Thursday, June 26, 2008
On the move again
Well, it's been an eventful few days. We left Marathon last Friday and sailed to Long Key Bight for an overnight anchorage. The next morning we headed up the "Yacht Channel" across Florida Bay to Flamingo. We should have not bothered. The marina at Flamingo (just about the only thing in the whole "town") was virtually shut down. Sure, they had plenty of slips available and would be happy to charge us to rent one for the night, but there was no electricity, no water, no fuel. So we left and anchored just outside the harbor to get an early start the next morning.
When the sun came up, we had a perfectly delightful sail (beam reach) all the way around East Cape Sable. We anchored off the beach between East Cape and Middle Cape. We had miles and miles of beach all to ourselves. Well, we did have to share it with the mosquitoes.
The next morning we sailed as far as the Little Shark River, chased by thunderstorms the whole way. We made it in safely, tried a couple of spots before we settled in to one we really liked. Just as we started to relax a huge thunderstorm hit. There were lightning strikes all around us, loud thunder, torrential rain and high winds. But our anchors held, and we had a good night once the storm abated.
BTW - we found out how the Little Shark River got its name - SHARKS! Yep, the river is teeming with sharks.
The next day T-Storms were in the forecast again, so we planned a short day. We sailed a few more miles up the coast to a spot called Turkey Key and set three anchors between two of the little Keys that dot this area of the coast, known as "Ten Thousand Islands." Not long after we settled in, a huge storm hit just north of us. The weather service issued a severe weather warning. All we got was some wind and waves. The wind was something over 35 knots (the wind generator shuts down at 35, so we could tell.) Again, the anchors held and we had a good night's sleep. The next morning the mosquitoes were so thick around the boat we could not go on deck for a moment without spraying ourselves.
We planned a fairly long crossing for yesterday and the winds were light so we motorsailed the whole way. It was a nice crossing to Gallivan Bay, but as we came into the marina, the control cables on the engine failed. I could not shift out of forward gear! We rammed the dock pretty hard, knocking Bev off her feet.
Now we are settled in for a few days' rest at Calusa Island Yacht Club. We have to stay here until the new cables arrive. Fortunately, the Yamaha dealer is only a 5 minute dinghy ride from here.
Since we have to stay anyway, we are planning to attend "Spammy-Jammy" on Saturday night. It's an annual party they have here to commemorate Hurricane Andrew. Everybody along this coast has a "ditch bag" or hurricane evacuation kit ready at all times during the season. One of the key components is a can or two of Spam. Since the kits hardly ever get used, it is necessary to replace the older cans once in a while. So...after Andrew passed by, a few of the locals went - in their PJ's - to the "Little Bar Restaurant" to compare their recipes for Spam. Now it's become a huge party with live music, cooking contests, poster contests and "mass quantities" of libations. Of course, I will be cooking up a batch of my world famous "Spambalaya."
From here, it's up the ICW to Marco Island and Naples.