Although it feels good to be moving again, it feels cold! With any luck this last cold front is the last cold cold front. Once temps get down below 60 my old thin blood just doesn’t do too well out here in the cockpit and open air all day long.
We have had the gamut of weather since leaving Marathon last Monday morning. The SE 15 knot breeze made the outside ocean channel a little rough so we went west toward Key West, under the 7 mile bridge, and turned back to the east in Florida Bay to head towards Miami.
As the day wore on the wind shifted with us allowing a nice sail up to Islamorada although by late afternoon it had picked up and was blowing a bit. Our new wind generator was spinning like crazy keeping the batteries full. Nice!
About midday on Tuesday as we twisted our way through the canals leading through the mangroves, Shelly noticed a lot of mud and sand coming from the bottom a ways behind us like we had run aground or something. I could not tell her why but figured it out easily enough when we stopped into Gilbert’s Marina in Key Largo for fuel and water and hour or so later. In addition to topping up the tanks, we needed a calm place so Ryan could haul me up the mizzenmast to unwrap the safety line that had gotten wrapped around the generator. Oops. I guess I made it a little too long…
It didn’t take a rocket scientist to match the lobster pot rope easily seen streaming out behind the rudder to the sand kicked up earlier in the day. What Shelly saw was the lobster pot banging on the bottom as we drug it along behind us. Poor lobsters! Too bad the pot couldn’t hang on until we got to the marina so we could at least have eaten the lobsters!
So at Gilbert’s, first I had to get in the water and cut the line off the rudder and shaft, then climb the mast to untangle the safety line. Isn’t there some saying about things come in threes? The third is coming tomorrow and it is going to be bad.
After a night in No Name Harbor on Key Biscayne, we left at sunrise out the channel to the open ocean hoping that the seas had calmed down somewhat. Fat chance.
After pounding and rolling our way north we jumped back inside into Ft Lauderdale 35 miles and 5 hours later. Our goal was to reach Palm Beach so Shelly could meet up with her good friends Sue and Kathy.
There are 18 opening bridges in the 40 miles between Ft Lauderdale and Palm Beach which is why we hate going inside. About 2 pm between two bridges the engine overheated and the alarm went off. Sometimes this is an easy fix, and since there is not a lot of room to anchor I had Shelly steer the boat while floating towards the bridge and I tried to find the problem. There was water coming out the thruhull, and the outlet of the salt water pump was cool, so I thought I would just take it off to see if there was flow to the engine. With the line off I had Shelly start the engine which immediately blasted my left thigh and groin with steamy, scalding hot salt water. Third event complete.
(For the curious – the problem turned out to be a plastic baggie sucked up and stuck in the thruhull. It was letting some water in but not enough. I fixed it before starting to go into shock!)
Suffice to say that four days later I can tell you that 2nd and 3rd degree blistering burns on your leg and groin are fairly painful. Don’t do it.
But we weren’t done yet. Ryan helped me steer through the remaining bridges while I tried to get through the pain. Towards late afternoon the forecast was strong thunderstorms as a cold front passed through. With nowhere to anchor someone had to stand out in the 30 mph, wind-driven rain and steer. At least the water was warm and soothed my leg some.
The last hour in the dark (and rain storms) Ryan used a spotlight to help find the channel to Lake Worth and an anchorage. They took Goose in for his well appreciated walk while I crashed.
The good thing is I am going to be sitting down in the cockpit all day for the next 7 or 8 days it takes to get to Beaufort and that will give my leg time to start healing!
Of course, while all this was going on, Shelly developed an infection in her jaw so she quickly began looking like a very greedy squirrel in the fall and feels almost as bad as I do. Oh boy. Not good.
We only had to go about 20 miles on Wednesday to Palm Beach where we found a dentist and a dock close enough for us both to hobble there and trade him cash for antibiotics. It’s all good.
Thursday moved us up to Ft Pierce and a few beers with our crazy Australian friend Gary, then the next day to Sebastian to meet Joe and Sue. All who got a great laugh out of our pain of course. We are here to please.
Sebastian to Titusville where we found out SpaceX was launching a satellite off a rocket and we had a front row seat! Unfortunately, the countdown was stopped at T-1.33 minutes for some reason. It made me remember watching the launches from Cape Canaveral to the moon in the sixties on a black and white TV. Remember?
Then today it is a beautiful, sunny, 70s, clear sky, no wind kinda day as we make our way up through Daytona Beach. Although I’m hobbling (I’ll spare you a picture of my leg) it is improving, and Shelly is doing much better today as well.
One of the most often asked questions we get about living on a boat is “What about storms?”
And this is what we always say. If you had calm seas and perfect weather all the time how would you know how good you had it? We need storms in our life to appreciate the calms.
I look at my crispy leg and thank God it wasn’t worse and also for reminding me how truly healthy I am.
Life is good and we are looking forward to seeing old friends in Hilton Head Island soon.
And here is Goose looking for Shelly. He loves this game!