Finally we were ready to head south in early November. No more freezing temperatures to contend with by departing in December! Last year on our trip from Minnesott Beach to Honduras, we travelled alone. This year we are back sailing with Conrad and Sally on Its About Time. We are very pleased to be travelling with them once again.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t cooperate with our desire to head out at Beaufort, NC. The wind and the seas were way past our tolerable limits! So, IAT and Pioneer headed off down the waterway on November 8th. Our second night we anchored in Mile Hammock Bay a great little anchorage one day south of Morehead City. The evening there was quite amazing and Ron took several photos of the boats as they bobbed at anchor.
Mile Hammock at sunset
There were 21 boats in the bay – a record number we understand! Two days later we had a great sail down the Cape Fear River and out into the ocean for an outside passage to Fernandina Beach, Florida. The first part of the trip was vigorous sailing, the second part was a motor sailing trip in 10 knots of wind.
Motor sailing on a dead calm ocean at sunrise with Its About Time
Judy snoozes in the calm seas
The pirate history is everywhere in Fernandina
Two days later, IAT headed off down the waterway to visit with friends. We decided to wait out the weather in Fernandina and sail on the outside down to Fort Pierce, Florida then head up to Vero Beach for American Thanksgiving where we would once again meet up with IAT.
Fernandina’s equivalent to the 70’s velvet paintings!
We left Fernandina on November 19th and arrived in Vero Beach on November 21st. The hoped-for great sail turned into another motor sail but at least we avoided the waterway……… Our time in Vero was fun – lots of old and new friends to meet up with, great shopping, and eating Sam’s Club pizza (another tradition we share with IAT). We spent several nights having happy hours on some boats we hadn’t seen in a while – Tom and Phyllis on Cocoon Too from Victoria, BC as well as Darius and Kathy on Breeze Hunter from Toronto. There was a veritable enclave of Canadians on the mooring balls at Vero!
The Thanksgiving potluck at Vero is always a cruiser’s delight to attend!
After spending eight days on a mooring ball in Vero Beach we headed off south with IAT on November 29th. IAT left us at Miami, where they were planning to wait for a crossing to the Bahamas, meanwhile we headed into the Florida Keys to anchor the night at Rodriquez Key. The next day we had a most enjoyable day sail from Rodriquez Key to Marathon, even though we had to keep a sharp lookout for crab traps and do some artful dodging around several. On December 1st we hooked onto a mooring ball in Boot Key Harbour, Marathon in the heart of the Florida Keys. Our first full day here was spent walking to the grocery store with a stop at the Panda House for Chinese food (an R&J Marathon tradition!).
We will be here until next Tuesday, December 6th, when we hope to get an opportunity to cross the Gulf Stream to Varadero, Cuba. The absolute best thing about our trip south so far this year has been the temperature – mostly very warm and sunny all the way!
Once we get to Cuba, we will not have Internet capability for blog posts so we will be “off the radar” until January and then April when we return to the United States. However we will continue writing and saving our posts so when we return there will be lots to read and catch up on. We have not decided whether we will travel inland in Cuba for the winter or whether we will sail around a bit. However, Judy must come back to Canada in January for her mother’s 100th birthday and so that will be an opportunity to post our blogs to date.