Chart Plotting, Weather, & Boot Key

3:27 PM

Chart plotting and weather are crucial to cruising. Not only for where we go, but also for riding out storms. We’ve been watching the coming front for a week or more. Here in the shallow waters of the Keys there are very few (if any) anchorages with good protection from all directions, which you need when a front passes through. Sometimes it may take a day or two or more to sail to a well protected anchorage, so planning ahead and watching the weather are vital. Interestingly, there is perhaps less stress with 30 knot winds when we are at sea. While we wouldn’t choose to go out in a storm, we know that our boat can handle the weather if needed. She isn’t fast, but she is stout and tough as nails. At anchor there are more, or at least different worries, such as your anchor dragging when the winds shift, or derelict boats dragging and hitting our boat. Depending on the situation, at times we might take shifts for night watch while at anchor to make sure all is safe. But usually Stephen doesn’t sleep much when it is windy so he is up checking on things regularly. So the only adventures tomorrow will bring are rocking and rolling in the anchorage, maybe a good book, and hopefully the rain will give the boat a good wash, she’s a bit salty!

Well what do you know, we meet up with Adventure Man Dan once again. We met in Tortuga, sailed together to Marquesas, said our goodbyes, but ended up meeting again in Key West. Said our goodbyes once more, and lo and behold we meet again in this little anchorage waiting out the weather. This time when we said our goodbyes, we all knew it was a little more permanent. After the weather passed, we raised our anchor and drove by their boat, wishing them fair winds with a blow of the conch horn. Dan will be in the Keys a bit longer, preparing for the Bahamas, and we are turning north, making our way back to work. Emotional for me to point the bow north, I am nearly in tears. Which also could have been brought on by desperately wanting a proper shower and a laundromat, but discovering the high winds would keep us from docking at a marina for the night.

We aren't going to Cuba, but interesting just how close it is!

 Just like yester-year.  Every morning in Boot Key Harbor in Marathon, families gather around the radio (VHF radio that is, on channel 68) listening to a mix of the day’s weather, stories, jokes, buy/sell/trade, daily specials at the local cafe, community activities, welcoming newcomers and saying good bye to those sailing on. It is a fun way to start the mornings. Boot Key is an amazing cruising community with 200 mooring balls and that many more anchored around. This is our second time passing through. Unfortunately the waiting list is always too long and we’ve never gotten a mooring ball. Last time they called us on the day we left and we had made it to the top of the list. But none the less, mooring ball or not, if you are a cruiser, this is a place you don’t want to miss.

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