Cruising With The Chilbergs: Observations On The 'Florida Smile' (BLOG)

As Lee and I sit anchored off Key Biscayne, the northern most key in the Florida Keys, with Baci and Allie [the dogs], I realize that we just completed what I call the “Florida Smile.” What is a Florida smile you ask?
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“Contentment is a cause without a constituency 

and a virtue without a voice.”

— Undoubtedly some yachtsman anchored peacefully aboard his vessel

As Lee and I sit anchored off Key Biscayne, the northern most key in the Florida Keys, with Baci and Allie [the dogs], I realize that we just completed what I call the “Florida Smile.”

Lee at the wheel on the ICW.

Lee at the wheel on the ICW.

It is a cruise down the West Coast of Florida from the Boca Grande Inlet by Cabbage Key heading south through Pine Island Sound then out under the San Carlos Bridge to Marco Island to complete the left side of the smile as you face it.

Next we headed east below the Everglades and over to Marathon on Vaca Key, where we experienced 25 knot winds. This completed the bottom of the smile. The remainder of the smile was accomplished as we cruised up toward the East Coast of Florida via the Intracoastal Waterway.

We started with “Hamburgers in Paradise” at the lodge on Cabbage Key sitting under a picture of Jimmy Buffett. Then, we visited Bill and Jan Mellman at the Marathon Yacht Club. Bill is the Past Commodore & he and Jan seem busier than ever as they take a break from their “Great Loop Cruise.” As we headed northeast, the open bays are dotted with narrow mangrove cuts that reminded us of Humphrey Bogart and the “African Queen” as we meandered through them. We also passed a lost Hippie kayaking to Key West!

Foggy sunrise in Tarpon Basin.

Foggy sunrise in Tarpon Basin.

We always departed on a ‘rising tide’ since the depths are only 6 to 10 feet at most! We avoided SeaTow and made each anchorage with no problems.

We experienced beautiful sunsets, and a mystical fog enveloping us one morning. And Wow, a row of impressive waterfront mansions line the anchorage here off Key Biscayne. I can only imagine the incredible wealth and opulence represented here. The architecture is varied and beautiful. I am sure that each home tells its own story of dreams coming true to be able to build such magnificent homes. Yet, here I sit with the best view of all and … no outrageous property tax nor flood insurance; which I suspect combined approaches $100,000 per year. That’s before one has a mortgage on a $10,000,000 home! I figure I could afford to live there for less than 5 minutes! Life is so much simpler aboard Mud Puddle Rose. I am happy for those whose homes are here, but for Baci and I this life aboard is priceless.

Is it 5:00 yet?

Cruising the ICW Mangroves.

Cruising the ICW Mangroves.

You can follow more Chilbergs here.

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