Cruising Alizée

Geo-tracking the sailing adventures of James and Penelope on s/v Alizée

29 March 2011 | Cortez, FL on ICW just below Tampa Bay
25 March 2011 | Punta Gorda, FL
22 March 2011 | San Carlos Bay, Ft. Myers Beach
18 March 2011 | Key West, FL
14 March 2011 | Marathon, Vaca Key, FL
12 March 2011 | Rodriguez Key next to Key Largo
10 March 2011 | Biscayne Bay, Florida
08 March 2011 | 26 50.770'N
01 June 2010 | Anchorage inside Ponce Inlet, FL
05 May 2010 | Green Turtle Cay
03 May 2010 | Great Guana Cay
27 April 2010 | Marsh Harbour, Bahamas
26 April 2010 | Little Harbour, bottom of the Sea of Abaco
23 April 2010 | Harbour Island (Briland), Bahamas
17 April 2010 | top of Eleuthera, Bahamas
10 April 2010 | Governors Harbour, Eleuthera
05 April 2010 | Rock Sound Harbor, Eleuthera
22 March 2010 | Long Island, The Bahamas
12 March 2010 | Elizabeth Harbour
06 March 2010 | Marina at Emerald Bay

Penultimate day of our cruise...

29 March 2011 | Cortez, FL on ICW just below Tampa Bay
Sunny, hot and expecting thunderstorms
We spent two nights at the Crows Nest Marina in Venice, FL, mostly waiting out serious thunderstorms. Today we moved up a day closer to St. Pete, and tomorrow we will go to our new marina. More later on our blog, Alizee.

Sailing in Charlotte Harbor...

25 March 2011 | Punta Gorda, FL
Sunny, clear, nice sea breeze
We entered Charlotte Harbor two days ago, anchored neared the entrance from the Gulf for the first night, then went to the Burnt Store Marina and took a slip for a night and showered, did laundry, had a very good restaurant dinner and very bad entertainment (local karoke). Today had a nice sail up Charlotte Harbor (in three tacks), and are now anchored off Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda. Tomorrow we go back down the harbor (I'd call it a good size bay), and continue on to St. Pete. But, now it's cocktail hour, and then Pen is whipping up a fresh shrimp dinner!

Key West to the west coast ...

22 March 2011 | San Carlos Bay, Ft. Myers Beach
Sunny and clear
... of Florida, that is.

We escaped "spring break" weekend in Key West and started our crossing to Florida's west coast at 1400 on Sunday. Although the winds were NE, which precluded doing a quicker crossing to Marco Island, we had a good sail for eight hours toward Ft. Myers. Then the wind shifted to NNE and we rolled in the Genoa to motor sail with the staysail and main.

All went well and we enjoyed the almost full-moon night, Pen witnessing the "OMG" moon rising at around 2130. The next morning, while I was on watch and Pen catching needed sleep, the wind shifted back again, and I started rolling out the Genoa. Crash!! The pin at the foot of the forestay (on to which the Genoa is rolled up) broke loose and the whole roller furler apparatus flew out over the port side.

It was an adventure getting it all under control, taking down the sails and tying the roller furler off at the bow so we could proceed under power to anchor. But we got it done, accompanied by some curious dolphins, and safely anchored in San Carlos Bay. This morning we arranged to take Alizee into a boat yard in Ft. Myers Beach around noon for repairs. Looks like we'll see a bit of Ft. Myers Beach this afternoon and evening.

Three nights on the hook ...

18 March 2011 | Key West, FL
Sunny and clear
We left Marathon on Tuesday 3/15 and dropped the hook at Horseshoes Key where we found ourselves in the midst of the Great White Heron National Wildlife Refuge. We weren't disappointed, and saw a plethora of wildlife - herons, ospreys, hawks, kingfishers and ever present cormorants, to name some.

We enjoyed it so much, we spent a full day at anchor there before moving down to Tarpon Belly Key in the Cudjoe Channel. Lots more people there, fishing and day tripping, but as the sun went down we had the place to ourselves and found even more Great Whites there than at Horseshoes Key. And, we caught two Blue Runners leaving Cudjoe Channel, so have enjoyed very nice sushi for a couple of evenings.

Today we left Cudjoe Channel and motor sailed down to the Key West NW Channel entrance, dodging lobster pots by the hundreds the whole way. Turning down the channel we got a nice 12 knot breeze on the Genoa and with the outgoing tide scooted along at 7 knots. We are staying in the Conch Harbor Marina here rather than anchor out, which will let us easily experience the night life of Key West. Expensive, but we want to see the old town at our leisure.

Sunday night or Monday we'll head to somewhere on the west coast of Florida.

We haven't been loading up photos, because we try to use our aircard judiciously, so we'll put up the photos with more of the cruise on our main blog Alizee after we're finally back on land.

Who really thinks this is cruising?

14 March 2011 | Marathon, Vaca Key, FL
Sunny, light easterly winds
We sailed down to the Black Fin Marina on the Florida Bay side of the Keys from an anchorage on the west side of Long Key (Jewfish Hole). Skinny water the whole way, but a beautiful 4-knot sail with our Genoa under beautiful skies ... Please, tell me, Rob Mundell, where the hell is our spinnaker?

We needed showers and to do some laundry, and since Publix is just a 1/2 mile walk, we wanted to stock up on fresh produce. So the Black Fin suited us for a night. On the walk to Publix we saw several "cruisers" on their little collapsible bicycles carting groceries back to Boot Harbor, and the store itself was filled with boaters.

But really, who really thinks cruising is coming down to the boat RV mooring camp in Boot Harbor (150 plus moorings and another hundred boats anchored or in marinas)? We thought Georgetown in the Exumas was a bit of a summer camp for boaters, but it has nothing on Marathon. We can hardly wait to get out to a quiet anchorage and away from the maddening crowd. But, I suppose the folks in Marathon are like those who sit at the yacht club bar ... don't untie your lines, me hearty, for who knows what danger lies out there!

Great downwind sailing...

12 March 2011 | Rodriguez Key next to Key Largo
10-15 knots wind, sunny with a few light clouds
At anchor north of Rodriguez Key next to Key Largo after a wonderful day's downwind sail on the genoa from Caesar's Creek. I could kill the sail maker who did not get us our new cruising spinnaker as promised. Today was absolutely perfect for it, and we were quite jealous of another cruiser who was flying one.

We took a very long dinghy ride into Lake Largo to hunt up Calypso, a Cuban/Spanish restaurant recommended by our sailing friend Robyn. We first found a Tiki Bar at the Pilot House and ended up eating lunch there. Then we found Calypso, but as expected all the good specialties were only on the dinner menu. Too bad.

Also took a fruitless though healthful mile plus long walk looking for a small grocery. Alas, the Keys are not the Bahamas where small stores are almost everywhere and the supermarket was another four miles round trip, so we returned to the dinghy for the long downwind ride to Alizee empty handed. Next stop we'll try again.
Vessel Name: Alizée
Vessel Make/Model: Cabo Rico 36 (2001) #2
Hailing Port: San Francisco CA
Crew: James Williams & Penelope Mayer
About: Sail out of St. Petersburg, Florida at the moment, sharing our home afloat with our home ashore in Deland, Florida.
Home Page:

Who: James Williams & Penelope Mayer
Port: San Francisco CA