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Can't Really Trust the Weather Forecast

I am home in Cleveland and just realized I never posted this - sorry for the delay.

Manatee love at Boot Key Harbor (BKH)

Although we love BKH, the thought of leaving for a few days and having a chance to snorkel was very inviting. So, we planned a trip to New Found Harbor and snorkeling at Looe Key. The forecast was for clear skies and light winds Sunday and Monday so it sounded ideal. In fact the forecast was so good, a few friends were taking the opportunity to head off to the Bahamas.

We left Sunday around 10:00 am under partly cloudy skies. The winds were between 10-15 knots from the south – south east which made for a very comfortable beam reach. We let out the genniker and had the full main flying. We were accompanied by two Manta catamarans, (40 and 42 feet long) who, after a while, left us trailing behind. But, we had a glorious sail almost the entire way! Right outside of Newfound Harbor the sky off to our port (left) was getting black and the wind started to pick up. Right as we dropped the sails it started raining in sheets. We slowed down so as to not enter the anchorage with compromised visibility. Rain was certainly not in the forecast. As quickly as it started, the rain stopped and we motored into the harbor.

Newfound Harbor is very protected and although a bit shallow we found a good anchorage spot. Bob was a little concerned because on the chart it showed we were close to a shallow area that was only five feet deep. We came in at near high tide and had 7 feet showing on the depth sounder. Since there was a predicted wind shift from the north that would swing us in the deeper water we decided to stick and stay – which turned out to be a good decision.

After everyone got settled we met on SCOUT (Manta 40) for drinks and then dinghied into shore to Boondocks Grill for drinks and dinner. Small world story – the former mayor of Marathon who we had heard play guitar and sing multiple times was the entertainment at Boondocks. Bill and Michael had come on board SCOUT with Beth and Stan (they did not want to take their own boat and possibly lose their anchorage spot at BKH) and new friends Jennifer and Royce (Manta 42) joined us as well.

We had a lovely dinner and some chit chat with our waiter, Thomas a local high school graduate. As we arrived back at the boat after dinner it started raining again. I love sleeping and listening to the sound of the rain on the cabin top – but this was not what we were expecting at all.

The next morning we all agreed that the winds were too high to provide a decent snorkeling experience so after breakfast we headed back to BKH. Again we started off with a great sail with the wind on our beam. About midway, black clouds gathered on out starboard side and the wind shifted directly on the nose. The sails came down and we motored the rest of the way back. We sailed more close to shore on the return trip and the crab traps were not quite as plentiful – still we had to keep a constant watch.

About four miles out, Royce came on the radio to say that they had picked up a crab trap – something we know all too well. They stopped and seemed to have been able to leave the trap behind but they decided to anchor and have a dip in the water to check out the bottom side to make sure nothing was still attached prior to coming back into the harbor.

All ended well. A nice trip out, even though we didn’t get to snorkel. Sometimes you have to take what you can get.

It’s Tuesday, and the weather continues to dominate life aboard.

More to come…..

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