Day 275, January 21, 2013 (Ocean Reef Club, Key Largo, FL): Here we are, heading out into the Hawk Channel fleeing Whale Harbor and Holiday Isle. The picture does not give the breeze its due. Wind is clocking at 25 but the water is too shallow to kick up. We are getting only a salt spray from our own wake. Nevertheless, it is good to get out after waiting out the wind for the last five days. Once out in the channel we were getting pounded by 6-footers and the occasional rogue with tops blowing off of the waves. Behind Pennekamp Reef the surface status was more accommodating with a moderate chop and blowing water.
After nearly 6,000 miles of travel we have not encountered a place quite as superlative as the Ocean Reef Club. We owe a big thank you to Carlos De Quesada, son Judah’s business associate. Carlos hosted us in absentia with the use of his slip. We planned on three days but we will have been here for almost two weeks. It will be hard to leave but leave we must before we overstay our welcome. We must begin making our way north.
Ocean Reef is a comprehensive exclusive living environment with mostly low rise habitation among the preserved reef vegetation. The complex occupies 4,000 acres with a tennis center, golf courses, swimming pools, staffed activities for children of all ages (3 to 100), sailing, kayaking, a cultural center showing first run films, plays, musical events, and speakers, an art center for painting, photography complete with lab, potting, woodworking, and much more. There is a village with a market, restaurants, chandlery, shops, and whatever else you might conjure. As a guest or a member all one needs anywhere for transacting is a guest card or member number. Nobody has a hand out for money.
The marina offers place for 175 boats ours being among the smallest. The docks are floating and fixed and built out to withstand storms. Shelter in the marina is 360 degrees. Below is an example of the boats around us at the dock.
During the last few days the club hosted a catch-and-release sailfish tournament. Sixty-one sportfishing boats participated most being in the 60-foot plus range. Small boats participated, too, and did their fair share of catching. At the end of the day the boats line up and enter the channel in a line. At the left a pellie leads the way. Below, the boats parade into