Well, as I write this we are anchored off Rodriguez Key in Key Largo. We are taking it easy this afternoon as we are leaving this evening to make our crossing to the Bahamas. We will leave around 9pm and will arrive in Bimini sometime tomorrow afternoon. The past week or so has been busy but really enjoyable.
Last week we left the Everglades early in the morning and made the 80 mile passage to Marathon where we spent a few days at anchor near Conch Key. Kyle’s friend, Gabe, from Wisconsin now lives in the Keys and he lives on Conch Key. He is a dive master and he took us out one afternoon on his boat for some scuba diving. It was a quick dive as the water was cold! But I saw more fish and colorful coral than I think I’ve ever seen diving. We also saw two moray eels, one of which was swimming around and looking at us rather curiously. The rest of the time was spent doing small boat projects, relaxing at anchor, and one evening Gabe and his family brought their power boat over to our anchorage and we enjoyed appetizers and drinks in Sirocco’s cockpit during sunset.
Last Sunday we made another 80 mile passage from Conch Key to Key Largo. Once in Key Largo we again did small boat projects, took the folding bicycles on a grocery mission, did lots of snorkeling, and spent some time scrubbing the bottom of the boat. On Thursday my parents drove down from Seminole and spent the weekend here for Thanksgiving. They stayed at a hotel about 10 minutes away and we had the most wonderful weekend. On Friday we took them sailing and out to Molasses Reef where Kyle and I took my dad snorkeling and he tried Snuba. The water was so clear and it was fun to show my parents how incredibly beautiful it is on the water here in the Keys. I had a pretty amazing experience swimming with a sea turtle. I had never been so close to a wild sea turtle before and I was calmly swimming next to it for a bit and it just sort of looked at me and also continued swimming near the surface. I did my best to give him lots of space and not encroach in what he was up to. When he dove down I waved goodbye and swam back to the boat. Later that day we drove down to Marathon and enjoyed the sunset before going out to dinner at funky little restaurant.
This afternoon after some breakfast and a relaxing morning hanging out at their hotel, my parents dropped us off at the dinghy landing and waved goodbye as we took our last dinghy ride (here in Florida!) back to the boat. I am very thankful that they were here for the weekend and were able to see us off before we leave for the Bahamas! I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving 🙂
As I mentioned above, to get to from the Everglades to Key Largo we made two 80 mile passages. Both of them were magical days, particularly the passage from Marathon to Key Largo. I haven’t written much lately as Kyle and I have been busy running around and spending time with friends and family, but I did take a few moments to write during our passage to Key Largo. We also took lots of pictures and videos which I’ll include below.
It’s 5:15pm. We’ve been sailing since 8am this morning and the conditions have been more than ideal all day. Kyle is sleeping down below on his settee. The only sounds I hear are the rushing of water along Sirocco’s hull as she surges at 6 knots with the wind and waves behind her and the tick tick ticking of the wind vane. The sun is slowly making its decent towards the horizon; it seems to be lingering a bit, as if it was preparing for the spectacular show it’s about to put on. Since the wind vane is steering for us, I do not have to steer, which means I am free to sit comfortably on the foredeck, rather than back in the cockpit. I am sitting cross legged on a cushion with my back leaned against the bulgy bag of the spinnaker sail. The water below me is the deepest blue I have seen in years. It reminds me a lot of the color of the night sky during the transition from dusk to darkness- that couple minutes just before all the stars come out. We don’t usually drink while underway, but the situation seemed to call for it, and I just cracked open a beer and cheers’d to the universe as a way of saying thank you. Plus, the cold, hoppy beer is refreshing and a nice treat to sip on. Every few minutes I check our course, our surroundings, and the trim of the sails, but other than that, I am pretty free to fully relax. That’s one of my favorite parts about being off shore, much easier and relaxed sailing than being close to land. Every once in a while a gust will come and Sirocco surges forward even more, creating a small bow wake as the sea breeze fills my nose with that salty, fresh aroma of the open ocean. I now hear Kyle stirring down below, filling his copper mug with fresh water. The sun is even closer to the horizon now and the canvas of the sky is transitioning from a pale blue to deep and vivid reds, pinks, and blues. There are some clouds hanging near the horizon line which add more intensity to the show. Kyle is on deck now, taking deep breathes and soaking it all in. The water is still a deep blue, but the surface is tinted and glowing with the reds and pinks of the sky…….. As if on queue, 3-4 dolphins started playing in our bow wave as the sun was setting. The water is so clear that we could make out their whole bodies as they played just below the surface of the water. Kyle and I hopped up to watch them and found ourselves giggling. With each passing moment the day just kept getting more extraordinary. The colors, the sea, the dolphins, the speed of the boat, the sunset, the conditions as a whole – everything around us seemed to be aligning and we were overwhelmed with joy. Thank you Universe.
After writing that and spending time on the bow with the dolphins, Kyle and I spent second sunset on the foredeck, playing dice, sharing a beer, and listening to some music. It was quite a remarkable passage, and one that I am very thankful for. Life is good and I can hardly believe we will be in the Bahamas tomorrow. We have been dreaming of this for so long, and now here we are. Onward!