Caprice Cruise

23 May 2017 | EL JOBEAN FLORIDA
22 May 2017 | GULF OF MEXICO
19 May 2017 | SHARK RIVER IN THE EVERGLADES
18 May 2017 | ISLAMORADA, FLORIDA KEYS
17 May 2017 | ISLAMORADA, FLORIDA KEYS
17 May 2017 | USA
15 May 2017 | GUN CAY BAHAMAS
13 May 2017 | BIRD CAY, BERRY ISLANDS BAHAMAS
12 May 2017 | FRAZER'S HOG CAY BAHAMAS
11 May 2017 | NASSAU BAHAMAS
10 May 2017 | HIGHBOURNE CAY BAHAMAS
09 May 2017 | CAMBRIDGE CAY EXUMA BAHAMAS
08 May 2017 | GREAT GUANA CAY --THE CAVE AT OVEN ROCK
07 May 2017 | RUDDER CAY EXUMA BAHAMAS
06 May 2017 | KIDD COVE GEORGETOWN HARBOR
05 May 2017 | GEORGETOWN EXUMA BAHAMAS
04 May 2017 | GEORGETOWN EXUMA BAHAMAS
03 May 2017 | GEORGETOWN EXUMA BAHAMAS
02 May 2017 | GEORGETOWN EXUMA BAHAMAS
01 May 2017 | RED SHANKS ANCHORAGE NEAR GEORGETOWN

HAVE YOU HEARD THE ONE ABOUT THE TWO SAILBOATS?

23 May 2017 | EL JOBEAN FLORIDA
KRIS/ BALMY
A sailboat sails into an anchorage, drops her anchor and settles into place.
A few minutes later another sailboat pulls up right next to her.
The bigger boat strikes up a conversation.
Wyvern: Is this spot taken?
Caprice: Well I guess not. But don't get too close, if the wind switches around you might be on top of my anchor!
Wyvern: Very Interesting.....
Caprice: Don't get any ideas!
Wyvern: What is this place?
Caprice: St James City. Right off the south end of Pine Island.
Wyvern: Do you come here often?
Caprice: Once or twice a year. Wait a minute, have you been following me?
Wyvern: No, just going my way.
Caprice: I've seen you before. You're always right behind me, then when I look back, you quick veer off like you are trying to catch the wind.
Wyvern: Guilty as charged. I save a lot of fuel that way.
Caprice: Sure Big Boy, but I believe in a more direct route. A little diesel power for me. I just want to get here and get hooked up by cocktail hour.
Wyvern: Hooked up?? Even more interesting.
Caprice: That means anchored! Don't get any ideas. Just 'cause you have a fancy jib and longer waterline doesn't make you so hot.
Wyvern: So you think I'm hot. Wanna hang out?
Caprice: I gotta stay here for the night. Look at that sky, kind of threatening.
Wyvern: Don't worry little lady, That thunder storm won't amount to much. If you get bounced around during the night just give me a holler. I monitor Channel 68. I'll be watching out for you.
Caprice: I guess you are kind of cute in a swashbuckling sort of way. Where are you headed next?
Wyvern: A great little place called El Jobean Florida. The water is calm, the wind is favorable, and I have a nice dock to snuggle up to. And best of all, Shore Power!
Caprice: Shore Power!! Sounds like a place I could spend the summer. Is there room for one more?
Wyvern: Sure is. I know where there's another great little dock just right for you. Come on along. I know a few shortcuts and I'll guide you through the shallow spots.
Caprice: I'm with you.
Both: This could be the start of a beautiful friendship.

SAILING THE GULF OF MEXICO

22 May 2017 | GULF OF MEXICO
KRIS / WINDY FROM THE WRONG DIRECTION
MAY 20 2017
SHARK RIVER TO MARCO ISLAND
Smokehouse Bay is a great place to spend a quiet night. It has plenty of room for about 10 boats and is well protected from wind and seas. The million dollar homes on the way in make us feel like we don’t belong, but for a night we are comfy.
It was a long day and not my favorite point of sail. The weather was fine but wind was a tailwind and is our least efficient point of sail. We wallowed for 10 hours with the diesel running at a low RPM to give us the boost we needed to keep up 5 knots. We tried altering course and shutting down the motor, but our speed dropped below 5 knots. If we go any slower on a trip this long we may arrive and have to maneuver after dark. Also my stomach told me not to extend the trip just to save 5 gallons of fuel.
We had a quiet evening and I hope a peaceful night. This morning we are suffering from post traumatic Shark River mosquito syndrome. We both woke up this morning at around 3am when our boat was shrouded in a cloud of mosquitos. If they would just shut up and not whine I might have slept until daylight. We had tried to close up the night before but there are a few leaks. Our screens are old and leaky, and most of the hatches that provide airflow on a hot night don’t have screens. An improvement we will have to fix in the future.
After swatting about 200 mosquitos that had taken residence on our white ceiling, we tucked rags in the cracks and turned on the generator and the A/C so we could finish the night’s sleep. When I went out to turn on the gas in the morning, the clouds of mosquitos attacked and I my arms and legs were covered before I could duck back into the boat. It reminded me of the north woods of Wisconsin with smaller mosquitos. Every inch of our deck and dinghy, and all of our see through hatches were covered with mosquitos lying in wait. (They do finally go to sleep). I think we chased mosquitos out of the boat today for about the first 20 or 30 miles of the trip.
May 21, 2017
ST JAMES CITY
We had a great sail. Forecasts are for sissies and the wind switched around nicely to a west wind giving us a pleasant beam reach for the last few hours of our sail. These last few days have been a challenge in sailing downwind, so it was nice to have nearly flat seas and a breeze you could use. Unfortunately there was not quite enough of it so we again helped by running the motor at a low RPM. It is such a small engine that it doesn’t use much fuel, but shortens up the trip by a few hours it is worth it. Our tank holds 90 gallons and it never goes below half.
Tonight we will celebrate our last day at sea with Phyllis and Charlie at the Waterfront Bar at St James City. This has been an amazing trip, full of ups and downs, but we are fortunate that we have been able to go to places that very few people are able to see.

