Day Seven - Marathon to Saddlebunch Harbor
20 April 2021 | Saddlebunch Harbor
Warren Renninger | Overcast
Last night brought rain and thunderstorms but little wind. The morning was gray and windy. I wondered which side of the keys to take to Key West. The southern route would be rough but shorter and had better stopping places. The norther route longer but protected from the SW winds. The route out of Marathon is on the south side so we nosed out into the wind and waves about 8:30.
With just the jib and the motor we were making 5.5 knots so we took the southern route. At times it seemed like a mistake but the winds were forecast to drop off. At times I was looking at swells higher than the lifelines. Breeze handled the waves nicely but every 20 minutes or so the waves hit hard and coated the cockpit like being hit by a bucket of water. We passed Newfound Harbor at 1 pm and decided to press on toward Key West especially as the wind and waves were dropping off.
At 2 pm I had a virtual doctors appointment with Dr Hundt our family doctor. She was excited to be doctoring a patient on a sailboat in the Keys. While visiting with her my vhf radio sounded an alert which I silenced. After my appointment, I tried getting a slip at Boca Chica Naval Air Station Marina but they are not taking any transients due to COVID. About that time Karen texted about a thunderstorm approaching Key West.
Sure enough, it looked like a bad storm approaching. I ducked into Saddlebunch Harbor just east of Boca Chica. The chart showed an anchorage right at the harbor entrance. Sure enough there was; but, a nice catamaran was in it and the spot wasn't very large. I went as far as I could up the channel and couldn't find any place to anchor except in the channel. Touched bottom four times trying to find a spot before I motored back to the entrance and anchored next to the cat. 37.2 miles today.
The storm went northeast and we only got a few sprinkles. Ah the joys of boating.