Let me preface this post by saying we try to pick the very best days to travel and limit our number of miles per day, so the girls can get off the boat and expel our their 3 and 4 year old energy. However, we had somewhat of a “schedule” to meet this past week…..family coming to visit us in the Keys (Yay!!)…so we pushed our cruising boundaries a little more than usual and traveled off shore from Fort Lauderdale to Marathon in three days (no overnights).
The three travel days of between 40-50 miles a day and anywhere from 3-6 knots of speed to Marathon was not an easy one and we find ourselves taking a deep breath and being extremely glad to NOT be traveling for awhile. We left the Port Everglades Inlet early Tuesday morning and were immediately hit by some rocking waves. Of course we had planned to depart on a calm day but you can never really predict mother nature. While were were “supposed” to have 1-2 ft seas, we actually had 4-6 ft sea hitting us at about 4 second intervals. This may be calm seas for some sailors of experience, but for our family it was rough….very rough. All of us had taken our seasick medicine, as Leslie calls it, however it did not prevent the uncomfortable feeling that builds in your body from being slammed by waves every 4 seconds. It actually gave me flash backs of labor and the intense contractions (or birthing waves) that build and get closer together….so very exhausting. Anyways, by 9 o’clock, the girls cabin had been drenched with water from a leaky hatch gasket (added to the list of things to fix) as the nose of the boat was diving into the waves. Our cabin was also a mess since Avery had gotten sick in it and it was all I could do to clean it up and try to maintain my composure. It was a test for our family and we spent the rest of the day in the cockpit staring out at the ocean and the girls eventually fell asleep. We reached our anchorage in No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne and were able to get off the boat and walk around a bit. Lesson learned: Keep the girls in the cockpit during rough seas….do NOT let them go downstairs. Also, fix the leaky gasket.
We left No Name Harbor early the next morning….actually we thought it was early, but all the other boats around us had left at 3 am for a crossing to the Bahamas. It is a an eerie feeling when you are one of the only boats left in the harbor at 6am!!
We departed with calm seas and had a nice sail until around noon when we experienced our first squall. It came up fast with 35 knot winds and caused a grey out….we could not see the front of the boat. But as quick as it came up, it also left.
We anchored off Rodriquez Key that evening….we were all rather tired and cranky from being on the boat all day and still recovering from the previous day. Whining and fighting increases when the girls are not able to run around and adult patience decreases. Lesson Learned: Endurance. Sometimes you just have to keep pushing through long days to get to your destination.
Day three of our traveling was much improved from the previous days. We had beautiful weather, water, and wind! However, the girls mood was not much improved…they were ready to be there. They can only watch so many movies and I can only entertain them so much before we need to get off the boat.
We arrived at Boot Key Harbor with much anticipation as to the amount of space that would be available to anchor. It is packed which is both good and bad. We are very excited about meeting and learning from other cruisers. And of course finding some new playmates for the girls. But, there is a waiting list for a mooring ball and the designated anchorage is full, so we are anchored in a nearby creek with our stern tied to the mangroves. It’s not a bad spot, except for the no-see-ums. Thankfully, a breeze will be picking up this weekend and we are hopeful this will clear out the bugs.
As mentioned above, these three days were trying and exhausting for our family, but I also think they were necessary and a good (maybe not good, but needed) experience. We need to know how much we are capable of as a family unit. We are now getting acquainted with our new surroundings (our home for the next month) and have already met some other cruising families. We are all really excited about Papa and Gramma Julia’s visit in a couple days!!