Christmas Time in the Florida Keys

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…Island Spirit with festive lights…

This is our 4th of 5 cruising Christmases in the Florida Keys where we always take a dock at the peaceful and beautiful private marina, Harbour Cay Club (HCC) in Marathon, Florida. HCC is a 24 slip condominium complex with a clubhouse, multiple grills, a lanai, private bathrooms, Direct TV and pumpout at each slip, and an industrial sized ice machine. Besides the beautifully landscaped and well maintained property, we like it here because of the quality of the owners, people that make us feel so at home in their home. This place is like no other place on the entire east coast. It is difficult to put your finger on exactly what it is, but there really is something unique and very special about Harbour Cay Club.

Eric and Patricia share Christmas Day with us

What makes it even more special is spending Christmas with good friends and boat buddies while you are away from home. Eric and Patricia of IP 460 Cutter Loose were lucky to secure a slip here at the last minute. On Christmas Eve, we joined Bill & Trish of IP40 Island Bound, Bill & Amy of IP40 Mato, Maris & Linda of IP420 Amekaya, plus HCC friends Jim & Lanny and Bill & Linda, We shared a fantastic Italian meal where Sandy and Lanny created an adapted Feast of the Seven Fishes. We all gathered at the clubhouse mid day and enjoyed a most wonderful meal. After several fantastic appetizers including antipasto and shrimp cocktail, our first delicious course  was a chopped salad and another of mixed greens, both with home made dressings. The pasta course was angel hair with cracked conch in white clam sauce and the third course was the spectacular cioppino. Desserts were lemon-orange ricotta cheesecake, cocoa espresso cookies and chocolate mousse. These courses were served at a leisurely pace, making for a delightful evening from start to finish. 

Radeen’s homemade lemon ricotta cheesecake and very dark
cocoa expresso gluten free cookies with chocolate chips.

On Christmas Day, Radeen and I enjoyed the morning sharing family gifts aboard Island Spirit. Then we prepared a wonderful Christmas Day BBQ with Eric and Pat of chicken and grilled asparagus and filet mignon along with fine Prosecco and red wine.  All  of us enjoyed sitting in the clubhouse with a comfortable breeze and good conversations. Afterwards, we had Radeen’s homemade pumpkin pie and remaining cheesecake outside on the lanai.

Radeen the baker, making Christmas Cookies

Prior to Christmas, there was plenty of home cooking occurring on Island Spirit where we baked cookies, homemade bread, cheesecake and pie, We made 20 lbs of fudge, most of which we boxed up and shipped out or gave away as little gifts. It was fun to ride our bikes to the post office and wait in line to mail the treats. We baked 4 loaves of bread to give as gifts, too. Hayden shopped at the grocery store filling bags of food for the homeless which he delivered to the those living in the mangroves. They were so appreciative of our gifts of food. 

Happy Bubbly Team
Hayden, Linda, Maris, Tricia, Bill and Radeen

After Christmas, the town hosted an inaugural Beer and Bubbly festival in the community park. This was really a very fun charity event. Food trucks and wine & champagne tents competed with vendors selling arts and crafts. It was a real mix of activities, with live music, too. When we all hopped on our bikes, we looked like a rookie “Hell’s Angels” start up group. We laughed so much and had a very fun time with boat buddies Maris and Linda of IP420 Amakeya and Bill and Tricia of IP40 Island Bound. Some have said they think we have an IP secret society, including a special handshake, but the reality is that there are  simply so many Island Packet owners out cruising. We all are connected via our IPmail server, Facebook Group and web sites, so we are always communicating and getting together. This was another great day during Christmas week at HCC. We really enjoy our time here and sharing it with good friends made it even better. Merry Christmas to all!

Here are more photos of this time…..
The stockings were hung by the porthole with care
Thank you, Patricia!
Merry Christmas 2015 aboard Island Spirit

Radeen the Elf boxing and shipping

Local pets abound as seen on our walks to the 7 Mile Bridge

Biker Radeen ready to hit the road 🙂 on Carey Colwell’s 2010 Huffy bike

The buffet at Harbour Cay Club lanai where many delightful parties are served

Christmas Gift to Hayden, a can of varnish and brushing liquid

The party table setting. Thank you, Tricia and Bill.

Looking festive!

Kitchen prep of the two delectable salads

The cooking of the delicious seafood stew by Sandy, Chef extraordinaire

Sandy and Eric preparing the garlic bread

Fresh herbs

Angel hair pasta with cracked conch in white clam sauce with garlic bread

San Fransisco style Cioppino

Chocolate Mousse with fresh raspberries and whipped cream
Christmas Day community grill prep

Fine Prosecco from Eric and Patricia, thank you!

Our view on Christmas Day from the lanai with Eric and Pat

Christmas dessert on the lanai, photo by Patricia, thank you.
Note the flashing Christmas lights necklace Radeen is wearing.
Happy Radeen on Island Spirit

More boxing and shipping of gifts and baked goods

Ready to go on the bikes to the Post Office

Delicious homemade fudge, Radeen’s mom’s tradition

Thank you to our families for making our holiday merry and bright!

Radeen with her new Kindle Paperwhite and unlimited Kindle
Tiki Hut sunset Christmas Eve
Orchids around HCC

Island Spirit in Slip #9

Bill, Linda and Maris checking out the Brew and Bubbly food trucks, fun fun fun
Christmas in the Keys, riding off to somewhere……

We wish everyone a peaceful, happy, content and healthy New Year. Thank you for sailing along!
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