Wyvern's Wanderings

Vessel Name: Wyvern
Vessel Make/Model: 1977 Irwin Ketch
Hailing Port: El Jobean, Florida
Crew: Charlie and Phyllis Atha
About: After living aboard our 42' Irwin for almost 10 years, we sold her and bought a home in El Jobean, Florida. Bought a storm damaged 1996 Hunter 45 and have been working on it for the past 3 years. THEN we sold the Hunter and purchased the Irwin back. Feels like home!
Extra: Both Charlie and Phyllis are USCG licensed captains and ASA sailing instructors.
Social:
22 May 2017 | Home, El Jobean, Florida
21 May 2017 | St. James City, Florida
20 May 2017 | Smokehouse Bay, Marco Island, Florida
19 May 2017 | Little Shark River, Everglades National Park, Florida
18 May 2017 | Jewfish Hole, Long Key, Florida Keys
16 May 2017 | Key Largo, Florida
15 May 2017 | Gun Cay, Bahamas
14 May 2017 | 35 nm southeast of Bimini on the Great Bahama Banks
13 May 2017 | Frazier Hog Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas
11 May 2017 | Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas
10 May 2017 | Highbourne Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
09 May 2017 | Cambridge Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
08 May 2017 | Oven Rock, Great Guana Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
07 May 2017 | Rudder Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
06 May 2017 | Kidd Cove, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas
05 May 2017 | Kidd Cove, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas
04 May 2017 | Kidd Cove, Georgetown, Great Exuma Island, Bahamas
Recent Blog Posts
22 May 2017 | Home, El Jobean, Florida

Home Again

May 22, 2017 9:00 pm

21 May 2017 | St. James City, Florida

Pretty Caprice

May 21, 2017 10:00 pm

20 May 2017 | Smokehouse Bay, Marco Island, Florida

Down Wind Sailing

May 20, 2017 9:00 pm

19 May 2017 | Little Shark River, Everglades National Park, Florida

Sailing

May 19, 2017 9:00 pm Little Shark River, Everglades National Park, Florida]

18 May 2017 | Jewfish Hole, Long Key, Florida Keys

Wyvern's Marilyn Monroe Impression

May 18, 2017 9:00 pm

16 May 2017 | Key Largo, Florida

Back in the good ole USA

May 16, 2017, 9:00 pm

Home Again

22 May 2017 | Home, El Jobean, Florida
partly cloudy, warm and a mild breeze
May 22, 2017 9:00 pm
El Jobean, Florida

The Wyvern is home. We motorsailed from St. James City at 7:00 this morning. The wind was from a usable direction, just not enough velocity to keep us moving at a decent speed. Our timing was perfect. We were able to take the shallow shortcut between Useppa Island and Pine Island, because we hit the shallows just before high tide. Enough water to get through, but still on a rising tide if we accidentally ran aground. The water still had a bit more to rise so we could get off. Once in the Myakka River, we rolled in the jib and took down the main. A couple of our neighbors came out in a pontoon boat to welcome Caprice and Wyvern home. We have such great neighbors and friends. Wyvern snuggled up to her home dock right at 3:00 this afternoon. On the way, Charlie unhooked his truck batteries that we had brought onboard. They go dead if we leave them in the truck for 3 months, and that can’t be good for them, so we take them out of the truck and put them in the boat to use as starting batteries. When we arrived, that was Charlie’s first job was to put the batteries back in the truck. He found a rat’s nest right on the top of the engine. He had to clean that up first. But, the old truck started without a problem. I packed up half a dozen big shopping bags with food and especially stuff we will need this evening or in the morning. Coffee, tea, toothbrushes, refrigerator and freezer food, clothes, and some canned goods. Charlie helped me carry those bags in and I put most of that stuff away. Still have lots to unload. At 5:00 Jack and Kris came over and we were debriefed by Skip and Kim Negley and Joe Bodie, who also came by to welcome us home. Being home has its rewards; Air conditioning, big screen TV with cable, a bathtub with all the water I want to use, unlimited power and wifi. But, we also have errands to run, chores to do around the house, and a list of maintenance items to do on the boat. So, there won’t be too much vegging on the conch in the air conditioning watching TV. This is good-bye for this season. Everyone have a wonderful summer!

