What better place to spend a few days over the Christmas holidays than in Flamingo? Flamingo is as far south as you can go on the Florida mainland (not counting the Keys) without getting your feet wet. It's the end of the line.
Down here at latitude 25 north, life gets a bit slower and more relaxed. The shimmering waters of Florida Bay and the Florida Keys lie to the south, beckoning those who yearn to get away from it all for a few days.
And getting away from it all is exactly what Jason and Bob had in mind when they set sail out into Florida Bay.
Jason is the son of my good friend, Don, and Bob is his college friend from Virginia.
Jason's a talented guy with a show biz background and a graduate degree in film production.
Bob's a gourmet chef who likes to cook better than anybody I know. What's more, he cooks better than anybody I know. I never had fresh-brewed Starbucks coffee on a camping trip until Bob set a new standard. Bye-bye cowboy coffee, hello Starbucks. Jason says "Bob's a cook through and through. His mind runs on propane and cooking oil."
I expect both of these guys will be famous one day.
Their trip began at Flamingo and they sailed down to Marathon via East Cape, crossing Florida Bay in Jason's 23' sloop, which he recently bought and is fixing up.
Bob and I rode down to Flamingo in Everglades National Park with my dad and his friend Reid, who were planning on camping, hiking and canoeing in the glades while we were out on the boat.
We arrived in the park on Saturday night, slept in tents, and put the boat in the water on Sunday morning. As part of our preparation that morning, we listened to NOAA marine weather radio and learned that a big cold front would be moving in on Tuesday bringing high winds, low temperatures, and rough seas.
We made the decision to cut our travels short and just sail the 31 nautical miles to Marathon (about a 7 hour trip) and return the next day, instead of continuing 35 more nm to Key West and getting caught in the weather on our return.
We pulled into Knight Key Channel by the Seven Mile Bridge at about 10:30pm and set two anchors. Bob lit a cigar while I cleaned up the lines and sails on deck.
We had at least five days worth of food, but it turned out we had to cut our sailing short to avoid the bad weather coming in on Tuesday night. So we ended up spending two days on the boat and two more in the Everglades camping with my dad and Reid.
We were bummed about the trip being cut short and therefore not having any time to snorkel, SCUBA dive, or spearfish, but Bob got stoked thinking about cooking for four people instead of two.
The following video chronicles their trip. So, sit back and relax for 60 seconds, and enjoy the sun, the water, and the pure tropical splendor...