Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Riders on the Storm

The weather radar picture didn’t look good for our 20th departure, so we saw Pirates of the Caribbean instead. Long movie, great special effects, not as good as the first one (are any of them?). When we got out, the sky looked great. Mom, Dad, and Whitefoot were keeping watch on the boat, and when we dinghied back, they were agreeable to a late afternoon departure. I looked at the radar, and saw an excellent picture, so we upped anchor. We had several hours of fine sailing into the early night. Then lightning started everywhere. Dad and I steered a zigzag course, keeping out of the nearest cells. The winds rose and fell, up to 30kts and down to 10 depending on the storm cells. Many sail changes were necessary. The closest bolt hit one mile away, so we did pretty good dodging the cells. But it was a rough ride. Heavy rain came just before dawn, but it was still pretty comfortable in the cockpit under the bimini and behind the windshield. Dad wore a light coat, but I was comfortable in my t-shirt most of the night. Had to put on a light sweater just before dawn.

Of course, everything looked better in daylight even though the rain continued. We sailed out of the rain into beautiful skies just as the Key West marker came into view. Trip time from Marco to Key West was 22 hours. We docked at the Hilton Marina for 2 nights. Spent one day touring town and the other shopping and prepping for more sailing. It was good to scope out the town from a dock, now we know how to get around. Our friend GW Meadows has spent 2 winters in Key West, and had e-mailed helpful hints too.

Mom and Dad rented a car to return home on Sunday morning. We set sail for Sand Key, and have been moored here for the past 2 nights. It’s a wonderful reef, with tons of fish and beautiful reef to snorkel over. The reef spines jut from 15 feet up to within 1 foot of the surface. At low tide part of the reef is exposed. We can swim down to the white sand between the reef ridges and peek under the shelves for fish and lobster. Haven’t seen a lobster yet. I did get my lobster stamp for the mini-season which starts Thursday, so I’d like to find them first. We can’t fish or catch lobster in this reef anyway, since it is protected.

Rachel and I were snorkeling together with Kathy in the kayak when we saw our first shark. It was probably a nurse shark, about 5 feet long. I swam after it, and it quickly departed. Rachel said it was exciting, and that it looked like a big catfish. I’ve also had to chase a couple of barracuda away from us. Kathy doesn’t want to hear about sharks and barracuda, but is still game to continue snorkeling

I hoisted Rachel up the mast in the boson’s chair to mount our flag pennant. She loved that too. Rachel has a fine sense of adventure, and is eager to experience each new thing.

We will sail back into Key West today after more snorkeling to check mail, buy a few more supplies and have a little more fun on the town. Then we’ll probably head up-key toward Marathon, looking for lobster along the way.

The boat is performing well and taking good care of us. Only minor repairs necessary so far.

I’m able to type this via Word, and then copy it for posting on the blog via Verizon cell phone hook up to the internet. If I have cell coverage, then I have internet access. Pretty cool!

Don’t forget about our new e-mail address:


Blogger hangczech said...

Hey gang,
if you put chicken necks into a womans nylon stocking, the lobsters go nuts. The question is: where do you get a chicken on a boat like yours. Or nylon stockings? Joe

8:32 AM  

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