy your adventures.

  2. Karen And Scott DeVoll

    Great catching up with you through your blog. Hope we cross paths once again. We are no longer on the Mainship Last Call. We now have a Meridian 408 named DunRunnin. We are currently in Ft Myers Fl. Waiting out the virus.

  3. What wonderful writing and pictures. Your end of April ‘end of plans’ is quickly approaching.
    We’re staying put for a couple more weeks, only because of how windy it is up N, generally thru mid May. Been RVing and the Mr. plays Pickleball 3 -5x/wk.

Let us know what you think!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *