We made it to the Keys after an eventful 10 days or so of sailing through the Everglades. To those of you with a map, We went from Pavillion Key to Graveyard Creek, to the Little Snake River in Ponce de Leon and holed up a few days in Little Sable Creek. It was there we discovered a gallon and a half of salt water in our bilge (yikes!) and had to take the boat entirely apart to find the source. The main problem we found was a leaky mast step, we have since sealed that up to the best of our ability. Having the boat apart was a great opportunity to do some capsize tests.
We found she floats very high in the bow due to the cabin. Steve had an easy time flipping her when we had the masts out, but it was a little harder with the masts. Though they float now when apart, they can't keep from being pushed all the way down with the weight of the boat behind them. Important things to learn!
Next we spent a couple days in Lake Ingraham (there are tons of tiny channels we crashed ourselves into so as to get out of the strong winds). When we got sick of hiding from the wind we went out only to be greeted by a front as we reached the point of no return. The horizon to the North darkened until it was black and the sea was a sickly yellow green from the last bits of sun still coming from the South. We saw bolts of lightening in the distance and Ginny got pretty nervous. When the front hit the wind started coming from behind us, propelling us through the waves which had not yet caught up with the change in wind. The sky was dark all around and the thick raindrops plopped into the waves fast and constant. We became unable to see land and Ginny bailed like crazy just so as to have something to do to avoid becoming too freaked out.
It didn't last too long though and the resulting change in wind allowed us to speed to Flamingo where we we rewarded with an excellent anchorage right on the Coastal Prairie trail that leads between Flamingo and Clubhouse beach.
After a couple days there we sailed across Florida Bay with the intent of landing near to where Steve landed on his arrival back in the US after his three year voyage. To do this we had to defy the advice of wiser people and cut right through the middle of the bay, navigating tons of shoals and hard to find channels with the aid of a 25 year old chart. No regrets. It was beautiful! The water became clear and Steve even saw a sea turtle.
So here we are in Key Largo today with our boat anchored by a park in Islamorada. We are reprovisioning and planning on spending a week re-fixing all the things we already fixed that came apart due to faulty epoxy! Always with the boat work. Maybe we'll even find some time to swim!
There are about 35 more pictures in our "Current Photo Album"