03 February 2010
So as planned, we leave on Tuesday morning on the rising tide to work our way along the complex ICW route to Islamorada. It's only about 20 miles but fraught with narrow passages and very thin water (shallow depths). Tidal range here is quite modest (particularly when compared to the famous 40 Fundy tides) with a range of half a foot to a foot and a half. But, it's important to use these slight tidal ranges as our draft of 5 feet is marginal for transiting this passage.
We carefully wend our way through the sounds and mangrove lined passages and the depth sounder is almost always wailing at me. I have the alarm set at 7 feet and much of the time we are in less than 7 feet. There are at least two places where we show 5 feet and less and one place where we actually were pushing through sand but we make it. I can't say it was not nerve-wracking!
We come into the sound which opens up onto Islamorada and anchor as close to shore as we dare in 8 feet of water. There are a few boats here but is certainly is not crowded. I take the dinghy ashore to reconnoitre and find an interesting restaurant/bar called Loreilie's, a place which apparently welcomes pets.
So once we get the boat settled, Judy, Chopin and I head to shore where Chopin gets some well-deserved shore leave. We take him back to the boat and Judy and I enjoy a fine entertainer who regales us with lots of Jimmy Buffett songs. Judy is delighted when he plays Marvin Gaye's "What's goin' on". It is warm and calm although a front is supposed to come through tonight.
And like clockwork, just past midnight, the winds clocks 180 degrees and the wind pipes up to 20 knots plus. We are well anchored with lots of chain out and we hold well. I am up a few times through the night but we have no problems.