We are making our way down the keys to ultimately sail a further sixty eight miles west to the Dry Tortugas. We have put this destination at the end of our travels because it is supposed to be the grand daddy of cool places to see and because it is possibly the grand daddy of adventures to get there and to get home from there. It is a remote island with no sea tow to call, no cell or internet, no running water, no facilities other than national park service offices. It is at this point that we are watching the weather very carefully. We need to time our travel with the right weather and fully provisioned, dieseled and watered. You can get stuck on the island waiting out a weather window to return. We know some heavy winds and weather are coming so we decided to take advantage of one more free anchorage before heading in to a marina. Newfound Harbor Channel is the only anchorage between Bahia Honda and our reservations at Stock Island Marina the following day.
Newfound Harbor sucks. It is a huge harbor with miles of a very narrow channel and the skinniest water we have been in yet. There are three places to anchor. We got to the first and thought, no way. Number two was worse. Almost four miles into it and two tums later we get to the third anchorage which was no better. We set anchor and John dove down to see there was about ten inches under our keel. And it wasn’t low tide yet.
The anchorage was on the edge of a residential area so we weren’t interested in exploring with Sea Alice. Most of the boats anchored around us were vacant, smaller sail boats that most likely belonged to the people on land. Other boats looked to be people’s permanent dwellings. We occasionally see boaters that are kind of like homeless people living on boats which don’t or can’t go anywhere, sailor rats. So we enjoyed some snooping.
There was a “boat” way off in the shallows that was most creative. They had rafted two boats together. The first was more of a platform which was covered with tarps, a large tent in essence. The second was an old pontoon with a roof completely covered in solar panels. Under the solar panels was a hot tub.
We watched four boats come into the anchorages after us. They went from one anchorage to the next, like we did. All four of them chose to anchor right in the navigational channel as that was the deepest and the safest. We have never seen that before.
The best part of the day was watching another cormorant rush hour commute from one mangrove to another. There were hundreds, if not thousands of them flying low along the horizon looking like a giant, black zipper. With every couple of hundred cormorants you’d see a lone white seagull making the commute with them. Why do you think just those few seagulls do that? I asked John. And he replied in his best (worst) hip hop voice, Pretty fly for a white gull.