We're (still) moored on ball K-9 (at 24°42.250′N 081°05.550′W) in Boot Key Harbor.
It's time for a brief recap of the past few months and (about) 1,000 miles of cruising.
Let's roll the clock back to October 13. Southbound Day 1 - October 13
At the time, we had a plan for a multi-phase cruise through 2021-2022. So far, the plan has worked out reasonably well.
Phase I was get to Charleston. This had three parts.
The trip down the Bay to Norfolk. We were in no hurry and stopped at some new places along the way. This is only a hundred miles, but they're well-known miles and didn't need a lot of planning.
The trip from Norfolk, VA, to New Bern, NC. We hung around there for a while. Southbound Day 18 to Southbound Day 27. We're familiar with some of the area, so the planning was a little more detailed here. We needed to keep the distances manageable and focus on desirable anchorages.
The trip to Charleston. This would be our first long overnighter. Other than Space-X junk, it went well. See Southbound Day 28-29 Offshore Passage This is simply a long passage.
Phase II was some non-boat stuff.
Phase III. The trip down the FL coast from Charleston to Key Biscayne. This is a series of overnight passages, none of them are very long. The Florida coast doesn't really support comfortable day-sailing, so each is done overnight.
I like leaving and arriving in daylight. Between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, the days are short, so leaving in the evening and arriving after dawn assures us plenty of daylight to get out of one anchorage and into the next. There's no need to try and rush to get there before the sun sets. Indeed, we've almost always had to slow down to get there after sunup.
This took 53 days, most of which were waiting for a good opportunity to move. There are only a few legs:
- Charleston to St. Mary's Southbound Phase III, Day 1-2, That Hurt
- St. Mary's to anchor in New Smyrna Beach. Southbound Phase III, Day 4-5, New Life
- The next overnight leg took us to Jensen's Beach. Ph. III, day 19-20, Jensen Beach
- It was a day trip to take a slip in Stuart Ph. III, day 31, Stuart
- Finally, one more overnighter to anchor at Key Biscayne. Ph. III, day 49-50, Key Biscayne
Fifty days of waiting for four good overnight passages. And also waiting for a new dinghy motor.
Phase IV is where we are now. Well, nine days into Phase IV. We're now island-hopping down the Keys; no more long overnight passages. Then we'll visit the Dry Tortugas. Then back to the Everglades and eventually to Ft. Meyer.
When we started, we only had a little part of Phase IV outlined. We had set out two alternative Phase IV's: one for the Bahamas and one for the Keys. We discarded the Bahamas and we're sticking with the Keys. Folks who've visited the Bahamas say that the relative isolation of island-hopping down there means there's little worry about COVID-19.
We've jumped from Key Biscayne to Pumpkin Key to Rodriguez Key to Lower Matecumbe Key to Boot Key. We've got two more jumps before Key West. But first, some needed maintenance.
CA's got a week's worth of chores laid out for us. The weather is blowy and nasty.
ENE-E@12-19g24/3-6' Sun10 night-Mon11;
The wind directions don't matter as much as the "g27", "g23", and "g24" which is gusting to well over 20 knots. The 5-7' and 3-6' waves are too sporty for us. We're happy to stay here and do some domestic chores.
- Sun: empty composting head. oil change and turtle hospital
- Mon: birding and wait for the OGM package
- Tue: groceries and fix mast head light
- Wed: water and laundry
Each day is not packed with work. It takes some care to avoid the attitude of "Get the job done so we can get moving!"
We don't need to get moving. We're here.