Pretty Caprice

21 May 2017 | St. James City, Florida
Sunny, warm and windy, evening thunderstorms
May 21, 2017 10:00 pm
St. James City, Pine Island, Charlotte Harbor, Florida

Our buddy boat, Caprice, sailing home. Our next to the last day of this season’s Bahamas trip, we had a nice sail from Marco Island. The wind started out as easterly and then southeasterly. Both sailable. We had the engine off and sailed at 4 to 5 kts enjoying the flat seas and favorable winds. Then as the heat built up on land, the sea breeze negated the easterly winds and the sails were just hanging. We started the engine and motored for about an hour before the sea breeze became strong enough to overcome the easterlies and we had a west wind for the rest of the trip. Our two boats were the prettiest girls out there. With all our sails full of air. We even had our picture taken by tourists as we entered San Carlos Pass and Charlotte Harbor. For those who don’t know, a sea breeze is caused when the land heats up, heating the air above it and sending it upward. This causes a vaccuum that pulls the cooler air in off the sea. We enjoyed our sea breeze sail this afternoon. We dropped the anchor about 4:00 this afternoon. Doing the 37 nm or so in 9 hours. After straightening up the boat and doing the day’s dishes, we showered and dressed to go into the Waterfront Restaurant. Charlie and I dinghied over and picked up Jack and Kris. It was our turn to be taxi. We had a good meal and enjoyed our last night together on the trip. We have another 38 nm to get home tomorrow. We are all sort of anxious to get home. Even though we already have a list of chores to get done when we get there. Charlie spent the evening watching TV and playing solitaire on the computer. I started a new book and read in the cockpit with my book light. I watched as the afternoon thundershowers work their way west toward the shore and us as the sea breeze decreased and let the easterlies come back in. Just after Charlie went to bed, just before 10:00, the thunderstorm hit. Wind came up suddenly and the rain. Nice to get the boat rinsed off. I’m watching the GPS and Drag Queen on my phone and other than swinging from the east side of the anchor to the west, we really haven’t moved at all. Holding in this anchorage has always been good. No reason we should drag, but no harm in watching. It is so dark, I can’t get a range bearing and no lights line up on land. But, the electronics tell me we are okay. Plans are to leave at 7:00 again in the morning. May work out well, as we may be able to ride the tide in up the bay and the sea breeze may come up again and push us home.

Down Wind Sailing

20 May 2017 | Smokehouse Bay, Marco Island, Florida
Windy, sunny and very warm
May 20, 2017 9:00 pm
Smokehouse Bay, Marco Island, Florida

Up early, raised the anchor and put the main and jib up. Heading to Marco Island. Here we go again. The wind speed was fine, but directly on our stern. Not a great point for the wind to hit the boat. Jack was talking the other day that there is 360 degrees from which the wind can blow. Why is it that we are always trying to sail into the wind, or directly downwind? Sails are designed to work like a planes wings. An airfoil. Winds from the side are best. Then we can adjust the boom to hold the sail in the most advantageous position in relation to that wind. If the wind is too close to the bow of the boat or off the stern, we cannot adjust the boom so the wind will catch the sails correctly. On a downwind sail, we have to put the boom out all the way. Basically perpendicular to the boat. Then the wind pushes on the sail, rather than using it as an airfoil. If you try to put up more than one sail, they block the wind from each other. Especially bad for the jib, since it doesn’t have a boom to hold it out and it collapses and pops constantly. Our remedy was to go off course a bit, so the wind is just off the stern quarter of the boat. Allowing the wind to hit all the sails and allowing us to adjust the boom. Only problem is that you eventually have to get back on course. That means you have to tack or jibe, changing the sails from one side to the other. Tacking is when you turn the boat all the way around into the wind. But, you have to have plenty of wind and speed to get the boat to turn without turning on the engine for a bit of help with the momentum. Jibing is just changing with the wind still on the stern. That causes the sails to swing violently from one side to the other. We try to control it some by cranking in the mainsheet so it doesn’t swing as far. Anyway, besides the tacking and jibing and trying to stay on course, we had a good sail. We sailed without the engine for most of the nearly 60 miles. We motored into Smokehouse Bay through canals lined by multi-million dollar homes and condos. A lot different view than the uninhabited islands of the Bahamas. We are back in civilization. We had grilled shrimp, garlic noodles and cooked carrots for dinner as the sun set. Charlie was able to find a couple of TV stations. Only one network, CBS.

Sailing

19 May 2017 | Little Shark River, Everglades National Park, Florida
Phyllis Atha
May 19, 2017 9:00 pm Little Shark River, Everglades National Park, Florida]

