I can’t tell you how nice it feels to be back aboard Beatitude. For the first time, I was confronted by the realization of just how much this lifestyle has gotten into my blood. You may say that any place would feel nice after nine straight days dealing with patients in the emergency room, studying for a ten-year board certification renewal, and then taking the torturous test. True, but I really feel at home on Beatitude – on the water. I hope we can live this way for a good while.
Upon arriving back at Rose Marina on Tuesday afternoon, we were greeted by all the wildlife we left when we departed. Great white herons, blue herons, and green herons roamed the docks near our slip. We then picked up all of our packages (including a new freezer!) and mail from the marina office. The staff here have been so helpful. We then removed our old freezer from the boat (not an easy task with just Cindy and I), and loaded on the new. Dinner and a couple of loads of laundry later, we were relaxing on the boat watching a movie in our salon while a slightly over-ripened full moon shimmered over the water.
Wednesday, was a day of a little cleaning, a little boat work, a little bill paying, a little shopping, and a little relaxing. Our new freezer does not fit in the cabinet compartment that the old one did, so we are going to sit it in the owner’s hull. I will make the old freezer compartment into more storage space and shelving. You can never have too much of that on a boat. While out shopping, we picked up supplies for those projects and some groceries.
Today is an exciting day! We are departing for the Keys! Marco Island is a nice clean place, but not among our favorite stops thus far. It’s a great stop for vessels from ports further north on their way to the keys however. It was touch and go over the last couple of days as to whether or not we would be able to head for the Keys. There is a tropical weather disturbance sitting over the Bahamas that has been trying to make up its mind whether or not it will organize and strengthen. At this point, it doesn’t look like the conditions are very favorable for development so we’re leaving this afternoon. Our initial plans were to head for the Dry Tortugas after Marco, but those have changed. Cindy’s father had colon surgery a couple of days ago, so she will be flying to Ohio on Sunday from Key West to spend some time with him and her mother. It seems that the Dry Tortugas just weren’t meant to be. I’ve tentatively planned to head there previously, but the weather didn’t cooperate. Oh well! There are plenty more wonderful locations in our cruising future. You can’t see them all!
Our trip to Key West covers around 100 nautical miles. If we average 5 knots, that will be about 20 hours of sailing time. We will plan for a mid-afternoon departure today (~3 or 4 pm), which should get us into Key West around 10 am or so. We’re leaving then so as not to have to enter the Northwest Channel into Key West before dark. This will be our first overnight with just the two of us on board. Cindy is a little apprehensive, but she’ll do fine. The forecast through tomorrow calls for light and variable winds and waves of less than 2 feet. Unfortunately, that means we may be motoring most of the way. We’ll see This will also be the furthest we’ve sailed offshore with just the two of us aboard. We’ll be 30-40 miles offshore on this passage I’m looking forward to it. It will hopefully be wonderful. I’ll let you know in a day or two.
For now, we point our bow in a southerly direction and sail on!