Its been a while since I wrote a blog post. Its tough with spotty internet access and life settling in on the boat. Now I have a bunch of stuff to cram into a single post!
When I last updated we were in Key West tied to a free mooring living cheap and watching sunsets so beautiful they hurt (seriously, I’m ruined for Canadian sunsets forever). It was tough to leave as we had access to everything and an actual address to ship items too (you have no idea how hard life is without an address). We fished, swam, relaxed and worked on the boat. Quite frankly it was magical, and I would have loved to stay longer. Unfortunately, the clock is ticking for us an big bad hurricanes will frightening young children soon. Since we have young children aboard, it was prudent to leave.
We should have waited for better weather, but again the clock was ticking and we took the first window that presented. We threw the mooring lines at 7:00am on a day predicted to have 12-15 knot winds (about 15-18mph) on the nose, but clocking to our beam (side of the boat) by 10 o’clock! Stupid me, I thought I could trust the weather man. Unfortunately, the wind change never happened and we ended up motoring the whole way into 5 foot seas on the nose. It was a bouncy, loud, hot day. Mistake #2 was letting Daphnie head down to her berth for hours when the seasickness hit. She slept for about 4 hours but then got up and promptly puked (the first family puke on the boat). We administered some Bonamine and had her wait about 1 hour before putting some food in her. She quickly bounced back and was her normal self after the meal.
In the end, we motored for about 7 hour before entering Boot Key Harbor. If you have 5 minutes, search Boot Key Harbor and Google maps and look at the satellite image. It an insanely protected harbor filled with mooring balls and 100s of boats. I had a ton of fun driving the boat around the field looking for our ball. Rhonda actually had to moor the boat twice as our first ball was only temporary. This is a big thing for you non boater types. She had to catch a 4 inch loop with our boat hook, then run a line through it, then muscle our 18000 pound boat into position by pulling on the line. All the while, I’m trying to hold the boat in position with the motors and not bang into other boats (worth 100s of thousands of dollars).
We spent 2 nights Boot Key harbor (Marathon, Florida). We had access to a Home Depot and decent shopping within a 15 min walk. We had Qiuncy’s birthday celebration on a fantastic dock with picnic tables and Bar-B-Qs. Ken and Mary from Moon River (our Dry Tortugas buddy boat) were also in Boot Key and came for Quincy’s dinner. They also presented Quincy with a fishing rod and a bunch of hooks. Quincy was over the moon and SOO excited to try them. THANK YOU KEN AND MARY FROM MOON RIVER!. We would have loved to spend more time in Marathon as its like an Arizona RV park for cruisers, but tick tock tick tock!
So we threw the mooring lines again and headed back out to open ocean (north). Again we were in company of Moon River as they needed to head north and buddy boating is just so much fun (plus its nice to have someone to drink sundowners with). The ocean wasn’t super rough, but the waves were at a bad angle and causing TONS of boat movement. The good news was the wind was at the right angle for sailing so I threw up the sails and immediately the boat motion was better. The sails help balance the boat and make rough motion much more manageable.
We sailed for about 2.5 hour until we arrived at “Channel 5” bridge. This is a fork point for cruisers. You can go under the bridge and into the ICW (intercostal waterway), or continue up Hawk Channel (essentially the Atlantic ocean). We opted for the ICW as it would put us behind the keys and in much calmer water. However, this was a stressful moment for us as it would be our first bridge crossing and we were pretty sure our air draft (height from the water to the top of the mast) was 64ft. The bridge was 65ft off the water! Pretty sure my sphincter could have cut metal at the moment we passed under. After the ordeal was over, we continued another couple of hours to south Key Largo where we anchored for the night in about 6ft of water.
The next morning we decided to follow Ken and Mary just a short distance to a place called Tarpon Basin. It was a shallow cove surrounded by Mangroves with good Kayaking and clear water. We hoped that Quincy and Jonah would have a chance to play with their new Kayak and we weren’t disappointed. Not only was the water clear and flat, but we hooked a beautiful Grouper on the way in for supper. Unfortunately, after a great day of kayaking and preparing a Grouper supper, things went south. The wind picked up and our anchor dragged. We quickly jumped into action to reset the anchor but found our starboard engine would not start (long story). Since a catamaran gets almost all of its maneuverability from running both engines we were like a 2 wheeled car (just spinning in circles). Everyone behaved admirably, and there was no panic, just action. Multiple plans were formed within seconds and everyone executed while I continued trying to get the engine to start. Luckily, after trying multiple things, I was able to jump the motor from the house bank and it roared to life. We quickly maneuvered the boat out of shallow water (we only had 1-2” of water under the keels at this point) and attempted to set the hook again. NO DICE on 3 tries. Eventually we had to move across the bay to get a good bite on the anchor. Turns out Tarpon bay has some real shitty spots with mud over hard bottom. This was again evidenced by the boat that almost dragged into us at 2:00am… THANK YOU KEN AND MARRY FOR BEING INSOMNIACS. They phoned us in the middle of the night to let us know of said dragging boat.
The morning brought a mixture of sad and happy again. We left the crappy anchorage, but unfortunately we left Ken and Mary again. Our paths would diverge again as they were headed north slowly and we needed to keep moving. We needed to get to Miami by Monday (this was Sunday) as we needed organize the purchase of some battons for our mainsail and try to hit a weather window to Bahamas on Wed-Thurs. Since the battons were in Fort Lauderdale, this was going to be a big feat for someone on a boat without a car! At the moment, we are currently sitting on City of Miami mooring ball doing just that….. but that is a story that will be told in a post by itself.
Enjoy some pictures of the last week or so!