Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday - Heading East

We got off to a late start because the winds in the morning were higher than forecast and out of the north.  A north wind when traveling east is generally good but staying inside the islands tends to blow the water into the Atlantic making already shallow water shallower.  I did a couple of chores in the morning while Beth slept in.  Things calmed down by 11 so I got Beth up and we headed out.  It turned into a very nice day with 15 knots out of the north, a slight chop on the water but overall very smooth sailing.  Yes, we actually sailed today !  Since we got the late start, we knew we wouldn't make Key Largo by dark and it is nearly impossible to navigate at night so Beth picked another marina along the route.  I programmed it into the Raymarine C70 chartplotter and we were on the way.  Unfortunately, the Raymarine location of the marina and the actual location of the marina differed by about 9 miles, and a totally different island.  We wasted about an hour looking for the marina on the wrong island before realizing our error, or Raymarine's error.  This meant we wouldn't be making the marina before dark.  The sunset was gorgeous but was ominous as we were continuing in the dark. 

The decision was made to anchor out for the night and make for Key Largo first thing in the morning.  We started trying to anchor right at dark.  The danforth wouldn't set and when I retrieved it, I realized why.  When Ruben in Puerto Aventuras Mexico fixed the anchor, he didn't do such a good job.  The anchor was bent and a bent danfoth will not hold.  I tried using both anchors but in the soft muddy bottom, neither was holding the boat.  We pulled up the anchors and motored, in the dark, closer to where there were several other boats anchored.  We again attempted to set both anchors but neither would catch.  It was full dark and we couldn't anchor.  We couldn't continue and attempting to locate and get into a marina would be difficult.  Executive decision made, we headed for an unknown marina, squeezed between a large boat and some mangroves down a narrow channel.  The channel opened up into a very nice marina which was quite full and lucked into finding one slip open.  The slip was 14'6" and I expertly guided Second Chance, which has a beam of 14' between the pylons and we were docked at the Lorelei Marina in Islamorada Florida.  We were greeted by Tara and Bobby, a couple staying at the marina and were made to feel quite welcome.  I told Bobby about the anchor issues and he happened to have one available which he sold to me at a very reasonable price.   The new anchor is almost identical to the one I had, it just isn't bent.  I will work on changing them over in the morning as well as untangling the rope from the windlass.  Given the route, we will be heading for Key Largo in the morning and spending the night there. 

Once we settled in, Beth made burritos for dinner which were fantastic as when we went shopping we bought real cheese, actual sour cream and iceberg lettuce.
We heard from our former traveling partners, J and Jerr.  Apparently they had quite an adventure of their own on their trip down to Rio Dulce.  They also relayed that they had found a new boat.  I will let you know their plans when they let us know.
After dinner, we watched a little tv and hit the sack.

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