We set off yesterday morning at 6:07 AM, determined to make the most of our skinny weather window. Since anchorages and mooring fields are scarce on the bottom part of Florida, we had three options for our course. Between Marathon Key and Fort Myers, there are only two anchorages that are deep enough to accommodate our 5’2” draft: Little Shark River (near Cape Sable), and Marco Island. Joel stopped at both of these on his way down to the keys and wasn’t impressed with either: he said the first reminded him too much of Jurassic Park, only with no cell coverage, and the second has a tricky inlet that he wasn’t eager to attempt again. For my part, I was wary of stopping in Little Shark River not for the prospect of sharks, but for the fact that it is in the Everglades, making it home to my least favorite critter in the animal kingdom: alligators. Thanks to a childhood vacation to my grandpa’s house on the Peace River about 20 years ago, I’ve never held the affinity for the silent and deadly members of the crocodilian species that my herpetologist brother-in-law loves.
So, we decided to bypass both stops and attempt the longest sail either of us have ever completed. We sailed over 135 nautical miles in 30 hours. Thankfully, we had lots of good juju from those who wished us good weather, and most of the trip was serene. Rufus 2.0 (our autopilot) did an excellent job; the yanmar engine chugged away (there wasn’t much wind until the late afternoon). We still had to watch out for crab pots, but thankfully we got to see some other interesting things as well. Check it out!
And here are some wildlife and miscellaneous shots from later in the day.
For 14 hours, the only things on the horizon in any direction were water and clouds. We couldn’t see any signs of civilization until about 6 PM last night, and even then we didn’t get cell phone reception until around 8PM.
Additionally, We didn’t see any other sailing/motor vessels until around 8PM.
The average depth of the water we covered yesterday was 25-30 feet deep.
Our furthest point offshore was about 30 miles offshore.
Throughout the day, we also saw a number of skinny, silvery fish flick themselves across the water like stones. I think they were some kind of needle fish, but Joel and I decided to call them Jesus Fish instead.
I saw another large sea turtle, but once again failed to capture it by camera. It’s so odd because we think of turtles as these big, slow, ponderous animals, but every time I see one, it just sinks like a submarine and it’s gone.