My son is visiting from college and I thought it would be a great time to take a small little trip in our new boat. We headed out early morning - picking up anchor before 6:30 a.m. Our destination Loe Key was about 20 miles away so we estimated a 4 hour sail. Then time for a bit of snorkeling at the reef and a long sail back to Marathon. Ah for the best laid plans....
As we headed out the channel we were treated to a gorgeous sunrise. The seas were fairly flat and the wind was on our rear giving us a nice downwind sail. Only problem is there wasn't much wind so we were only making 3 to 4 knots. Phillip was at the helm cheering when we picked up even a little speed. I was down below taking advantage of the calm conditions to fry up some bacon and cook my famous apple popover pancake. Very yummy and timely. About the time we finished eating the seas picked up a bit and we were wooshing along with a steady stream of waves rushing under the boat. We had out full canvas and since we were lacking a whisker pole, DJ ad libbed with a boat hook. We were finally making 5 knots, but ended up arriving at the reef about an hour and a half later than planned.
We managed to easily pick up a mooring as there were no other boats. The seas were very sloppy and the boat was like a rocking horse. It was quite a struggle getting into a wet suit with all that rocking and rolling going on, but we managed. We then had fun getting the dinghy motor mounted. It was amazing how much more comfortable the motion was once in the dinghy. Coleen had opted not to snorkel so she had a backpack full of books. Phillip was anxious to try out the new snorkel gear/wet suit that Santa left for him, and me... well I was just happy to be with my kids. Even with a long wet suit (thank you Emily) the water was shockingly cold at first. After a few minutes I was either numb or used to it and we had a blast snorkeling on the amazing reef. It was so alive and full of various fish, lots of barracudas... Eventually I got tired and heaved myself into the dinghy with a little help from DJ. A few minutes later Phillip plops in yelling "sharks!" DJ was just behind him, and I saw the shark following him. It swam away just as he landed in the dinghy. They decided that it might be better to snorkel in another area :-)
A couple of hours of snorkeling was plenty as the air temp was 72 and the water was 70 and it was blowing 15 to 20. We had a rough time getting out of the dinghy and back into the boat. Lots of laughs and banged around body parts later, we tucked in two reefs in the main, dropped the mooring and got out of there before any of us heaved up breakfast.
I took first watch. We decided to head closer to shore hoping the seas might be a bit more settled - and also because of course the wind was coming from exactly the direction we needed to go! So we sailed along at 5 knots with a double reefed main headed the wrong direction but at least it was fairly comfortable. After a while we were down to 2 knots and I barely had steerage. Yep, crab pot! I look over the back rail and way down under the water I saw the line. Yikes, despite my best efforts, I'd managed to snag one.... I woke up DJ and he managed some amazing acrobatic maneuvers hanging over the rail and cutting the line free.
Had I not been the captain I no doubt would have been relieved of my duties...but I say it was hard to see those little devils hiding among the waves...
As we go closer to shore the seas proved to be no better, and finally we tacked to try and head home. We were beating into the wind and seas and while it was quite exciting, things were not faring so well inside the cabin. Aside from the crew looking a bit weary, the toilet seat fell off at an inopportune time, the new headline I'd installed in the head fell down, pots and pans flew out of hiding places, and a computer hit Phillip in the head while he laying on the settee. <which was good, since it didn't hit the floor>
We had a little team meeting, inspected the charts and guidebooks and decided to head for a nearby anchorage and try to get home another day. We headed into Newfound harbor around 4:30 p.m. which proved to be a very protected and quiet anchorage. I've never been so glad to put down the hook. In a few minutes we were picking up the cabin wreckage, making mudslides and cooking dinner. I gave everyone a chore and soon order was restored, we sitting in the cockpit eating dinner and playing a couple of board games.
We were all in bed, lights out by 9 p.m. as it had been a very full day!
Next morning we headed out again at 6:30. Winds were predicted to be a more favorable direction, but it didn't turn out that way. We ended up motor sailing - as we couldn't quite point high enough and finally got back several hours later. At least the seas weren't quite as sloppy, although we did lose that toilet seat again!
Yep, lots of lessons learned from that little adventure.... like you can't open the starboard lazerrette when the boat is in forward gear as the shifter is in the way. <who designed THAT!>, the reefing system needs some work, need to do a much better job stowing things in the cabin, especially in Coleen's cabin, and we must get a whisker pole.