13 March 2021 | Key West, FL
We have finally broken away from Key West. Against the advice of our weather guru, we are motoring northeast in a northeasterly breeze and seas that should have been 4-5 foot. Well we are glad we left and it is pretty tame with a sea state of 1-3 foot with an occasional 4 footer. Even Jaxon has laid down for the ride and that is saying something.
I have been asked numerous times about our decision to go to the Keys and the Gulf Coast this year. Bear with me.... this could be lengthy.
When we pushed away from our slip in Urbanna we were stocked and prepared to head to the Bahamas if we got word that COVID restrictions had lifted. Our concern has never been about US as much as it has been about the large asset/vessel we sail upon. Ti Amo and Jaxon both entering and leaving the Bahamas are priorities we have established for ourselves.
We have had the most wonderful season ever and it is because we dared to do something out of our comfort zone. We went against the norm and others advice and urging and stuck to our plan to keep Ti Amo and Jaxon in U.S. waters.
We began our trip by sailing the Chesapeake to the Atlantic and doing a four day run to Brunswick Georgia where we would stop and see three other Calibers....Carlina, Bright Ayes and Migration. What a treat to see owners Betty, Wayne and their grandsons and then to see Earl and Joyce before they shove off for their first cruise. Migration had been sold but our next stop would be to see the prior owners Charlie and Teri.
Talk about a treat.... Charlie, Teri and Charlie's mom, Wanda prepared a Thanksgiving day feast and invited us to partake. What a lovely, lovely time we had. You see that was another cruiser relationship that will last beyond our ability to cruise. Super folks and lifelong friendships!
Next we would run into our dear friends on No Limits, John and JoAnne. They too had similar thoughts about the Bahamas and had elected to stay in and around Florida. We got to hang out with them from Saint Augustine to Fort Pierce where they would leave their boat for the Christmas holiday.
Christmas was coming quick and our plan was to get to Key Largo and celebrate with our extended family, Ed, Mari-Etta, and Pearl. We arrived in time to help prepare some goodies and hear about their wonderful adventures. We were at our home away from home for two weeks before heading further south.
Another highlight.... Carl and Deb on River Rat were on their way and we would cruise down the Keys together catching time at anchor together where we could. So great to spend time with them, especially Deb's birthday. Having a day shopping in Key West together was fun and will be a trip I will never forget.
River Rat would head back up to No Name harbor near Miami and get their test for their crossing to the Bahamas. Ti Amo would head up the Gulf Coast to Marco Island. Again.....unexpected treasure in the form of my dear cousin and husband, Liz and Dave would be right up the road in Naples, so we planned a lunch before we would shove off for further northern anchorages. See???? Our trip has been FULL of great things already and there is more to come.
Once past Marco Island and a send off from Liz and Dave we head to Fort Myers where we would meet a four tour veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. He was a single handler and was just starting out with not a great deal of experience, but we got to pay it forward by rescuing his boat from going ashore and giving him a hot home cooked meal as we bid him farewell.
From Fort Myers to Cape Coral to Saint James City on Pine Island. Wow! Who would have thought that across from the Sanibel Light our friend had purchase a home. Parker and Liz opened their home to us allowing us to use their laundry facilities and vehicles to get groceries and a bite of lunch. Such an amazing home and lovely, lovely couple. Jaxon even had a fenced in yard he could play in.
Our next stop would be our last as we need to get back to Fort Myers for generator repairs. Another beautiful anchorage through Pelican Pass at Caya Costa State Park. Beautiful spot that would again bring some treasure in meeting yet another Caliber. S/V Grace with co-captains Dan and Vicky. It did not take us long to make plans to see each other again along the way back south. We actually would see them in Fort Myers and Marco Island before they would start their trek back north.
My biggest delight was hearing that my dearest friend Robin would be driving to Fort Myers for some R & R aboard Ti Amo. Knowing we were there a couple of days would make it a perfect opportunity. But more perfect than that we got to extend her stay till we got to Key West. She would catch a ferry back to Fort Myers and head home from there. What a great 10 days we had.....the luxury life at the Pink Shell Resort to being stuck on a boat due to too much wind. We had it all!
Our next port would be the Dry Tortugas with none other.....No Limits. Beautiful waters.....perfect temperatures.....nice breezes and great snorkeling. We were so glad to have the weather and the opportunity to get to that destination.
From that point until today we have been in Key West awaiting weather. We have sat at anchor or on a mooring ball for about a week maybe 10 days. In that time we have met another Caliber owner from Boston.....Bob aboard Tempest. Super gentleman with plans to go to the Caribbean next season. While on the mooring we were hit by a sailboat that was adrift in our 30 knot wind fest. While most of the damage is cosmetic to Ti Amo, it has left a lasting sense of thankfulness for this vessel and her captain. Quick and clear thinking got us through what could have been a much uglier outcome.
So my point to wrap it up......I would not change a minute of ANY of our experiences this year. We are where we were meant to be!