Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dinner Key Marina

Once we were in the calm waters of Biscayne Bay, and the Atlantic Ocean had stopped smacking us around like a life size sailboat version of the Wack-A-Mole game, we went up front to realize we had made a huge rookie mistake. We had not properly secured the lines that we use for our anchor bridle, and we failed to secure those long lines that I spliced for the Med Mooring setup they used in Key West. This was bad because in the raging seas, they were swept overboard, and were dragging through the ocean. This slowed the boat considerably, and even worse, the starboard mooring line was not able to be brought back aboard. It was wrapped around the starboard saildrive. Crap! The drive was still working, going both in forward and reverse, and luckily the rudder was not affected either, so the decision was made to keep on going the last few miles to the slip. We docked without incident, and the line was free the next day. No damage was noted, except the line was a fraid on the end. You bet it was fraid; fraid of the Delta Force! Once docked, Guincha was anxious to find some grass, so we let her off the salt covered boat for the first time in 26 hours! AHHH, relief.

The Delta Force

The Delta Force was an awesome movie from the mid 80's starring Lee Marvin and forever badass Chuck Norris, and was about a highjacking bunch of Palestinian thugs that ran right into the "Not on My Watch, Pal" Delta Force. Things went badly for the highjackers, go figure. If you never saw it, watch it. If you never heard of it, well, quit watching dancing with America or whatever that garbage is, and go watch something good. For us, since we aren't highjackers, or Palestinian thugs, the Delta Force I am referring to is the Delta of change. That is, the word Delta is used in the scientific world to mean change, and so the Delta Force we found ourselves being affected by was the undeniable realization that it was time to get moving. Key West is great, it was nice being there, but a lot has happened to us of late, and we were being called North to Miami for several reasons. When change is inevitable, and it sometimes is for each and every one of us, how this change is met is different for all of us. I know people that are still in their home towns, never left or even felt the need to. Or did they? Maybe they could have, or even should have, but never did for some reason. Call it their comfort zone or whatever, for some reason, some people just don't like change. We are not like that, heck, we never seem to stay in any one spot for very long. It's not that we don't want to settle down, after all we do have a small house that we are rarely at, it is more like we realize what it means to get moving. Whether to get ahead or just get gone, change for us has always been easily accepted and off we go to something new. And often something better. So, with Joyce still on the mend from surgery, and our Bahamas plans pushed back a few more weeks, we decided to move the boat to Miami. I would grab a quick temp job for a few weeks, and Joyce can heal some more, and organize some hired help to finish up a few projects around the boat while I am at work. Sounds simple enough. Miami was only bout a 24 hour sail as I recall, it should be easy enough. The decision was made, and we got lucky and secured a slip at Dinner Key Marina, in Coconut Grove. This is a great spot to jump to the Bahamas from, and we were really lucky to get a slip this time of year. The boat was pretty much ready to go, so we planned to leave mid-day to time our arrival in Miami around the same time the following day. We asked our friend Kevin, on Catchin Rays, if he wanted to come along, and get some sailing time in. He said yes, and even brought his son Brandon along. We even promised not to call him Swab. So our Delta Force was Joyce, Kevin, Brandon and myself. Be fearful Palestinian thugs, we are on the move, and we never take prisoners. Oh, and of course our dog Guincha, which Kevin now wants desperately to adopt. The forecast was for light winds from the North, 10-15 knots. That'll do just fine we thought, and left Key West around 1:00 PM. After motoring out past the reef, and all the lobster traps, up went the sails, and the motors were turned off. Perfect. The boat was moving along nicely, 6 to 7 knots, on a comfortable beam reach as we headed East. This lasted until just after dark, when things started getting windier. And Windier. Like pretty windy, and gusting too. No telling how windy though, the wind instruments still don't work, they are on the list for Miami though. Luckily, Kevin suggested putting in a reef before it got dark, and we did. We sailed on into the night, and Kevin and Brandon got their first time on night watch, with building seas and shifting winds. As we started turning North, following the Keys, we found ourselves heading into the building wind, and waves. The gulfstream joined us on our Northeast trek, and it too was running into these winds, and the waves kept building. We started the engines about midnight, and crashed our way though the night. By morning, we were in the northern Keys, and were still pounding it out into the swells. The boat would slow down to about four knots after hitting a huge swell and burying the nose, then gather itself up, getting up to about 6 knots before the next one started the cycle again. Nothing on the boat broke, but we found some leaks. Actually the first leak found me. I was taking a leak, in the port head, when i was hit on the head by a leak from the overhead port! Man ,that is weird, huh? That sucker was leaking right on my head and so I leaked right on it's head. Payback,I suppose! The wind and waves continued as we approached Miami, with the gulfstream opposing the wind. Not ideal at all, but, look at this way, no one got sick and nothing broke! Finally we turned into the cut into Biscayne Bay, and things calmed down quickly. We sailed through Stiltsville, a defunct collection of stilt homes that were built out in the bay in the sixties or seventies. I remember an episode of Miami Vice where Crocket and Tubbs were racing around these houses. Not looking too good anymore, most appear to be abandoned.