Flipper and Dinner
Safely Anchored

We Couldna Gone to Isla Mujeres

Sailing is about patience and, as Keith from S/V Kookaburra says, "Plans written in sand." In fact, the Kooks are a case in point. They left us in the San Blas weeks and weeks ago only to sit and for weather windows in Columbia, and around the corner somewhere before Bonaire. On Friday, they finally left the ABC's for Virgin Islands. Plans written in sand.

We thought we'd not get a safe window to leave the San Blas before November 10. Instead, we here we are November 11, smack between Cuba and Mexico and heading north. With the now named Kate Tropical Storm or Hurricane (safe passage for those heading to the Eastern Caribbean, please) we will have increased NE winds in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly the area in which we must travel to reach Key West. AS of the 10th, Chris Parker thought the increased winds won't arrive before Saturday, giving us three days to anchor in a safe harbor. None of us thought we'd arrive in Key West in time, but Chris Parker offered a new destination: the Dry Tortugas.

OK. We can get behind that. Sure, we look forward to visiting Isla Mujeres,(EW hears there's lots of music there.) (And Margueritas.) but going there now isn't our goal. Our goal is to be in Fernandia for Thanksgiving and St. Augustine on December 1. (Even those dates are written in sand, but we used a sharper stick.) So we looked at the chart and at Chris Parker's suggestions, and are now making our way north and a bit east, looking for that 3 knot current he promised. The plan is to reach 24 North, at a point east of 86 on Thursday morning and then turn east to the Dry Tortugas, anchoring there before dark on Friday.

Yesterday, we left a wake sailing towards our goal at 6 knots and more. Woowee! OK it was a little wake. Overnight. Not so much. I hand steered in light winds from 0100 to 0400 and finally woke EW and asked him to help me furl the jib. Pinetop is chugging along as we head for that current and hope we find wind. We have two fall back positions:
1. If we don't reach our northern mark in time, we could continue to sail north for a day or so, then head south east to Key West, arriving after the strongest winds. I've marked the back or northern channel. Chris Parker suggested that option. 2. We beat feet back to Isla Mujeres. None of us like this and will only turn tail if we have bad weather. I think Chris is concerned that the northern winds may build and stay and who knows how long we'd be stuck in Mexico?

We have two different electronic charts of the Keys and the Dry Tortugas and the chart pack for Florida. If we need more information, we can get it from the SSCA morning net. This new service for all cruisers they use directional signals like Chris Parker does so that most boats in the Eastern Caribbean, Western Caribbean, and Bahamas can check in. Since it is a new service, not many are using it yet, and I've taken advantage of that. This morning when I check in, Scott will have information for me about entering Isla Mujeres (what a difference a day makes). I will thank him and see what he knows about Key West. Finally, I'll ask him to give great big hugs to Lynn and Steve Kaufmann, Carl and Carrie Butler, and anyone else we know at the SSCA Gam this weekend.

Some may consider writing your plans in sand to be a negative thing. Over the past five years the serendipities have allowed us to meet and become friends of many wonderful people.

And this writing in sand may have taught me just a small hourglass full of patience.

A bit.

Maybe.

If you have SSB radio, tune in to then new SSCA Net at 7:45 at 8104. I think that's Daylight Savings Time. I know we tune in at 6:45 here in the Western Caribbean, where they don't worry about that silly hour of daylight.

As of 0612 on November 11 --OH Happy Veterans' Day. And Thank you all! Big hugs to Howie and his boys.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah. We are here: 20 degrees 47 minutes North and 85 degrees 35 minutes West.

Addendum: So it's 10:10 and we've talked with Chris. Looks like he picked THE window for this trip. Things are messy in the southwest Caribbean and will get messy up here next week. We started sailing again at 7:00, and are now motor sailing to allow us to increase our speed to 6 knots. We need to be at 23 30 North, as far East as possible on Thursday and will then motor sail in the gulf stream (bouncy) to the Dry Tortugas, with the plan to arrive there in the afternoon on Friday. Depending on what happens with weather in the Atlantic, we may be there for a few days or a week. We have enough food and wine, may get low on beer, and may have to conserve water. All is good. (Well, except for the beer part.)

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