Saturday, February 13, 2010

Big Pine Key to Stock Island

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!


Anonymous said...

Bob we used to call our inflatable "The Rubber Room" can use that if you like.

In Florida we use fiberglass or they will rot out in the sun in 2 years.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bob! Enjoy reading your blogs again. When you are back in CT and taking a trip to clams and mussels picking and feel like taking a couple extra guests please let me know.