This entry is out of order - I'm still working on my trip to Big Pine Key, but this was such a spectacular day I had to real quick get it down before I forgot the absolute sailing high from the day. Days like this make the horrible expense of sailing worthwhile.
Everything on Pelican worked like a charm!
After being at Big Pine Key in Newfound Harbor for a week I was getting cabin fever. The winds had been in all the wrong directions at 20 plus knots so even going out in the dinghy was an effort, and a wet one at that.
Still, Big Pine Key has some places I like, like the Big Pine Restaurant (Breakfast Lunch Dinner) and the No Name Pub. There's also the Winn Dixie and CVS if you need those sorts of things.
I had met Carl and Laura of Ekotopia III and they were waiting for a break in the weather which happened Thursday February 11. I was going to wait until Friday (and I'm glad I didn't!).
Anyway, after a quick stop in town for mail, I got underway under beautiful skies and gentle winds for Stock Island. I didn't want to get to Key West so early. There's a little anchorage near Murray's Marina across the bay from the Naval Air Station (Key West), which is not on Key West but Boca Chica. But I digress.
So after the tricky bit of getting out of Newfound Harbor, I set the jib, staysail, and mizzen and shut down the iron genny. Because I was running a broad reach, I didn't bother with the main because all it would do is blanket the foresails. But as I rounded Red 4M south of Key Lois the wind came abeam and I raised the main.
I was towing the dinghy (which I'm looking for names for - "T/T Pelican" sounds so ostentatious, doesn't it?) and started the shaft generator to keep the batteries charged. This added almost a knot of drag to Pelican. Even so, occasionally in the puffs I hit 8 knots over the ground (8 plus through the water).
The day was around 65 degrees, so I was wearing shorts, a fleece vest and a foul weather jacket as well as my life vest and harness for working forward.
About four hours later, I arrived at the Boca Chica Channel, doused sail and headed in. The anchorage is very small for deep draft boats (I mean, 6 feet). But there's plenty of room for shallow draft boats and it shows - there are a lot of boats here in varying states of decay, some lived on, some not. But the anchorage is, as I said, tremendously well protected.
After I anchored, Alan, from the boat next door, stopped by and gave me the scoop about going ashore and how to get around. There's a ramp with a stone quay that you can leave your dinghy at and the bums watch over them. That's a recommendation, huh? There's a bus that travels the keys and costs $3.00 each way. It's nice and runs pretty close to schedule.
I'll be here for a couple more days before hitting Key West for fuel, water, pump out, and getting a mooring ball.
See you on the water!