January 15, 2014
We had a wonderful time in Palm Coast but were anxious to get Cadence further south. Northern Florida in the winter is COLD. We left on the 13th after our last and final bon voyage party that Christine and my Dad put together. We can’t thank you guys enough for the fun times and hospitality. We love county club life. Our plan is to exit Fort Pierce bound for Mexico as soon as the weather opens up. Last but not least, to my faithful 3 readers, I promise to keep up on the blog, and never ever will I again write as much as that above paragraph in St. Augustine.
January 20, 2015
We had a somewhat comfortable passage down the coast of Florida. Our trip took just under 48 hours from Fort Pierce to Key West. Leaving Fort Pierce we experienced large standing waves from the outgoing current in the channel that plunged our bow repeatedly and we lost our Port nav light, then our main sheet leech line got jammed and broke.
Bad start but whatever, we are out of the ditch and making way for warmer weather. For the first 18 hours we were hard on the wind tacking back and forth to stay close to shore and out of the Gulf Stream. Once the wind clocked everything became much easier, a brief spell of dead wind south of Miami and then all along the Keys we had a nice quartering wind and little sea as we hugged the reefs going south.
Landfall early on MLK day in the keys. We are going to try and get insurance on Cadence for Cuban waters and if we can will visit Havana for a few days. If not we will go straight on to Mexico. Life is grand.
January 25, 2015
Well, we are still here in the Conch Republic, aka Key West. We did everything possible to gain legal entry into Cuba but in the end were turned down. We obtained insurance through Lloyds of London for 14 days in Cuban waters. We contacted the Coast Guard and filled out all the forms required along with our reasoning for visiting. Literally a full day was used up obtaining all needed. In the end, as all our government bureaucrats were grinding away trying to figure out how to handle El Presidente Obama's new policy toward visiting Cuba, we were turned down by the Department of Commerce. They figured since we were taking our boat there, we were importing her and that violated policy. We can fly there, not sail there. Anyway, we will try again later in the spring. Now, we have been waiting for a weather window to depart so we can cross the gulf stream, twice. The North winds kick up serious wave action and we have to cross this fast moving current twice, once to sail along the coast of Cuba and again to cross to the Yucatan Peninsula. So we wait.
We have been in Key West now for about 10 days. We are waiting for the northerly winds to subside which in the cycle here is about every 5 days normally but the weather wouldn't switch for us. While the north east US experienced a Yankee clipper with substantial snow, here in Key west we experienced 20-25 knots of cool air out of the north. Not ideal for a Gulf Stream crossing. So we enjoyed the Key West festivities but one can only keep this kind of pace for a short while. We NEED to move on, for bodily and mental health.
We did get a few boat projects done. Wind vane, solar project complete, lock for companionway, spectra water maker fix, and a BIG head project. I would have been up to eyeballs in shit, so I called the local pro, the "Head Honcho". He stood up to his name and fixed our forward head. Thanks to Perry, aka Head Honcho, and his side kick Kyle. I could not speak highly enough about these two guys, thank you.
We left Key West 2 days ago. Currently on a 700 mile passage to Belize. First night out we had 20-25 knots and a speedy passage. We use a weather router, Susan Gannett out of Rhode Island. So far her forecast has been spot on. We have been tinkering with our new Hydrovane. So far it's a bit frustrating but this piece of equipment is highly acclaimed by many blue water sailors. So I'm sure it's us and not the unit. We plan to get it figured out though. We have been on a 4 hour watch schedule and this has been working well. It's nice to again be on a passage, we are assimilating into the groove. The water is a deep blue as we are on the outside edge of the Gulf Stream off the western end of Cuba, Belize bound. Weather is perfect.