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Our Christmas Update in the Florida Keys – From freezing white snow to warm white sand!

By Kach Umandap January 5th, 2018 Posted in Destination, North America Travel Blog, Travel Blog No comments

Having just spent a month traveling in Europe and the northernmost Arctic regions of Norway in temperatures as low as -22 Celsius, we decided that we wanted to spend Christmas somewhere a little warmer, actually a lot warmer!

We also had to get back to the Florida Keys to finish preparing our sailboat for the next phase of our traveling adventures – sailing around the world.

As soon as we landed in Miami, we had to start stripping off the layers of clothing that we had been wearing when we boarded the flight! We stayed in Miami for a night so that we could buy some important things for the boat and visit an Asian supermarket to provision the boat with everything we needed for the next month.

We had a lot to do, not only to get ready for a big Christmas party in the Boot Key Harbor marina but to get ourselves and the boat ready for our big departure to the Bahamas in a little over a month. Whenever we have a lot to do in Florida, we always get a car, simply because that’s the only way to get anything done – you need a car in Florida!

When we landed at Miami International Airport, we had a car ready for us; a Toyota Avalon Hybrid luxury sedan. I am always amazed at just how much luggage you can fit into the boot/trunk of a big sedan – three big suitcases and a bunch of other smaller bags all crammed in there nicely!

We drove down to the Florida Keys to be reunited with our floating home, Empress, and to get back to our live-aboard lifestyle after a month away. We were excited about spending Christmas in the Florida Keys because this was the first time in more than four years that we had been able to spend it with a big group of people who we knew, in a community we had become a part of.

Many of the sailing residents and visitors to the marina came together to organize a “pot luck” Christmas dinner, with four different types of turkey and all different types of side dishes that people had made on their boats.

There were easily close to a hundred people there, including one guy dressed as a human Christmas tree!

Later that evening, for some unknown reason, we were sitting in the boat talking about our plans, and we decided that getting a kitten would be the best thing we could do! And so the next day that is exactly what we did.

As soon as we walked into the Florida Keys SPCA in Marathon, we were greeted by two inquisitive little eyes looking out at us with a fluffy ginger face. They told us that his name was Kyle and that he was found with his sister right after the storm.

Well, Kyle just didn’t seem like much of a name for a cat that lives on a boat and sails around the world, so we named him Captain Ahab instead, after the obsessed whaling boat captain from the story of Moby Dick!

By this time we had traded in the big Toyota Avalon for a bright green Toyota Corolla iM, so we still had a car to take Captain Ahab on his first shopping trip with – litter tray, scratching post, cat bed, wet food, dry food, harness, collar, leash and a variety of toys… this cat has everything!

So now here we are – after only one week Captain Ahab has taken over the boat completely, and we spend our days and nights trying to make sure he doesn’t fall overboard while practicing Cat’crobatics all over the deck, while also getting ourselves ready for our first real sailing trip on Empress.

In just a couple of days, we’ll be setting sail south towards the Marquesas. When we come back, we’ll know exactly what we have left to do to make ourselves ready to leave the US completely behind and start our sailing adventure around the world!

The vehicle was provided to us free of charge to review by Toyota. However, all opinions and ideas are our own!

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Written by Kach Umandap

Founder of Two Monkeys Travel Group. Since 2013, Kach has visited all the 7 continents (including Antarctica) and 151 countries using her Philippines Passport. In 2016, she bought a sailboat and went on sailing adventures with her two cats - Captain Ahab & Little Zissou in the Caribbean for 2 years. She now lives in Herceg Novi, Montenegro where she's enjoying her expat life and living on a gorgeous Stonehouse. She writes about her experiences traveling as a Filipina traveler with a PHL Passport. Also tips on backpacking trips, luxury hotel experiences, product reviews, sailing & adventure travel.