Newfound Harbor – Big Pine Key, FL
We arrived in the harbor on July 25th after spending the day in Bahia Honda State Park. It was a bit of a rough anchorage, but the scenery was pretty, with a white sand beach & palm trees. As it was my birthday, Coleen made breakfast – delicious popovers. We took the dinghy to shore after breakfast and enjoyed a long walk along the Oceanside beach. The current on that side of the island was too strong for swimming, but we could wade enough to get cool. We saw plentiful shorebirds, and even watched an egret stalk through the beach wrack, find his breakfast, and gulp down a little crab. There was also a trail through a lovely butterfly garden, and another that led to the top of the old railroad bridge, providing a beautiful panoramic view. Although, it was still early in the day, it was already 91 degrees and we were all drenched in sweat. Thankfully, the other side of the island had a great swimming beach. Coleen and I enjoyed a refreshing swim and then a little nap in the shade of a palm tree, while DJ went off for a longer hike.
A small nature center held our attention for about an hour as we poured through all the exhibits, increasing our knowledge of the area. Then we had a very special treat, as the park office/store had real ice cream! We enjoyed double dips for lunch before heading back to the boats. The day was speeding by fast and it was already 2:30. Time to make a decision, should we leave or stay for another night. We finally opted to head out in the hopes that the anchorage in Newfound Harbor would provide a more comfortable nights sleep.
Coleen and I managed to raise our new anchor quite easily, with her at the helm, and me pulling up the chain. We’ve devised some hand signals so she know when to put the boat in gear or move it back to neutral. She did a super job!
I decided to wait until we passed through the bridge, and also passed a little island before turning into the wind to put up the sail. Unfortunately I had the mainsheet about ¾ the way up, when Coleen hollered out that it was wrapped around the top mast step. I quickly pulled it back down, and then began messing around trying to shake it free of the step. Then I did one of the cardinal sins of sailing…. Once I got it free, I actually pulled on the wrong end of the halyard and very quickly pulled the whole thing out of the mast! Boy did I feel stupid! I dragged my sorry tail back to the cockpit and sat down at the helm. Finally, I got up and set the jib, and we scooted along at 2.5 knots. A few minutes later Coleen hollers, “Mom what’s that line in the water?” Yep, I was dragging the mainsheet halyard…. I quickly pulled in it and sat back down at the helm. I felt like a whipped dog at that point. Thankfully, it was only a 10 mile journey to Newfound Harbor. We sailed under jib alone for about an hour, before turning on the engine.
A couple of hours later we neared the entrance to the harbor. I had terrible time trying to sort out the markers, and slowed down and made a couple of circles until I had it all figured out. I was secretly hoping that DJ on Perseverance would go in first, but he was standing back making me figure it out on my own.
We anchored in 6 feet, as although this is a huge harbor it is mostly shoal. We’re quite a distance from land, and the nearest place to land a dinghy is a couple of miles away. As it was my birthday, DJ and Coleen made dinner. It ended up being a bit of a hurried affair as no sooner did we sit down to eat than a squall approached. We ate quickly, and then headed back to the Glass Slipper, just in time to close up the hatches.
The next day I had a bit of a pity party, still feeling badly about my stupid mistake. I was also feeling seasick, as the water in this anchorage really kicks up in the wind. The wind blew 20 knots most of the day, and it was uncomfortable. Late afternoon a squall rolled through dumping a ton a rain. It was raining so hard I could not see the bow of the boat when standing under the dodger! The whole thing passed in about 15 minutes and about a hour later it was nearly flat calm and we went for a swim!
The weather forecast is showing strong winds and uncomfortable seas until Sunday, so we are stuck here for a while. I’m starting to get used to the motion, and managed to get a few little projects completed yesterday (including fixing the halyard). With all this wind, our wind generator is finally earning it’s keep and we have plentiful power to use the computers, and dvd player. Coleen has been on a movie marathon!
If the wind pipes down a bit today, we made head out for short sail.