N 24 42.332′
W 81 5.727′
Left Rodriguez Key at dawn as the winds built from the ENE. Nice run to Marathon, initially under full sail and then ending the sail under a single reefed main. We chased down an English boat at the beginning of the day and then it pulled ahead of us and we reduced sail and were unable to maintain good sail shape dead down wind. The English boat poled out their genoa and was able to maintain good sail shape in the rolly conditions. The English boat is moored next to us in the Marathon mooring field and I hope to go and beg a look at their set up today. Arrived in Marathon around four and are now settled on ball T8.
N 25 2.456′
W 80 27.387′
Left No Name Harbor to the Hawk Channel via the Biscayne Channel. There were a few heavy rain showers as we left so we waited until they cleared before transiting the Biscayne Channel. As we sailed down the Hawk Channel the rain cleared and we enjoyed a beautiful broad reach down to Rodriguez Key, arriving around sunset. We anchored on the south of the island. There was little protection from the ENE breeze, but the anchorage is protected by an outer reef so it was not too rough.
N 25 40.591′
W 80 09.753′
Note to self: avoid Coconut Grove Sailing Club during “bird season”. Within a few days of arriving in Miami our boat was covered in purple dyed bird poop and seeds. Apparently at this time of the year migrating birds eat a local fruit and then digest while sitting in the safety of the sailboat rigging at Coconut Groove Sailing club. The purple color poop stains decks and is difficult to remove with water. Local boaters try everything to keep the birds off (Mark assured me CDs are the most effective method). We saw the writing on the wall and rather than spending two weeks battling with the birds we moved to a mooring ball in the Dinner Key mooring field.
Mooring ball #147 is way out there. No birds but it is almost a mile from the dinghy dock and unprotected from the chop that builds during predominantly easterly breezes of December. There are many better places to anchor in Miami but since Mary was to be gone to Australia for most off our stay we favored the security of a well maintained mooring ball. During the ten days we stayed on the mooring ball Frankie and I primarily took a shuttle bat that runs every hour between the mooring field and the land form 8am to 5pm. If the weather was relatively calm we took a wet dinghy ride.
Mary arrived back from Australia late on Friday night. A 15-20kt north easterly breeze was blowing through the mooring field so we slept over night at a picnic table before taking the shuttle back out to our mooring ball. Mary slept all day Saturday and until mid-morning on Sunday.
We were so eager to leave the remote mooring ball by Sunday morning that I decided to take a shortcut through Biscayne Bay to Cesear Creek where the chart showed a channel with enough water to carry us through to the Hawk Channel. The Hawk Channel is a stretch of relatively protected water along the east side Florida Keys protected by a barrier reef.
As we traveled south through the skinny water of Biscayne Bay I started to doubt the decision. We were the only deep draft vessel travelling along the route and the only other sailboats we saw were shallow draft catamarans. We arrived at Cesear Creak at the perfect time, high tide, and felt like we were in good shape to cross from Biscayne Bay into the deep channel of Cesar Creek. We circled a little and talked about the best way to approach the creek (umm… rocky entrance or mud-sand entrance… mud-sand…) and then promptly ran aground twice. Not willing to risk a third attempt we headed back to Miami and anchored on the west side of Key Biscayne.
This morning we moved to the No Name Harbor, a perfectly protected harbor in Key Biscayne just northwest of Cape Florida. We plan to stay here until Ruby and Darla join us on Saturday before heading down the Hawk Channel to Key Largo.
Two Brave Fins, Jukka and Paul, joined us for the wet and miserable sail from Lake Worth to Miami.
Jukka is a constant traveller, born in Finland, citizen of Finland and Canada and US permanent resident. Jukka had been dreaming about cruising on a sailboat for 30 years.
Paul is a third generation, 100% Finnish, Yooper (from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan). He most recently worked as a electrical troubleshooter for Australian mining giant BHP.
Jukka seem to love every minute of our miserable sail from Lake Worth to Miami, while Paul, I am sure was thinking “Oh lordy, next time Jukka says let’s go sailing with a crazy Australian-Minnesota family I’m gonna make myself invisible quick. Ja, you betcha.”
It was not until after we arrived in Miami Paul confessed in the olden days Fins were not allowed on sailing ships because it was thought they brought bad luck. Now we know who to blame for the miserable conditions!
What the old sailors must not have know is that Fins are brave and good company. We loved having them along!
N25 43.556 W80 14.279
Left Lake Worth at sunset and proceeded about two miles offshore.
We found ourselves in a 2.5 kt north setting current in with a 10kt northerly creatin steep seas. Moved back to within 0.5 miles off shore and plotted a new route, 0.5 to 1 miles offshore staying in 30-80 feet of water. Seas moderated significantly, but rain pesisted for the remainder of the trip.
Motored till midnight as north east seas overwhelmed light northerly winds then sailed on a pleasant beam reach until the wind died. Were well ahead of schedule and nearing the Port of Miami when the wind picked up again so sailed under double reefed main with engine idle until we reached the ship anchorage a around 05:30. Waited for sunrise and the last of the flood untio 07:30 when we passed through Governer’s cut in perfectly calm conditions.
Now on a mooring ball at Coconut Grove Sailing Club.