Chaos in Boot Key Harbor
27 November 2009 | Marathon
Well, so much for the beautiful weather. Tuesday we rented a car and drove to Key Largo. It was hot and humid and cloudy all day. We got back late after stopping for drinks aboard a friends boat. We normally pick the dinghy up every night, strap it down and put the cover on so if things go bad during the night we are ready. Since it was late and we had to return the rental car early the next morning we decided to leave the dinghy in the water. It started raining shortly after we went to bed. The wind started picking up. At about 2 am we heard hail hitting the deck and the boat started swinging around in a complete circle. The rain was coming down in buckets. We got up to see what was going on. I turned the VHF radio on to catch a weather report and heard everyone in the harbor talking. Apparently 2 waterspouts passed through the harbor. Our end of the harbor only received a glancing blow but the east end was hit hard. Several boats were knocked down, nearly all of the dinghys on that end had flipped and many had canvas damage and had lost things overboard. Several boats were dragging through the harbor and hit other boats. An F-24 trimaran flipped over. Luckily no one was hurt. It continued to rain all night and most of the next day. We had to go out in the rain to return the car. The dinghy was full of water so it took a while to bail it out. We learned our lesson, pick it up no matter how late. I guess we were lucky in that it didn't flip and other than lots of rain water we had no problems.