Friday, May 17, 2013

Leaving Key West.  Again.

One year ago, almost to the day, we left from Key West bound for Panama.  This time we're headed north to Oriental, NC, where we'll pause to haul out and put on some bottom paint before continuing to NH.   Plan is to arrive at our mooring  in Little Harbor before the end of June.

Weather changed our plans in Honduras so we did not explore Cayo Cochinos or Utila as posted last time, but enjoyed French Harbor and the West End of Roatan.  Crews of Laeto Loco and Act III were very impressed with the Bay Islands and spent a lot of time in the water with our snorkel gear.
Lobster Not From Maine

Turtle, Dude
But I had a plane ticket to fly to North Carolina out of Key West and Elle from Laeto Loco  had to begin a crew training course in Fort Lauderdale, so we had to take the best weather window we could find to make the passage to Key West by March 18.  Remember, this is nearly 6 weeks after leaving Panama, so we were rushing.

Both boats did fine for the first 3 days, but after making the NE turn around Cuba, we ran into strong winds on the nose a day earlier than expected which made crossing the Gulf Stream rather  bumpy for Act III.  We lost the use of our genoa when the furling line parted; Bill had to wrestle that huge sail down and secure it along the deck before the stronger winds hit us .  Laeto Loco had a lot of trouble making headway motor-sailing with only one of their engines working.  Their catamaran was pounded hard and they had to spend a night riding to a sea-anchor, but they drifted faster than expected and the next morning found them only 30 miles off the coast of Cuba, having lost all the hard-won distance of the previous day.   They spent another day just holding their position. until the wind died down and allowed them to make for Key West again.  They came into port 3 days behind us with significant boat and body damage;  Elle had  a cracked rib from falling while helping to haul in the sea anchor and the boat was on the hard here in Key West for 7 weeks of repairs.   Fortunately, Laeto Loco had their SSB radio repaired in Honduras so we were able to stay in contact with them through the passage and when things got rough, we talked hourly.  Bill provided with weather and advice (although he worried something fierce about that responsibility), and we offered moral support and promises of Key Lime Pie through the long nights.   We're sorry Laeto Loco got beaten up, but we were not disappointed to spend more time with the Veldman family since they didn't rush off to Bahamas after Elle's class ended in March--they left Key West only last week.  Paul, Laura, Elle, Claire and Adam have become family to us and we miss them.

Aqua Mama
On Wednesday, March 20, I hopped on a plane to North Carolina.  The whole flying experience felt surreal after so many months of barefoot living in bathing suits on quiet islands with few regulations and no credit cards, never traveling faster than 10 knots.  I was greeted by my very beautiful and very pregnant daughter Polly in Asheville, had a divine evening in the spa pools of The Grove Park Inn, then drove an hour north to their home in a BLINDING snowstorm.  Oh Hell--had to wear socks as well as shoes.  On Thursday we caught up and made plans.  On Friday we cancelled plans and instead kept a time log of contractions--oops, they're now called "birthing waves", which Polly rode beautifully with the hypno-birthing techniques she'd been practicing.  With Miles awesome coaching and support, she delivered sweet Baby Ginger only 2.5 hours after arriving at the hospital on Friday evening, with no drugs except Tylenol.  Brilliant timing, as I got to spend the rest of my 3 week visit with my beautiful, strong, clever new granddaughter.

Miles and Ginger Mae Lorien
We have a new buddy-boat for part of our trip up the East Coast:  John and Trish Billings aboard s/v Mariah, from San Diego.  We two couples have much in common:  Trish and I tie up  at  Key West's few convenient dinghy docks to grocery shop or ride their folding bikes to run errands, fetch parts or explore, while Bill and John work aboard and get into discuss physics ("propeller heads" Trish calls them.  There was the day we had a car and the guys dropped Trish and me at the Publix grocery store, only to call us an hour later to say they'd been waiting for us at the other Publix.  True it's confusing to have two Publix on the same highway, but...really?)

Bill has spent 2 consecutive birthdays (May 16) in Key West.  We have seen many amazing places and spent time with even more amazing people, including our children in this one short year.  Lucky LUCKY us.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heidi! Sounds like a rough passage. We're in Nassau after stopping in Jamaica, going through the Windward Passage, and sailing the length of The Bahamas. We're sailing out of here soon and thought about leaving the boat in Oriental, NC. Have you guys been there?
    SV Rocinante