Saturday, September 10, 2011
I'd like to sit here and tell ya that my sail from Channel Five on down to Marathon was an enthralling experience but it really wasn't.
Not that there was anything wrong with it but my sail was by no means one of those delightful sails that will forever stick in one's mind. That five hour or so long sail certainly didn't feel adventuresome or even sporting.
If anything that sail was just pleasant. Yeah... pleasant as in nice but not great... no more and no less. There were no early morning moments of quiet elation upon pulling up the anchor or upon the sails filling as the boat got underway.
Nor were there any subsequent moments of particular concern. I don't recall even having to crank up the outboard motor to negotiate any narrow channels. The weather that particular day was delightful and winds were just fine. But I'm certainly not complaining. Pleasant can indeed be good.
So after indulging in a few cold beverages the previous day at the Caloosa Harbor Marina, I simply elected not to sail out under the bridge and on out onto the ocean side of the Keys the following morning as originally intended.
All those Heinekens that I had sipped on the previous day might have had something to do with my last minute change in plans but for now I'll simply state that I was concerned with the weather... as in concerned about a random storm suddenly popping up and blowing on through while Blondie-Dog towed an inflated dinghy behind her.
Among the last things that one needs to happen while underway is to have one's inflatable dinghy to go airborne if a blow were to kick up. Either that or have one's inflatable doll... oh never mind... I strayed off topic there for a moment. Sorry.
So after brewing a pot of coffee and after ingesting a few Tylanol, I continued on down the Intercoastal side of the Keys thereby allowing me the option to drop an anchor on a whim should I elect to take a much needed nap along the way.
Before long Blondie is giving Jewfish Bush Banks a wide berth then leaving Old Sweet Bank on her port and subsequently splitting the uprights at Channel Key Pass before eventually dropping an anchor off of the Keys Drinkeries Tiki Hut in Marathon.
The holding at that anchorage is iffy at best but that elevated Tiki Hut certainly did have copious amounts of cold beer in the cooler. In any event that cooler certainly had more beer than even I would care to sip on in any one evening.
Not only was the beer nice and cold at that elevated Tiki Hut but I could also see Blondie-Dog at anchor from my vantage point. From there I could readily see whether she might be dragging her anchor and floating off to Cape Sable or perhaps elsewhere.
I'd pull up anchor first thing the next morning and sail out under the Seven Mile Bridge the next day and later anchor in Boot Key Harbor for a day or so before continuing on my way to Key West.
It also goes without saying that dropping a hook on a whim's notice along the ocean side of the Keys certainly wouldn't have been an option because of the depth of the water but ya'll already knew that.
Monday, September 5, 2011
My sail from Gilbert's Dockside Tiki Hut on Blackwater Sound and later on through Tarpon Basin, Buttonwood Sound, Cotton Key Basin, Steamboat Channel, Lingnumvitue Basin and then on down to Channel Five was as my lady-friend often likes to say, "NBD"...
"NBD" as in "No Big Deal"... which when I come to think about it is but one of many acronyms that she likes to throw out at me in conversation, thus leaving me momentarily scraching my head. For now however I'll just set aside all those acronyms and let them be a topic for some other day.
In hindsight that day three sail was rather uneventful if I were to tell the truth. The weather was most delightful with bright blue skies and water to match. Even more importantly, winds were steady yet easy.
And you certainly won't ever hear me complaining of not having anything more than easy, steady winds because I for one like to sail by the motto, "No Strain, No Pain"... and if you ever hear of a cruiser boasting otherwise then please know that these kind are the first to drop the sails and crank up the motor at the first sign of unfavorable winds.
There were of course the usual power boaters zipping by not to mention the occassional sailing vessel rumbling on past, but all in all that half day sail was as easy as it gets.
Well the sun was already past the yardarm when I dropped a hook just south of Lower Matecumbe Key near Channel Five. I'd explain what a yardarm is but I'm not really sure that I know what one is without first going online and consulting Wikipedia.
But what I do happen to know is that whenever my lady-friend utters the comment, "The sun is past the yardarm", then it's okay to break out a cold brewski.
So off I went in the dinghy in search of that ultimate, ever-so-elusive, hedonistic dockside bar that I've still yet to find. I did eventually come across Caloosa Cove Marina and its air-conditioned dockside tiki-hut... a most inviting bar & grill with plenty of cold beer and an enthralling ocean view to die for.
However this discovery didn't happen but until after a false start when I unwittingly came upon a private marina, a fact that was immediately and emphatically pointed out to me by the on-duty dockmaster.
In but an instant I was turned away like an unwelcomed rodent and sent off in another direction after it was summarily explained to me that the marina was for the exclusive use of the Boy Scouts of America.
Dude... yeah you dockmaster. I can assure you that that private marina, reserved for the exclusive use of the BSOA, is the last place that I'd want to hang out at after a day of sailing.
Besides, I'm well aware of the tawdry news headlines that pop up from time to time insofar as your organization is concerned and the very last thing that I want to do is have my character impuned by even being remotely associated with it.
(Memo to Self: Next time consult your "Visual Cruising Guide to the Florida Keys" before going ashore.)