The Amazing Grace

Let Your Dreams Set Sail

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys

We finally got a good enough weather window to head on.  We left May 4 at 6:00 at night to do night crossing to Key West.  The winds died a little more during the night and we were able to sail just about when Cindy came on watch at 2:00 am.  We made it to Key West about 10:00.  We are back to modern conveniences which we were reminded of when the cell phone rang at 8:00.  First priorities, diesel (we had 7 gallons left which we get about an hour running time to the gallon) and  water (we were down to our last 6 gallons.)  We then headed to the City Marina to tie up for our first time to a mooring ball.  We were quite a distance from  shore so Scott got us registered and made a Circle K quick stop for bread, salsa, and chips.  It is probably sacrilegious but we didn’t hit any sights.  We were just too tired from the night sail   The next morning we were off at sun up to Marathon.  We sailed past the, famous from adventure movies, Seven Mile Bridge.  In Marathon, we decided to stay two nights in a marina and re-provision.  We had heard that almost everything, including a West Marine, was within two miles of the marina.  The biggy that we have to take care of is that while we were at Dry Tortugas, another boat, Mimi B, from Corpus were anchored right next to us.  Scott had visited them by dinghy and they had tried to contact us by VHF Radio to invite us over for dinner.  Since we didn’t respond, they came over by dinghy.  We had a great meal on their boat and told sailing stories.  But while we were on their boat we noticed that we didn’t have a VHF antenna  on top of our mast.  We wondered if we lost it back at the storm in Galveston and never knew it crossing the Gulf.  Good news Scott climbed the mast and put up a new antenna, bad news the radio still doesn’t work.  Luckily we have three handhelds that do work. 

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 We feel so accomplished.  We provisioned the boat by using our folding bicycles and our IKEA bags, got all the salt watered dirty closed washed, washed the boat about 4 times to get all the salt water off, and got two nights sleep without listening for an anchor drag alarm.  We even watched True Lies to see the bridge scene.  We had a glorious day today, going to near Key Largo/ Rodriguez Key.  We were able to sail about 3 hours with 5 – 10 SE winds and 0-1’ seas.  The water was so beautiful.  You could clearly see bottom in 30 feet of water.  It sure did make anchoring easier when you can see the anchor on the bottom. 

We have already learned or relearned a lot about cruising in our boat.  We really wish we had time to enjoy the Keys but we have places to go and family to meet on a time schedule/weather schedule to complete The Great Loop.  What a blessing that we have already traveled through the Keys and when we get back it will be, been there and gonna do that to enjoy all the Keys have to offer.

Now we are off to try and see the Shuttle Launch….

 

10 May 2009

 

                                       Key Largo to Fort Pierce

After a breakfast of pancakes, bananas, and sausage we pulled up anchor at 9:30 and began motoring NE.  At 16:12 we had all the sails up and were finally able to turn the engine off and sail at 5 -6s in beautiful green water with 0-1’ seas.  It really doesn’t get much better than this.  Since it is a Saturday, we have been able to watch all of Florida’s finest going out on the water.  You just don’t realize how many kinds of boats there are until you see all of them going by you.  We also note that many boats end up heading right for us.  We do know about this phenomenon, since we do the same thing.  “Head for that sailboat off in the distance”.  So we really can’t believe that they just want to see our boat.  About an hour later we watched 3 cruise ships leave the Port of Miami right in front of us. 

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As the sun set behind Miami, we decided since it was so perfect and we had just slipped into a current and we were sailing 6 – 7s,  we decided we would sail all night with the full moon and all the lights on the coast.  We did hear them announce that there was a full moon regatta across the Bay of Biscayne.  It would have been something to meet them all on our way north.  During the beautiful night on watch both of us recalled memories of Florida.  Scott remembered that experienced cruisers had all told us that of all the oceans off the world the worst offshore experiences are in the Gulf of Mexico.  Now that we are in the Atlantic all we have to do is wait for “weather windows” and we can go port-to-port enjoyably

When Cindy came on watch @ 1:30 the wind started dying down.  By 2:00 we had put down the big sails (main and jib) and started motoring.  Luckily we still had the current and were going 7-8s.  We were hauling bunskies.  During her watch Cindy remembered flying out of Miami about 8 times to go to work in Cartagena, Colombia. .  About 6 am as she passed Boca Raton, she remembered a couple of great summers spent with her cousin’s family and that this is where she started her bicycle trip (3,173 miles) to Washington State.  I remember the pain of this coast by the seat of my bike.  As Cindy was down making a sloppy joes lunch (Scott’s favorite), Scott altered course.  She figured that Scott had just seen a Atlantic Right Whale, since he had just read a warning on the chart that if you see one you have to stay 800 yards away.  But to her surprise, he had thought he saw someone in the water, but it was a very large sea turtle.  Its flukes looked like arms.  We probably saw about a dozen of them during the next hour.  At 1:30 we were at anchor near the ICW marker 184 in Fort Pierce .  Scott is going to make a run up nearby Taylor Creek to a West Marine that is within blocks from the anchorage.  We averaged 6.17 nm per hour this leg.  Boy do we wish we could do that more often. 

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