LONG KEY TO SHARK RIVER

19 May 2017 | SHARK RIVER IN THE EVERGLADES
KRIS/ BALMY AND BREEZY

Shark River is one of the few places where the internet or cell service cannot touch us. Fortunately we can get VHF radio communication and SSB radio for emergency information. There is no emergency. After a 7 hour sail it is good to be in quiet flat water with light winds.
After spending the early evening watching rainstorms pop up and dissipate on the radar, we fell into a comfortable complacent sleep. This was interrupted with a loud whoosh of wind just after midnight which signaled a gusty squall. It didn’t last long, just enough for me to be wide awake for several hours. I finally fell back to sleep when the anchor alarm went off. This could indicate that the anchor is dragging or that we just set it so that the boat swinging set it off. Fortunately the boat was just swinging in the wind and once again I fell back into a fitful sleep. I was a bit cranky this morning until I had my coffee.
Today’s sail was a mixed (wind) bag of sailing conditions. We were able to shut off the motor and sail for several hours which was a delight. Sometimes a downwind sail can be a trial when the sail cannot figure which side to stay on and wants to switch sides with a Ka-whomp. This is called a Gibe and is a common mistake with rookie sailors, usually knocking an unwilling passenger on the head or into the water. We experienced sailors should not allow this to happen, or at least use our skill and lines to make a gentler whomp. The wind and waves do take on a mind of their own and we try to outsmart nature. HA! Jack rigged up a preventer, which is a rope with pulleys, one end attached to the back end of the boom and the other to a fitting on the deck to keep it on the side chosen by the captain. He did this with the main sail (the one in the middle) and the mizzen (the one in the back). He put one sail sticking out on either side of the boat, a sail formation called wing and wing. It looks a bit awkward but we got great performance on a long downwind leg. We added the Jib when when the wind switched a few degrees in a more favorable direction and added a knot to our speed. In a long sail every knot of speed counts (or discounts). Wyvern won the race today but figuring our handicap it was really a tie.
Phyllis invited us over for a dinner of Spanish Mackerel, the bounty of their fishing activities on the trip back from Nassau to Gun Cay. We don’t bother to fish so it is a nice treat.
Since I don’t have any internet or cell service, by the time you read this we will be nearly home, safe and sound, but for tonight peace and tranquility, unless it rains!!!!

ONE MORE DAY AT ISLAMORADA

18 May 2017 | ISLAMORADA, FLORIDA KEYS
KRIS/ WEATHER UNSETTLED

The winds were predicted to be over 20 knots today, not comfortable for sailing most of the time. Since we are now in the US and have no immediate deadlines, the crews of Wyvern and Caprice decided to enjoy some furlough time on land. Cooks day off, we had lunch at Lorelai’s. We use their dinghy dock and they provide free water, so we try to throw some business their way.
Charlie found information on a nice Keys History Museum a short walk from the dinghy dock and suggested we see it. The museum has only been open a few years and has a selection of static and interactive displays laid out in a historical sequence. It begins with the history of native Florida Keys Indians, then early European settlements and trade routes. That leads to the wrecking business taking advantage of all the unmarked reefs providing wealth from shipwrecks destined for Europe and the States. It also covers the building of the Florida East Coast Railroad from Miami to Key West, Henry Flagler’s dream and some say folly, presented with static displays and a movie. A nice place to cool off on a hot day. It was $12.00 admission, $10.00 for Seniors and less if you stay at the Inn.
Following our attempt at some culture and a pleasant lunch we decided that we would make a short sail after all. We sailed for about two hours on the shallow Florida Bay to the inside of Long Key near what is known as Fiesta Key or Jewfish Hole. We anchored here last year and got caught in a vicious thunderstorm. None were predicted this year, just scattered showers, but one never knows until the night passes. We have a radar overlay on our GPS which showed some showers nearby but didn’t look too threatening. As the evening passed they seemed to dissipate and treated us to a faint rainbow without having to sit in the rain.

