Wednesday, May 21, 2014

That “New Arrival High”

N24°54.280’, W080°42.338’

Ahhh we finally have it again, that New-Arrival-High!  Our minds had been turning to mush from days, weeks, months spent in one place... but we can just feel them stirring again as we made our escape from Marathon... just in time.  

Last Goodbyes at Castaways Sunday night
We thought we would get out on Monday.  The weather wasn’t optimal, but I didn’t care.  I wanted out and we were going!  How bad could it be?  Winds at 20-30+ knots on the nose in choppy seas… not much worse than the average day on Corpus Christi Bay in my mind...

Marathon in the Rear View Mirror...
We checked the buoys in Florida Bay and their readings were less than the predictions, so we made a break for it.  Unfortunately… so did a small fuel hose.  Bruce went down to check the engine and came up with the news that we would have to turn back.  

Well, I would turn back… but I was NOT going back into the harbor.  We picked a spot to anchor in the lee of Boot Key where we would spend a peaceful evening pretending we were somewhere else, while we figured out what to do about our mechanical difficulties…

No matter that we had unknown repairs looming over our heads… I was happy to be OUT. OF. MARATHON.

White Boat to the rescue
Our dear friends from Encore, arrived on Tuesday with a plethora of tools to help us figure out what was wrong.

We rafted the two big boats together and they rocked and rolled with the winds, still in the 20 knot range.  I can't believe the anchor held and wondered what it would take to pull it when we were ready to leave... Jerry and Bruce fixed the small leak by cutting off a split end and re-attaching the fuel return hose.  It should be replaced with a new hose but would do for now…

Before Jerry’s arrival, I had initiated an investigation into our non-functioning macerator pump. I had an ulterior motive in mind, I must confess.  I hoped that  when Jerry found out we had a project going, he would help if I asked sweetly…  (Jerry, don’t hate me, you KNOW I’m a spider)  Long story short, we have a dead macerator pump on our hands.  Jerry helped us trouble shoot that DIRTY job with dire warnings of being indebted forEVER…  well that’s OK.  We were already indebted, just throw this onto the top of the heap…  Bruce and I would NEVER have got it resolved without Jerry's tools and Jerry's timely advice.  

Enter Talli-Ho stage left
So, how to get a new macerator without risking a return to the Vortex?  Talli-Ho to the rescue!  Christian agreed to pick us up a new one from West Marine before they came out to the anchorage to work on their anchoring skills.  I can’t say how grateful we are to have friends such as these who would go to great lengths to help out a cruiser in need…  

We rewarded our friends with a spaghetti dinner aboard our boat as a small token of our gratitude.  We laughed into the wee hours of Cruiser Midnight… (9 pm).  I did feel a bit of sympathy for Christian and Holly as we “old timers” heaped advice upon them until their eyes glazed over…  

Wednesday morning dawned with winds still blowing, but the weather reports called for moderation on Thursday.  It should be fine to travel the ICW today.  Once we get East and can turn North, we will be able to actually SAIL!  Talli-Ho made the decision to tag along for a couple of days to get closer to their jump-off point for the Bahamas… Bruce and I are STILL undecided about going... but leaning towards not.  We’ll see…

Final Goodbye hugs from my BCFF

Taken by Talli-Ho
We pulled anchor and motor-sailed briefly.  The winds were behind us to the Seven Mile Bridge, then abeam for a while longer, then we reached the ICW and turned dead into the wind and slight chop.

We doused the jib and settled in for a day on a sea of beautiful glowing brilliance and buffeting winds.  The one or two skinny spots along the way turned out to be a non-event with the rising tide.  

Even the cats were enjoying the ride
We kept in touch with Talli-Ho on VHF 71 and they were enjoying the ride as well.  All four (six) of us were just indescribably happy to be on our way again.  

Just a Happy Girl On A Boat
We made good time considering that for most of the day, wind and current were against us.  But our passage was only about  38 miles.  We opted to forego our stop at Matecumbe Bight and press on a few more miles to Lignumvitae key.  We had only the information on Active Captain to prepare us, and it was old.  Would we find mooring balls or not?  Would we be able to anchor if there were no balls?  We’ll just get there and take a look!

Heading through the final pass before we reached "home"
Upon arrival, we saw jet skis zipping around what looked to be about five mooring balls.  YES!  There WERE moorings aplenty!  The jet skiers disappeared as we approached and we each took a ball on the Southernmost end of the field where the swell would be less.  

We got settled and made contact with Talli-Ho.  We were all tired and just happy to be settled in a safe spot.  We agreed to just hang out aboard our respective boats for dinner and an early night, and regroup for exploring tomorrow.  Bruce and I had a splendid dinner of salad and leftover spaghetti while we watched the ever-changing light of the setting sun.  Jezabelle and Jetsam were comfortable and we all enjoyed a cozy family night…

Back to "Normal"
We totally have that euphoric feeling that comes only after a successful passage.  THIS is what was missing from our time in Marathon.  I couldn’t put it into words before… but this is it.  This is what keeps Cruising fun and fresh.  Without it, we wither.  I made it until just after sunset before retiring to my comfy bed.  Now I understand.  I wasn’t unhappy to be in Marathon… I just needed a shot of that “New Arrival High”!


  1. Not to be a snot, but isn't calling this a "passage" kind of a stretch?

    1. That's it?!! That's your comment? For your enlightenment...
      Term: passage (n)
      Definition: A distinct part of a voyage; a trip from one port to another.