Marathon & Boot Key Harbor


We had a delightful cruise from our overnight stopoff in Rodriguez Key to Marathon. The temperature was in the high 70’s, the water is that beautiful azure blue, and the seas were relatively calm. This was what we had signed up for! I threw a line in the water and had two hits, both mackerel. Nice fish, although I threw both back. In hindsight I should have cleaned them for supper, but I decided that since I still haven’t picked up a Florida saltwater fishing license, I would be wise not to have any caught fish on board. We actually spent some time on the flybridge, only one of just a handful of times we’ve had warm enough weather to be up top.


We arrived in Boot Key Harbor about 1545 hrs. to a very crowded harbor! A call to the City Marina was disappointing in that they were completely filled, they have no mooring balls empty. That meant either anchoring in the already crowded harbor, returning outside the harbor and anchoring along the shore somewhere, or putting into a slip in one of the numerous marinas. A marina stay is always our choice of last resort- we can stay for two weeks on a mooring ball for the same cost as a single night in a marina. Granted, we have power, water, and cable TV dockside, but it comes at a cost! We were able to get a slip at Marathon Marina, at the entrance to the harbor. With the approach of yet another cold front, we relucantly decided it would be best to bite the bullet and enjoy the security of being dockside while we awaited the passage of the front, and the availability of a mooring ball in the harbor.



The City-run marina has 267 mooring balls in the harbor, with a shoreside facility that has a large dinghy dock, community room, showers, and is adjacent to a public park. It is a well-run facility, and serves as the hub of activity for the over 300 boats that occupy the harbor. The areas adjacent to the mooring field are filled with anchored boats, many full-time liveaboards, many of them in ramshackle condition, some with 2 or 3 boats tied together and a trail of dinghies behind. Derelict boats in Florida are a problem.


When liveaboards fall on hard times, they often abandon their boats, leaving them to sink, or just sit in an anchorage, becoming an eyesore for everyone. Liveaboards in Florida are frequently looked at with a jaded eye, sort of one step up from the homeless. But not all are in the same situation, many liveaboards have full-time jobs and are contributing members of the community, they just happen to live on a boat!

The harbor is the center of the boating activity, with other opportunities close by. Sister Creek connects the south shore of the harbor to the ocean side of the key. Sombrero Beach has a protected spot to land the dinghy, and the ocean reef side beach is dog-friendly as are most of the beaches in the Keys. Sunday aftenoon we took the half hour trip to the beach and left the dogs run. Water temps were just 70, just a bit cool for swimming. Snorkeling is reported to be good around most of Boot Key, and some of the best diving in the Keys is on the ocean side reef.

We’ll be spending a week or two here, so check back for more photos and news.

5 Responses to “Marathon & Boot Key Harbor”

  1. faye on 01 Feb 2009 at 8:01 PM #

    Enjoy the keys, a true tropical paradise. I’m enjoying following along.

  2. Kelly Reider on 01 Feb 2009 at 8:51 PM #

    So jealous! We are totally craving some warm weather! It actually hit 50 degrees today! We’re having a heat wave! Yea right – tomorrow it will be 20 degrees for the high…

    Where to next? Stay safe…. 🙂

    Love hearing the updates! Keep up the great work and have a blast!

    Love ya!

  3. Max and Donna on 03 Feb 2009 at 7:12 AM #

    We are enjoying following your journeys. Like everyone else, we envy you the freedom and good times you’re having. We are so happy for the two of you.

  4. Les & Karen on 04 Feb 2009 at 12:26 PM #

    Ditto on being jealous!! Cold & snow in DC today!! Luckily I have your blog my Aruba calendar to dream of warmer weather!!

  5. maerin on 04 Feb 2009 at 3:14 PM #

    Cold here, too. Temps are not going to get out of the 60s, and the wind that’s been howling for 3 days is predicted to continue into next week. We are still anchored waiting for a mooring ball to become available. Them what has ’em’s keepin’ ’em!! Nobody will move until the front moves off.