Thursday, April 16, 2009 We left the Marina at Key West at 5:30 am and motored up Hawks Channel in very calm conditions. The weather was beautiful and we were excited and more than a little nervous as we tried to acquaint ourselves with all the gizmo's and gadgets on Stray Cat. A chart plotter and autopilot were completely new instruments to us and we had planned on having the PO help acquaint us with them. The wind was on the nose out of the NNW so we continued to motor until we picked up a mooring ball at Indian Key around 5:30pm. I cooked dinner and we settled in for a sound sleep for our first night out.
Saturday, April 18, 2009 We left Rodriquez Key at 8 am with winds 20-25 out of the ENE. Seas were choppy to ruff. We were trying to make it to Cranstons Marina in Key Biscayne for the night but couldn't get there before they closed. so we pulled in behind soldiers Island at 298n 029w at 6:22 pm. The shackel jammed in the windlass during anchoring. Freddie again dove the anchor to make sure it was set. The bottom was grassy but the anchor still held.
Sunday, April 19, 2009 Freddie pulled up the anchor by hand (nothing worked to free the shackel the night before) and we started out at 8 am. In working our way out of our anchorage our depth readings were 5.8' and our draft is 3.3' but we still found bottom. They say that tere are 2 kinds of sailors, Those that have run aground and Those that are going to run aground. We had been going very slow and were in soft sand so we had no problem just backing out. We made the short trip up to Cranstons where we topped off the water tank, bought deisel, ice, and icecream. The dock attendant lent Freddie a crowbar and he was able to free the shackel from the windless and stow the anchor chain! This was the first day that the winds would not have been on our nose and we could have tried sailing but it was already 1pm so we picked up a $21 mooring ball for the night. We both enjoyed afternoon naps and I tried out the outside grill on some chicken.
We enjoyed our dinner and watched a dvd then called it a night.
Winds were nice out of the southeast so we tried out the jib. Yee Haw! we are motor sailing at 6 knots in 5-7ft seas. We saw another sailboat heading north a little further out but we elected to stay closer to shore. I was surprised at how few other boats we had seen so far in our trip. The only night we had any company at our anchorage was when we were on the mooring at Indian Key. Of course there was traffic in the channel and at Cranstons but our trip up Hawks was a solitary one. When planning our trip initially we had figured on one or two overnight sails to get us home before my vacation was over. So north we went in light winds out of the SSW. As the afternoon approached so did a storm. The seas were covered in white caps and we had fun trying to get the jib furled our first time in wind and rain. Freddie stayed at the helm and was thourally soaked regardless of his fowl weather gear. I stayed busy trying to keep the salon and berths dry. It seemed that someone had not closed one of the forward small portals correctly and it created a small waterfall. We also discovered a bitty big leak at one of our salon windows. ( wildcats are known for that) Every pot and bowl I had on the boat was being utalized to catch water and being emptied continually. The seas started to calm down during the rain and it ended up being a beautiful night on the water. Freddie is a night owl so he took the first watch. I relieved him around 3 and only woke him one time when I was concerned about our depth reading . Having never done this before we stayed at the helm even though the Autopilot was handling the steering. We wern't smart enough to have a tether riged up but did wear a lifejacket and the kept to the rule that no one left the cockpit when on deck alone.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009 We are closing in on home. the day has been unevental and we are still motor sailing with the jib. It is mid afternoon and we are off the coast of Amelia Island. I work at a resort there and my office is located on the beach. I give my office a call (with Freddie's phone since mine is in the deep blue sea) and let them know to look out because I can see the Resort from the boat. It was great to go close in and wave as we sailed by. We go back out and round the south jetties to the entrance to the Cumberland sound and home! Tide was running out and the wind was really blowing in so it was like a washing machine. Spray was hitting us back at the helm. Tempers were running short and we were tired and ready to get home and see the family. Once we passed Cumberland Island things were much smoother and our Daughters and grandkids met us at the dock at Langs Marina. We had 18 gallons of fuel left and 18 gallons of water left in each of the 70 gallon tanks.