EASY DAY

17 May 2017 | ISLAMORADA, FLORIDA KEYS
KRIS/BREEZY AND WARM

After over 13 hours of sailing yesterday, today’s trip was a breeze, literally a breeze of 15 to 20 knots gusting to 27 at times. The inside of the Keys is called the Florida Bay and the route southward towards Key West is shallow but well marked. It meanders through mangroves streams and across wide expanses of shallow water home to fish, dolphins, crabs and a multitude of shallow water sea life. Much of it is less than 7 feet deep so we have to pay attention but the waters are flat so it’s a comfortable boat trip.
We motored until about 3 pm enjoying the beautiful sunny day when we anchored just off Islamorada on Upper Matecumbe Key. By 4 pm we were seated at the bar at Lorelais enjoying a happy hour beverage and some conch fritters. Charlie and Phyllis joined us a few minutes later and we enjoyed an early dinner. I ordered the Seafood Tacos made with grilled Mahi and they were delicious. It was a generous portion of 3 tacos with sides of salsa, sour cream and guacamole. Phyllis and Charlie split a Philly cheese steak which she said was very good also. Jack had the Mahi fish sandwich which he pronounced OK. He didn’t think it was fresh Mahi, but more likely a frozen filet. Two out of three isn’t bad. The conch fritters passed the yummy test and the service was friendly with only a short wait for our appetizers and entrees. I would recommend Lorelai’s to anyone driving or boating through the Keys.
We wore off our meal with a walk to a local convenience store. It was well stocked but with convenience store prices. After all we are in the Keys. Its’ vacation money. When it runs out you go home.
We plan to stay here until the winds settle a bit. We’re thinking todays trip was OK for protected waters of Florida Bay near shore, but these winds may be a bit uncomfortable out in open water. We’ve had enough of that for this trip.

BACK TO THE USA

17 May 2017 | USA
KRIS/ BALMY AND BREEZY

I woke around 5:20, before the alarm went off, poked Jack and he started the engine so we could have electric drip coffee. Usually I perk it on the gas stove which is about a 20 minute process. We were ready to go, anchor up and sails up, at 6 am just as a rosy dawn was appearing in the east. By 6:15, Wyvern and Caprice crossed through the Gun Cay cut to enter the Straits of Florida and the Gulf Stream between the US and Bahamas. The day started as a nice motor sail. The Gulf Stream surges northward with 2-3 knots of current and we are traveling southwest, so we have to sail south of our course line and let the stream push us back to our destination. It sounds easy but makes about a 50 mile trip a day long struggle against that current. On the way to the Bahamas it is easy, the current is with you. We did all right most of the day. We did not see any other small sail or power boats, but did have to dodge several freighters making their way across our path. We both have AIS receivers on our GPS which tells us what kind of boat is approaching, how fast it’s moving and when we will have a collision. Wyvern’s antenna picks them up sooner so Charlie often gives us a heads up before we get the alert. Our sailboats are much smaller than the freighters so it is up to us to maneuver to avoid the collision.
The next few days are predicted to be quite windy so we knew we had to leave today or wait a week for more settled weather to cross back to the US. As predicted the winds picked up during the day. It was not anything we couldn’t handle, but late in the day things got a bit tiresome and Charlie noticed yet another freighter crossing our paths. Avoiding the freighter combined with 4-6 foot waves, and a tailwind which causes the boat to roll, and the Gulf Stream at its strongest point made for a bit of a messy ending to our crossing. Both boats managed to get through it, but by the time we were finally out of the Gulf Stream and through the reef on the east coast of the Keys we were pooped. We headed inland, the shallower waters still stirred up and meandered through Angel Fish Creek just north of Key Largo to a quiet anchorage near a little island called Pumpkin Key. Now that we are back in Florida, Cays become Keys but are pronounced the same.
The winds are brisk tonight but we are securely anchored and will sleep well I hope. It is good to be back stateside and will cruise or wander up the Florida Keys for the next few days. Depending on how strong the wind is we may sail or relax. Both Wyvern and Caprice crews deserve a break.
Vessel Name: Caprice
Vessel Make/Model: Irwin 37 Ketch
Hailing Port: El Jobean Florida
Crew: Jack and Kris Hinterberg
About:
We retired to Florida in 2005 and learned to sail the peaceful waters of Charlotte Harbor on our Compac 25. In 2007 we upgraded to our 37 Irwin Ketch and decided to prepare for a Bahamas trip. In February 2012 we departed for our first Bahamas trip. [...]
Extra: We took our second and third Bahamas Cruise in the winter of 2013 and 2014 revisiting some of the places we loved and visiting new ports. 2015 is a Florida Coastal and Keys Cruise.
Social:
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Caprice's Photos -

S/V Caprice

Who: Jack and Kris Hinterberg
Port: El Jobean Florida