North American Tour 2017-2019

From Portland, OR through Panama Canal to East Coast of USA and back via Caribbean, Panama Canal, and Hawaii

20 May 2018 | Key Largo, Florida
19 May 2018 | Marathon, Florida in the Keys
18 May 2018 | Marathon, Florida in the Keys
15 May 2018 | Marathon, Florida in the Keys
11 May 2018 | Marathon, Florida in the Keys
07 May 2018 | Key West, Florida
04 May 2018 | Isla Mujeres, Mexico
03 May 2018 | Cozumel, Mexico
28 April 2018 | Isla Mujeres, Mexico
28 April 2018 | Isla Mujeres, Mexico
21 April 2018 | Isla Mujeres, Mexico
19 April 2018 | W. Caribbean
17 April 2018 | Grand Cayman, W. Caribbean
16 April 2018 | Grand Cayman, W. Caribbean
09 April 2018 | Grand Cayman, W. Caribbean
09 April 2018 | Grand Cayman, W. Caribbean
09 April 2018 | Approaching Grand Cayman, W. Caribbea n
07 April 2018 | Between Isla Providentia and Grand Cayman, W. Caribbea n
02 April 2018 | Southwest Caribbea n
31 March 2018 | Panama Canal

Day Sail Heading North

20 May 2018 | Key Largo, Florida
George Stonecliffe
Leaving Marathon, we headed towards an island off of Key Largo called Key Rodriguez. The difficulty with this anchorage is that is too shallow at 5-8' deep. But with a 3' tide, there seems to be shoaling in the area. Needing 6.5 feet depth for our keel, we edged out away from the protection of the island, and anchored in 8.5' which at low tide was 6.7'. But this was in open roadstead, meaning without any protected anchorage, we were at the mercy of the waves being knocked down by the Hawk Channel Reef. Hopefully there will be minimal weather overnight. At least we will have sufficient depth for our overnight stay. Tomorrow the weather will be drier, and we will take our run in the Gulf Stream to Cape Canaveral, 200 miles northward.

Leaving Marathon

19 May 2018 | Marathon, Florida in the Keys
George Stonecliffe
Tide is becoming an issue. We saw 3' tides at the dock, setting us on the bottom mud in 5' of water, and giving us 7.5' an hour before high tide for us to leave the fixed dock. 'Julia Max' has a 6.5' draft, not as deep as some, but definitely deeper than most in these parts. We refueled at the Marina's fuel dock, and headed out the channel in depths that were 6.3 to 10' in the entrance channel. We wanted to be outside at anchor, so we wouldn't have to wait for high tide at mid-day, and lose alot of travel time in daylight. So we are at anchor in 10' of water with 90' of chain rode deployed to keep us in place in the 20 knot winds. Tomorrow the weather moderates for a few days. So we will be on the move north to Cape Canaveral by Tuesday.

Scuba Diving in the Keys

18 May 2018 | Marathon, Florida in the Keys
George Stonecliffe
Yesterday, we had two dives on 20' deep reefs near Marathon. It was overcast and raining. Although not as bright and colorful, it was easy to see why the Keys attract divers.. From sponges, coral and fans, to schools and schools of reef fish, there is lots to see. Moray eel, lobster, lion fish, barracuda, and all the butterflyfish, angelfish, snappers, groupers that our eyes could take in, were in 30' visibility. Without a dive master in the water, we spent alot of our time refreshing our navigation skills, using our compasses and underwater land structures. These 40 minute dives will be the last dives before reaching the Caribbean this Fall.

Everglades National Park

15 May 2018 | Marathon, Florida in the Keys
George Stonecliffe
A couple days away from 'Julia Max' were spent touring the Everglades National Park. Having rented an Enterprise car, we drove up to Florida City, stayed at Home2 (a Hilton property). Then we went on a couple trails and roads to ponds and waterways that might have birds to see. We were delighted in seeing and identifying about 30 species: herons, egrets, shorebirds (willets, godwits, plovers, etc.), spoonbills, wood storks, white ibises...you get the idea. Today we took an air boat ride. Even though water levels were low from the dry season, we still had a good ride. Oh, we saw turtles, snakes, and alligators! Euuuu! This park is truly a treasure!

Mother's Day Brunch in Marathon, Florida

11 May 2018 | Marathon, Florida in the Keys
George Stonecliffe
After working our way up Hawk Channel for 50 miles from Key West, we pulled into Marathon Marina and Resort. We signed up for a week, so that we could use the slip as a base of operation. Sunday, Mother's Day, will start with a 10am Brunch at a local restaurant. Then will continue with a two-tank dive at a local reef with a local dive shop. We rented a car from Enterprise, so that we can drive up to a motel near the Everglades NP. We'll spend a couple days in the area, getting to know the Everglades better More later. At the moment, there is a weather front that will be dumping rain on us tonight, Sunday, and probably Monday and Tuesday as well. Cheers to all!

Back in the US of A

07 May 2018 | Key West, Florida
George Stonecliffe
Quite a bumpy ride through the Yucatan Channel, but then settled into a good sail, and motor-sail in the Florida current. Sometimes seeing 9 knots SOG (speed over the ground), we made Key West in 2-1/2 days arriving at 9pm in the dark. One surprise was the Southwest Channel indicated on the chart with buoys had been cleared of all navigation aids!! So we followed our Navionics chart as if they were all there without any problem. We anchored for the night, then moved into The Key West Bight Marina for three nights. It's a good marina, except for getting on and off 'Julia Max' at the pier, balancing on a 2x6' board at a 30 degree angle! Made an investment at West Marine for boat supplies, picked up some fruit at the local grocery, rode rental bikes around the town of Key West, and did a few boat projects (of course)! Friday, we head northeast to Marathon 50 miles towards Miami. Gee, it's nice to be back in the USA where we can speak English, enjoy the shopping, and relax in the protection of our citizenship. Cheers to all!
Vessel Name: Julia Max
Vessel Make/Model: 45' Passport/Peterson Custom Ketch
Hailing Port: Portland, Oregon, USA
Crew: George and Sue Stonecliffe
About: Float Plan: July 1, 2017 Leave Portland, OR; head south along US West Coast; leave San Diego 10/29/17 with Baja Ha-ha Rally; go through Panama Canal 3/2018; Florida 6/2018; NYC and Rhode Island 7/2018; Chesapeake Bay 9/2018; Caribbean 11/2018; Panama Canal 3/2019; Hawaii 7/2019; home 10/2019
Julia Max's Photos - Main
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Created 4 July 2017
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Created 5 May 2011