02 March 2015 | Pelican Bay, Cayo Costa, FL
As we have made mention many times, our lives on the water are dictated by the weather. Most of the time, the issue we deal with is wind: too much, too little, or from the wrong direction. We are fair weather sailors and do not seek excitement. Yes, we and Gratitude are prepared for bad weather, but we prefer not to go out in it or to look for it if possible. Sometimes, it just is not possible, and we have found ourselves in pretty bad conditions – strong winds, high seas, and rain. Most of the time, however, we can select our time – or day – of departure and we experience pretty benign conditions: winds about 10-15 knots, or maybe 20-25 if from the stern, and 2-4 foot seas. If the winds get too high while en route, we put in a reef or two (reduce the sail area) and go just as fast but without the white knuckles.
Sometimes, however, we experience unusual conditions that simply do not let us move. This morning, at about 6:00, the sky was beautifully clear and, had we been planning to go anywhere, we would have been making preparations to get underway. About 15 minutes later, however, a dense fog settled over the harbor. Visibility was reduced to about 100 yards and we would have been stuck because there was no way to see our way out through the entrance and along the beaches. The fog did not burn off until nearly 11:00 am, and by then, any next port a reasonable distance away would have been too far to achieve.
We have seen fog such as this on two other occasions in the now seven years of cruising in southern waters: once in Nassau, Bahamas two years ago (but it did not last as long) and again about a week ago in Marathon in the Florida Keys, where it occurred over two successive days. We understand it is caused by a cold weather inversion, but we do not know our weather patterns well enough to know or explain why that happens down here. Suffice to say, whether we understand it or not, we respect it.
Because the fog did burn off, and the conditions were calm, we took the dinghy the three miles or so to Boca Grande Bayou to have lunch with friends from Brandon, VT who, with a friend from Narragansett, RI, are spending some time here away from the frozen north. We met them at the Loose Caboose, where Taz is treated like royalty – water in a cup and doggy treats. (Her GI issues seem to be resolving, but she is not completely well, so we will keep her on the rice, barley, and poached chicken diet for a few more days.)