It's a funny thing coming home. Nothing changes. Everything looks the same, feels the same, even smells the same. You realize what's changed is you."
F. Scott Fitzgerald
Welcome back to another chapter in the Glory Days sailing blog. When we last left off, she had taken me to several sweet spots in and around the Middle Keys, Key West, and many points in between.
Now it is time to end this 6 month odyssey and point my sails back north toward Georgia.
As usual, the journey back home has taken more turns than expected, so here we go again as I recap the highlights of the trip back up the whole east coast of Florida to my target destination of St. Simons Island, GA
Before departing Marathon, I enjoyed one final week exploring the area and hanging with good friends...
My friends Craig and Linda from Fort Lauderdale came down for a lovely weekend and they stayed on board Glory Days for two nights between snorkeling, eating out, making music, laughing and just carrying on.
We enjoyed a frisky day sail out 6 miles to Sombrero Reef ... this reef never gets old... Getting to the reef is a nice little day sail. We enjoyed a rollicking beam reach sail on the way back where we topped out at 7 knots on a crystal clear day delivered from heaven. Scenes from the reef.
Here I am teaching school again.
Then there was the turtle release...
A couple days later the local hospital for turtles was releasing another sea turtle back into the wild after 9 months of rehabilitation ... Lots of folks showed up as "Patty" was released back home again...
It was very moving
I hope she is frolicking through the surf all healed up after after a near death.
I will miss these guys. So long to Zach and CJ aboard their home, Champagne.... great people. We met in the Bahamas last year and reconnected this season in the Keys where they live on board.
Sombrero Beach never lets me down... so close and so enlightening. A daydreamers paradise.
Decisions, decisions about the dinghy dock .... As much as I wanted to call myself a hard dinghy, I was destined to remain a soft dinghy here!
I will miss the Marathon dinghy dock where many a conversation was had with fellow sailors and roustabouts like myself.
So long, Captain Jack. This gentleman is a local character at the marina. He's 92 years young and still living on a small sailboat at the dock.... He uses a grocery cart as his "walker" and is quick with a smile.
Here's some new images paired with many of my favorite traits, concepts, and ideas .... Sometimes one word is all it takes.
All things happen daily.
I found myself to be a "reluctant leaver" when it comes to the Florida Keys. But as fate would have it, a bonafide reason to linger for yet another week did arise. This delay was prompted by a very necessary safety repair that could not be postponed any longer, a repair to the mast rigging.
This is not good. Each cable is made up of 19 strands intertwined for maximum holding strength .... It may not look too serious at first, but once these strands start to pop loose like this one, it puts more stress on the remaining stands, so it's a no brainer to get it fixed.
After further inspection, I found four faulty strands which would mean replacing two of the outer support shrouds. Thankfully a local firm called Keys Rigging was able to get me up and running after a few days.
I know this part may be a little boring, but after what I spent on this, I was thrilled to see this new shiny, and thicker, cable become a part of my vessel's rigging!
Thanks to Zach for this mast shot and a great view of Boot Key Harbor while he was up there. Boot Key Harbor has really thinned out in late May .... it's still a great time of year to be here tho.... lovely sunny days and comfortable nights... again, hard to leave.
I pulled up anchor and departed Boot Key Harbor in Marathon on June 2, 2015 at 0600 .... The next 14 days would be a colorful experience covering 536 nautical miles to my target resting spot at St. Simons.
The first day would be a 52 mile jaunt to Rodriguez Kay into a headwind for most of the day... daunting and tantalizing we got there in time for a sunset and fine dinner at a private anchorage.
Damn, it's so good to be back moving behind the helm again! Everything is working!
My course for Day 1. Had to go about 4 miles offshore to catch the best tack north.
There seem to be several towers marking the reef that runs the full length of the Keys in Hawks Channel. Mooring balls are common if you want to tie up and go snorkeling.
For Day 2, I departed Rodriquez key around 9:30 a.m. after quiet night where I saw no humans anywhere.
conditions: fluky weather... wind from the east, then no wind, then wind from the north, then east again... she couldn't make up her mind.
This photo is my boat moving through the passage at Angelfish Creek from Hawks Channel and into the protection of Biscayne Bay. Man, the current was so strong getting through here.... I barely made 2 knots fighting against the outgoing tide... As a sailor, you do your best to time your port entries with the incoming tide, but sometimes it's just not in the cards.
I only made 26 miles today, but thats fine..... entered Card Sound and another private anchorage this time on the lee side of Pumpkin Key... the weatherman projected 100 % rain for today but he totally missed it! I decided to dash inside and drop the hook at 3 pm and nap before the big rain but all I got was sunshine...
While at this anchorage, Pumpkin Key, I tackled the job of servicing the remaining 4 stays of my rigging... it was a greasy dirty job cause i had to "unfreeze" the locked threads that had probably never been loosening in like forever.... but after 2 hours, it's all done, greased, tightened, and ready for a good blow, hopefully tomorrow in Biscayne Bay, one of my favorite sailing haunts...
looks like a south wind is projected... that could be sailing wing and wing, one of my favorite points of sail.... little did I know I would be disappointed with the lack of wind the following day.
Day 3 = June 4 (In memory of Aunt Frankie's birthday)
My trip for the entire length of Biscayne Bay today was completely the opposite of what I had experienced on the way south just a few months ago when I wrestled with a 25 knot beam reach for several grueling hours.
So where's the wind? Instead of 25 knot winds on the beam, I had seas of glass and was forced to motor for the most part... Still, it's a joy and rather relaxing to get lost in thought as she glides over crystal clear glassy waters. I never complain about weather... If I get in a storm, I embrace it.
Upon entering Coconut Grove, I was greeted by this little day sailor while entering the mooring field. She had a perfect display of a spinnaker sail in light winds... It was set perfectly and was making great speed with very little wind.
The good thing about this landfall at Dinner Key at Coconut Grove was that I would soon greet Sherry arriving this evening... 7 days of sailing fun lay ahead.... :)
So it's time for this captain to clean up ye old Glory Days, cause we have company coming!! Yes, we planned this!
I picked Sherry up at the dinghy dock shortly after my arrival by under sail... By now she has learned to pack lightly for her flight and the week ahead.
Part 2 of the Coming Home post will entail the 7 days of fun and adventure, mystique and surprises, tomfoolery and shenanigans
we encountered along the way as we sailed from Miami to Daytona...
Stay tuned for PART 2 of COMING HOME!