We awoke in Fiesta Key to a fog advisory. Our weather app predicted the fog to lift at eleven am. We chose to approach Key Largo in the intracoastal as there was a small craft advisory and rough seas on the Atlantic side. Captain Alwaysthinksahead was smart enough to call the local towboat operator to see if there was enough water for us to make it through with a five foot draft. There are several points on the charts that read four feet and a lot of skinny water in between. Towboat Joe said good to go. We wanted to time the skinny spots at high tide so we left in the fog. This was not the almost costly and ugly divorce causing thick fog from last year’s Long Boat Key Back to Venice blog post but it was a challenge. The crab pots popped up out of nowhere and you helm more by navigation charts than visually. The fog did not lift at eleven and when it did it turned into a misty, cool rain before it became a welcomed cloudy day. Most of the way we had less than two feet under us. I tapped out and called Captain Calmer to helm when I saw my depth had .1 feet under me. It was a teeth gnashing.
Most of the time I find my overactive imagination quite amusing for myself. However, when you mix in any anxiety it is not as much fun. The Kraken come out. In this case, it was a very small Kraken. I have seen much worse. I but it had big, sharp teeth and reaching tentacles just the same. Let me tell you, it took a few chiseled, tanned, shirtless sailors to wrassle that Kraken into submission and send him back to the deep. Mmm mmm.
Where was I? Yes, in the fog. As sailing goes, there are lows and there are highs. Just after .1 under the keel we came upon cormorant rush hour. There were hundreds of them and they settled in a watering hole right by us. It was spectacular.
We made it to our anchorage at Tarpon Bay without touching bottom and settled in for the night. They winds were picking up as predicted but we were all tucked in.
Or so we thought. The next morning the winds were howling and as we plinked on our computers Captain Alwaysobservant noticed the scenery changing. We were dragging anchor. We let out extra scope to help temporarily and prepared to leave. We knew some worse fowl weather was on the way so we headed to The Anchorage Marina in Key Largo to wait it out, do laundry and provision. We had been on the boat and at anchorages for eight or nine days. Our dock landing went, okay, I guess. There was a lot of cross current pushing us one way and wind another and it was trickier than we both anticipated. Bumpety bumpskin we went in. As I have said, ups and downs. As soon as we were secured I went over and watched Fatty Patty Manatee drink to her heart’s content from a dripping hose.
The Anchorage Marina and hotel was a friendly place with fun people. Everyone would congregate at happy hour with their guitars, songs and beverages. We met some seasoned and especially wonderful sailors who gave us great advice on crossing the gulf stream and other local knowledge. The Black Sirene Restaurant next door had memorable hogfish, coconut fried onion rings, Scotty Miller from Green Bay on guitar playing our requests and a good wine selection. The princesses mood increased dramatically. As one of the aforementioned sailors commented, sailors generally sleep like Dolphins. Dolphins only shut down half of their brains while sleeping and remain alert with the other half as they drift around. Especially at anchorage, you tend to half sleep and get up to check things quite often. So, when you are all secured and tucked in at a marina with a belly full of fresh fish and wine you sleep like a water drenched log.
A couple of days later the cleaned up, charged up people and boat were ready to move on. There was this fairly permanent small craft advisory that continued to haunt us. We were to leave the dock, go about three football fields over to a gas dock to diesel up before heading to an anchorage off of Pumpkin Key in north Key Largo. The cross current and winds were worse than when we came in. If our entrance was bumpety bumpskin then our exit was crappetty crapyourpants. About this time a slightly larger than the last Kraken popped up from the deep. He was squealing, laughing and pointing with his eight arms at all the obstacles and boats we could bump into and at a piling that we actually did. His laughter sounded like the low, bass, thwopping sound of heavy wind in your ears. His squealing sounded a lot like a boat screeching its rub rail down a dock. It took a handful of tawny dockhands to subdue him and send him back to where he came from. All in all, Captain Takesitinstride did quite well for these conditions.
We set our anchor five hours later off Pumpkin Key and immediately jumped on our many devices to check the vast quantity of weather and wind apps and websites for the following morning. There was a one day window of good conditions to cross the gulf stream over to the Bahamas, except for some possible thunderstorms. So we set our alarm for three am and went to sleep like the dolphin.
I will leave you here for now and tell you the crossing story another day. But I want you to know that we are safely and successfully in the Bahamas. We are currently anchored just off of Cat Cay. The princess is purring, it is warm and the kraken are very deep in the ocean where they belong.