Thursday, December 23, 2010


Lake Worth, FL 26º45.935N | 80º02.601W

Chip and Lake Worth.
We -- and Cara Mia -- have been set free! The long-awaited moment: open water, calm seas, a light, freshening breeze and no engine.

But I get ahead of myself. Yesterday, the winter solstice, was spent cleaning, doing chores and stowing for a sail offshore. The tides, current and distance to Miami added up to make 3 a.m. the best departure time.

I've read so many articles the dreaded "first night watch," so many cruisers afraid of sailing in the dark. Chip and I discussed the strange circumstance that has us making our first ocean sail at night, but found ourselves not only undaunted but stoked.

We chased Jessie Marie out the Lake Worth Inlet at minutes after 3, and made a right turn south toward Miami. That was about the extent of our navigation. Okay, not quite, but still, compared to slogs down the ICW, it was a great joy to set a way, way out there waypoint.

Full moon keeping watch to the west.
Our path was lit by a beautiful moon, recovered from its full eclipse the night before.

Jessie Marie fell back, making a marvelous sight at sunrise.

Cara Mia sailed like a dream. The three of us need to work out some kinks, and this was the beginning.

And the ICW? We're finally free! I could see it passing on the right side of our GPS screen, just inside the shoreline. Every time I saw "bascule bridge" I shouted with joy, tempted to hail the bridges and tell them "I don't need an opening."

Before reaching the inlet at Miami, we attempted once again to get our reefing system working. It jams badly when we pull in the lines from the cockpit. Bad. "Reefing" is how we shorten the mainsail in strong wind so we don't get knocked down. It's a little like downshifting on a downhill drive.

FIX REEFING SYSTEM: Chore number one before we can cross to the Bahamas.

The turn into Government Cut in Miami was action-packed. We ran the gauntlet of this busy port in rush hour traffic. Ferries, cargo ships, super-sized freighters, small power boats, jetskis, sportfishers, motoryachts.

We pulled into Dinner Key at 3:30, our last stop before crossing.

Next on the TO DO LIST: Christmas!

Miami, FL 
Entering Government Cut into Miami.
Cranes. Large ones.
Does this ship look large?
That's the same ship with Jessie Marie in front of it. LARGE.

1 comment:

  1. Yay to going outside! Yay to sailing instead of motoring!