May 29, 2015

A Day In The Life

“One morning I woke up and was plunged into psychological shock. 
I had forgotten I was free.”

John Henry Abbott

Aerial view of Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida
The following is a story about one single day, Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

 "I really should be leaving by now

.... but the Keys will do that to you.  They'll keep you here and force you to defy logic sometimes.  

It's a hard place to leave, especially Marathon's Boot Key Harbor.  It's a great little place on the map  here with hundreds of like minded cruisers as your neighbors.  It's hard to leave when there's a beach just up the way via Sisters Creek.  And there's an awesome reef for snorkeling just a short trip from Boot Key Harbor.  There's mangrove canals for fishing or kayaking. There's live music most every night on a waterfront deck somewhere.  You can keep to yourself here or you can mingle in a wide social network of fellow sailors.... It hardly ever rains this time of year,  the sun shines a lot, and the steady wind almost always blows from the east.

For today's blog post I will focus on one single day,  Tuesday, May 19.  It was a day of what I call sensory overload... During my lifetime, I've had about a hundred or so days that I would truly classify  as "Sensory Overload" days...  You probably know what I mean... just killer days where all the goodness and excitement you ever could image just aligned up perfectly....

 I'm really quite fond of them, as they always flirt with intense emotional sensations, vast geographic vistas, and long lasting memories of  feeling so free ... it's all about a fond emotional connection typically in a most unique place that can never be reproduced or re-experienced in quite the same way again. 

So back to leaving... or trying to leave... Yes, I fully realize it's getting into late May and a tropical storm could brew up and douse my little sunshine party in a heartbeat ... And the longer I stay here, the longer I tease  mother weather. Hurricane season officially begins June 1, and I should be more cautious I suppose... But these things take time, and I have officially set my departure date for Wed., June 3, after making some final boat repairs to my rigging.

But in the meantime, days like this are to be treasured ....  and so I linger just a bit longer with an odd assortment of tasks before me like smiling at glassy seas, humming an old tune, and lots of long term staring at the wind as it kisses my brow.  For me, it just doesn't get old.

So enough of this rambling preface.... here's how it all went on one Tuesday, May 19, 2015. Just one particular day I choose to highlight."

It was almost 11 am before I untied Glory Days from the mooring ball in Boot Key Harbor for what was to be a day of buddy boating with my sailor friend John Adams aboard his Morgan 38, called Turn Some Pages... or Pages for short.

The dinghy dock at the Marathon City Marina was extremely empty compared to the not too distance days ago when finding a place to tie up your dink was like finding a parking spot at the mall during the holidays ... people have left in droves seeking higher latitudes and returning back to their northern homes.  Only the locals and die-hards remain for now.

 ... oh the choices a sailor must make.

Dazy leaves the dinghy dock and  gets a tow job.

Our goal was to sail the easy 14 miles going under the 7 mile bridge and on to an anchorage between Big Pine Key and No Name Key via the Big Spanish Channel... Easy enough.
In no time at all, Glory Days was on a sweet wing and wing heading toward the 7 mile brige.

However, once we got outside of Boot Key Harbor, the seas were relative calm and that old familiar tower marking Sombrero Reef was calling my name to the north.

After chatting with John on the radio about the reef, we decided to alter our course and head for the reef, a 5 mile detour...

These boat pics are the Morgan 383, "Turn Some Pages" piloted by my buddy, John Adams here while on our detour to Sombrero Reef

The morning continued with a good steady breeze from the east that delivered us to the reef in almost no time...

Snagging a mooring ball while single handling a sailboat can be a delicate feat... John demonstrates here... He caught the ball on the first grab.

After grabbing two mooring balls at the Sombrero tower, we discovered it was a pretty good day for snorkeling... ahhh, its like a walk in nature, only wetter.

... preparing for our dive.

You can't rush these things...
Glory Days bobbed on the mooring ball as we donned our snorkeling gear and entered the water from the stern of Pages.
 Just like I remembered it... an aquarium...

We met this young girl, Joanne, who just couldn't get enough of it... She was here on a chartered dive boat moored next to us.   I promised to send her some of my photos from this dive... (more of the dive photos can be seen on the YouTube video when you scroll down to the bottom of this page.)
After our dive at Sombrero Reef, it was time to move on... so at 3 pm we began our trip back and on to our original destination at No Name Key... We made our way back to the 7 mile bring and battled a rather strong outgoing tidal current to get though the bridge to carry onward... it was a tough current and I could only make 2.5 knots working against it.  Once we got to the other side we were home free.

 As fate would have it, I underestimated the time involved to get there, and suddenly a two hour trip turned into a 5 hour trip...

Thankfully, our hulls were gliding over calm prismic waters, side by side ....  It was quite calm now, like glass, with no flicker of wind daring to kiss our sails ... with waters smooth as satin, we glided  onward across the sea... By crossing under the bridge, we had now left the Atlantic Ocean and dipped our keels into the Gulf Of Mexico. 

I thank God for dependable diesels... it's not actually "sailing" I suppose,  but it's still time on the sea in a world of suspense, imagination and discovery... 
b  r  i  n  g       i  t       o   n.

We cruised side by side as John did his motorcycle imitation here. 
(Contrary to popular belief, we really are grown men... retired grown men, in fact.)

Destination finally in view... 
Anchorage, finally.  Just as the sun was setting my anchor locked into the grassy bottom of the sea... 

    It was another lovely sunset, but these boys were hungry so we wasted no time going ashore.
Time to turn off all the instruments and get onto the land.  Our goal was to seek out the world famous No Name Pub... 
I think we found it.
Built in 1936, this pub was "eat up" with atmosphere... it's located out in the middle of nowhere, but worth seeking out if you ever come this way.

Excellent pizza and local beer was our reward.

And there you have it.

And that, my friend, is what I call another day of "Sensory Overload"... it turned out well, no one got hurt, and everyone lived happily ever after...

The water was clear so I  spent the following morning at anchor cleaning the hull of Glory Days before making my way back to the safety and comfort of Boot Key Harbor... 

Here's a little music video I wrote called Sitting On Sand.  It summarizes a lot of what this day was all about... 
click below to play it.

Stay tuned!  There's still a 400 mile journey ahead of me as I part company with Boot Key harbor!  As always, TO BE CONTINUED!!! 

No comments:

Post a Comment