Dave and I are really excited to be taking to the water for a week! We will be in the Florida Keys aboard Midnight Dragon, leaving out of Key Largo. And the best part is that Paz gets to go along!
We board tomorrow evening and will be leaving the dock Monday morning. No set itinerary, but we’re hoping for time at Pennekamp State Park (an underwater park) and other great snorkeling spots, secluded anchorages where we can explore by kayak, plenty of sailing, a bit of fishing and lots of fun! Where we go and what we do will be determined by the weather . . .
So how’d we choose this location, this company and this boat?
Location. One of the things that Dave and I miss the most about cruising is snorkeling, and the Keys offer the best warm water snorkeling and diving that fit in with our other major requirements, which was that it be a location where we could take Paz (no long flights, no restrictions on a dog entering a country, etc.) and that it wasn’t the Sea of Cortez (we love the Sea, don’t get me wrong, just wanted to go somewhere new).
Midnight Dragon. Midnight Dragon is a one-man, one-boat operation, with a older Morgan Out Island 41. The owner, Jim, captains all charters. While we had originally been looking for a bareboat, the fact that Jim was willing to have a dog aboard, seemed both knowledgeable and laid back, and sounded like he had the same ideas of a great week out as we did made us decide to go with him. (The fact that a number of years ago, before we had a boat of our own, we had the time of our lives on a captained charter on a Morgan OI 41 in Alaska didn’t hurt either. We reconnected with the captain from that trip — John Joeright — when his wife Tammy saw The Boat Galley on Facebook. Small world!)
NOTE: For those looking to take a dog on a charter, I did find a few: a couple in the Pacific Northwest (captained, with dogs of their own), one on the Erie Canal (bareboat) and a couple of bareboats on the Chesapeake that would consider a dog on a case-by case basis. As far as I know, Midnight Dragon hasn’t taken dogs before, but I told Jim that Paz had lived aboard a boat for 4 years and sent a photo of her on the dinghy to show that she was small and friendly.
The other big consideration for us with a captained charter as opposed to a bareboat was whether they were willing to work with dietary restrictions — specifically, Dave’s milk allergy. We’ve found that anyone who works in the travel and food industry is well aware of allergies and other dietary restrictions and as long as you discuss this far enough in advance, it’s not a problem. It didn’t faze Jim.
We’ll be on the boat for a week, then we’ll have another week ashore at Banana Bay Resort and Marina in Marathon, where we’ll be meeting up with cruisers there and at Boot Key Harbor. I have a bunch of posts already written and scheduled for The Boat Galley, and will post pictures and updates on our travels on Facebook as I’m able. Be sure to check there (and like the page if you haven’t already) to see what we’re up to!