We did have a nice sail today. This morning the wind was only blowing about 15 kts, but built during the day. The first third of the 37 miles or so we had to wind around and through channel markers to stay in the deeper water. The deeper water was maybe 10 feet. We did have the jib out and the mizzen up and we had to jibe a couple of times since the wind was directly behind us. The second third of the trip was wonderful. We were able to turn enough to get the wind off to the side. We put up the main and sailed comfortably at 5.5 to 6 kts. The last third of the trip the wind built up to easily 25 kts and gusty. We hit over 8 kts and felt that was a bit to much pressure for the old boat. So, we brought in part of the jib. Later we took down the mizzen. We sailed into the Little Shark River still at an easy 6 kts with just the main. An hour earlier than we thought we would arrive. I fried the Spanish Mackeral for dinner and Kris brought over potato salad. We had a nice dinner. The Little Shark is an excellent protected anchorage. The only problem is the big green biting flies during the day and the mosquitoes at night. We were lucky to not have too many flies during dinner. I did spray with repellant because I was bit twice while cooking. We also sprayed repellent under the table. Charlie and I were able to sit in the cockpit and enjoy the evening until dusk came. Today was pretty hot and humid. Glad we had the wind. But, we put the screens on the hatches and I closed the panels on the cockpit. That shut down most of the breeze. I tried to sit in the cockpit a while longer, but even with the repellant and the enclosure up, the mosquitoes found me. We are now sitting in the salon with a small fan on each of us. Glad we have the screens and the fans. Plan is to head off for Marco Island at 7:00 in the morning. From here to Marco where we anchor is about 60 miles. A long day. Three more days and we should be home in El Jobean.

Wyvern's Marilyn Monroe Impression

18 May 2017 | Jewfish Hole, Long Key, Florida Keys
Windy, warm and partly cloudy
May 18, 2017 9:00 pm
Long Key, Florida Keys

Sorry about being lazy last night. We motored from Key Largo to Lorelei’s in Islamorada. Wind was up a bit, but going down the inside, it is hard to sail because the channel winds around and you would have to continuously change the sails. Lazy again. But, the waters in Florida Bay are pretty calm, especially compared to the outside/windward side. Once anchored, we dinghied into Lorelei’s for an early dinner. Then we walked to the grocery store for some milk, butter, bread and such. I got some red plums too! This is not a supermarket, but well more stocked than most Bahamian stores. I even got some Diet Dr. Pepper! The evening was quiet and calm. We got a good night’s sleep and I didn’t get up until after 9:00. Charlie found that there was a Keys History Museum just across the street from Lorelei’s, so we made plans with Jack and Kris to go to the museum, and then have lunch. The museum was okay. Cost $10 each for us to get in. Mostly pictures with stories, and a few artifacts. They did have an informative video. We had lunch at Lorelei’s. We use their dock, so feel somewhat obligated to patronize their establishment. We talked about traveling about 10 miles on up to Long Key to shorten the next day’s journey to the Little Shark. After discussing it and the forecasted weather, we decided to make the 2 hour trip this afternoon. Wyvern did her Marilyn Monroe impersonation with her jib all billowed out on a downwind sail (really with the wind just off the stern, which is better). We anchored in Jewfish Hole, between Fiesta Key and Long Key. The wind is still blowing 25 kts, as it has been all day. Thunderstorms have threatened, but so far they have went around us. We are protected by the islands and a road causeway, so the anchorage is calm. Should be a nice night. Tomorrow, plan is to sail, yes, actually sail, to the Little Shark River in the Everglades. That is about a 37 mile run and the winds are suppose to be easterly, giving us a good point of sail. Always optimistic!

Back in the good ole USA

16 May 2017 | Key Largo, Florida
Partly sunny, warm and breezy
May 16, 2017, 9:00 pm
Key Largo, Florida

A long day, but we are back in the states. We left Gun Cay at 6:00 this morning, just before sunrise. Picture is of the lighthouse on Gun Cay and Caprice following us out of the cut. The wind was a bit light this morning but from a good direction. We dressed the Wyvern in her full complement of sails and motorsailed to keep our speed up. The adverse current hit us fairly quickly. We headed southerly to gain some room for when the heavy Gulf Stream current started pushing us 2 to 3 kts. To the north. The wind picked up gradually during the day and the middle section of the day was comfortable and the increased wind helped our progress. The last section, through the Gulf Stream to the reef off the Keys was bumpy. The seas had built to about 4 to 6 feet with them hitting us on the stern which causes the boat to rock sideways. The winds built to about 20 kts. Not bad from behind, but the waves kept rolling and turning the boat so that the sails would loose wind, then all of a sudden fill with wind again and bang. As long as you sat in one place the ride was okay. When you have to get up to go below to tinkle or go out on the deck to fix a minor problem, the ride was sort of hairy. You stay very cautious. We came through the reef and the seas quieted some. Then we came through Angelfish Creek to the Florida Bay side of the Keys and the seas quieted a bit more. We anchored just inside the north tip of Key Largo. The wind is still blowing, probably 20 kts or more. Howling through the rigging some. The seas are not calm. We have a bit of fetch letting the chop build. The ride isn’t bad though. We will all sleep well tonight. We are back in the Mangrove tea water rather than the pretty turquoise water. Will miss that. But, glad to be back in Florida. Until winter comes, then we will be ready to go again.
Wyvern's Photos - Charlie and Phyllis Atha
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Added 12 December 2010