We paid about $50 for a week of anchoring privileges (showers, dinghy dock access, etc.) and got put at the bottom of the waiting list for a mooring ball, with 16 boats ahead of us. A 1 mile walk up route 1 to a Publix supermarket helped to refill Spray's larder.
Winds were pretty consistent out of the east for the next day so we didn't interfere with nearby boats, but a neighbor, who was concerned for his boat, suggested that we might move 100 yards towards shore and still find sufficient water. I took the dinghy and my 6' boathook and prodded the area and confirmed sufficient depth and so moved Spray to the new location. Over the next day the wind shifted from east to south, so I put out a second anchor to the south to keep Spray from swinging into shore. The next day the wind shifted to the west then north so I put a 3rd anchor to NW (towards shore), to againg limit Spray's movement.
So with 3 anchors out in a star pattern Spray stays put but eventually the lines get twisted up. Fortunately my brother Steve, and his wife Connie, arrived late Saturday (they just barely escaped the big mid-atlantic blizzard), and so on Sunday morning I had extra hands to deal with the anchors. We pulled them up one by one and then went for a short cruise circumnavigating Boot Key. Then a nice lunch, a little driving around the local Keys, a stop for groceries, a little down time and then back to Spray for chowing down before the Superbowl started. We went to the Marina lounge area where a projection TV was set up and a full house (at least 100 boaters) watched the Saints win.
As of today only a handful of boats had left moorings (producing a 'ball movement' as they say here) and so we still had a dozen or so ahead of Spray on the wait list. Since the next 2 days weather looked good, we decided to do an overnight cruise 35 miles up the Keys to Islamorada. Today's conditions were perfect for cruising on the 'outside', and the anchorage here is flat calm. We had supper at Lorelei's Restaurant, which was quite busy, with both a band and a pretty good magic act to watch. The coconut shrimp appetizer was fantastic.
Tomorrow is Connnie's 34th (hexadecimal) birthday and we'll cruise back to Marathon via the 'inside'. In a perfect world my mooring will be available but most likely we'll need to anchor again. Wednesday is supposed to be windy so we'll probably take their rent-a-car to Key West for the day.
Boot Key Harbor (Marathon) is a great place to stay, well protected and with a great transient boater's community, which is why nobody wants to leave. Eventually we'll get a mooring and will probably stay here until the end of Feb., when Sheila comes aboard for 2 weeks!