We are finally underway again! After weeks of working on the boat it’s time for a little shakedown cruise. We raised anchor yesterday morning around 7 a.m. and made the short trip to Burdines Marina for fuel, gas & water. We were in a lovely, short downpour while fueling up, which ended with the most beautiful rainbow. As we left the harbor and headed out to sea we could see both ends of the rainbow over the water. So beautiful!
We set a course for Ligumvatie Key, approximately 32 miles away. I’ve yet to get the GPS working on this boat – so the trip is being done the old fashioned way --- using a paper chart I figured it’s good practice. Ligumvatie Key is a very small island that is a state park. It’s on the Bay side so this required going west for 5 miles to get under the 7 Mile Bridge. We basically traveled over 3 hours to get to same position on the Bay side as where we started on Ocean side J We were beginning to think we’d never get out of site of that 7 Mile bridge!
The weather forecast was the usual for this time of year – 90 degrees, winds 10 to 15 from the ESE, with scattered showers/thunderstorms. Since we were headed mostly E we had to motor – that’s pretty much the only way to get there this time of year – as the wind is almost always ESE or E. We needed to charge up the batteries anyway. Unfortunately we also had some current so the best we could make was 2.5 to 3 knots all day! It was a smooth ride though and very comfortable (aside from the engine noise).
I managed to make an apple popover pancake for breakfast. Later in the day I rustled up two loaves of homemade bread. We ate one for tea time (around 5 p.m.) but I made the crew save the other loaf for lunch today.
Sometime around 5 p.m. I decided it was unlikely that given our slow progress, we would make it to Ligumvatie before dark. DJ and I poured through the chart and found an anchorage just before the bridge at Long Key. We calculated we’d make it there by 7 – and sure enough we did. I dropped the hook and it set on the first try. Then after a quick gin and tonic – we had a celebratory feast of Cesar salad, grilled corn, sautéed mushrooms, Ribeye steak and key lime pie. (The menu was supposed to include the homemade bread – but everyone wanted to eat it hot out of the oven – can you blame them?)
I made it an early night as I was dead tired. Woke up once in the night as I felt an unusual movement. Got up to check and the wind had picked up as a storm was headed our way. I secured that hatches and crawled back into bed. It was just a little rain shower and passed quickly.
Today I got up at 6 a.m. although I had planned to sleep later. I decided to read about Ligumvatie Key on their website and learned that they are no longer open on Mondays! I guess my guidebook is out of date! I quickly made a plan B and by 7 a.m. raised the anchor. We set off under power, but soon after clearing the Long Key bridge were able to put up the sails. We are sailing on a nice reach with 1 to 2 foot seas, 8 to 10 knot wind. We’re headed to Alligator Reef for a little snorkeling. Not too worry – there are no alligators – the reef is named after a sunken ship. We’re hoping to stop at a couple of dive sites and then either make it to Key Largo or Rodriquez Key for the night. I can see the large lighthouse marking Alligator Reef so we should be there in a few minutes. Time to shut down the computer and dig out a mooring line.