Tavernier, FL

8 December 2014

We were anchored out overnight in the Everglades National Park. We were fairly close to shore and near some banks in the water. It was blowing pretty good (15kts) but we took down the flags and the bimini to make the boat as aerodynamic as possible. Put a solid anchor down with 140′ of chain, twice what’s needed for 9 feet of water. Had a good set, bridles out.

Susan had phone coverage, I had limited internet. I got full internet about 10 mins closer to the keys.

The Florida Bay was a mid-level chop at the water. To some extent chop is worse than waves. A wave comes, lifts the boat and moves on. Chop smacks the boat and moves on. Since we sleep in the bow forward cabin, lots of slaps. I slept for a few hours and then went up and slept in the salon. No slap sounds, but I did have weird dreams that the actors in “The Big Bang Theory” wanted to ride with us.

The full moon made the nightly checks pretty easy. Early on one of the clamps for starboard bridle broke, but the port one held on. We were turned a little into the wind, but we didn’t have much bobbing around. I did snub off the chain so it was not tugging at the winch all night long.

The drag alarm worked well, we moved very little at night and when I looked at the distances and angles, it mostly had to do with the wind direction shift over night.

In the morning we found we had picked up two sailboats. Hard to say if they had planned to stay there or since they saw us decided it was safe. But we were up and gone before they had any activity going on, so we couldn’t ask.

Up anchor at 7AM went well until Susan noticed a crab line on the anchor. I encouraged her to pull in the muddy mess, trap and all and we may have crabs for dinner. She declined and sent it all back to the bottom for some other sailor to collect.

We headed across to the keys, skirting the Everglades Park Markers. We notice right away that the traps stopped well short of the boundary line. So where we needed to go through cuts in the bars we went the marked route (and fought the crab traps) and when possible hugged the Federal line.

Other than crab traps and staring into the sun for 3 hours it was a great trip. The wind had slowed, the chop had decreased and we moved along pretty well. There were two cases of “flippy fish” where finglings come to the surface and try to get away from a predator. This works a little until the gulls and pelicans figure it out. Then it’s havoc below the surface and havoc above the surface.

We got into our “Florida Winter Home” just before lunch. Susan did her tie up magic, figuring where lines and fenders needed to go and judging the tide and the activity of the wind. So we are secure in Tavernier for the next 100 days.

Once that was done we walked a few blocks to a Cuban deli for Cuban sandwiches and Corona’s. Welcome to FLORIDA!!!

For the next few days we are working on a 5 page list to get us read to go back home for three weeks. Lots of people to see, places to go, etc. We are looking forward to it.

To our Looper friends, we will be back 4 January, stop by and see us then.