Starry, Starry Night
07 February 2008 | Key West
Days 24 and 25 - Sunday and early Monday, 2-3-08 & 2-4-08 - Naples to Key West
And sail we did, but not immediately. We left Naples under power and headed down a channel leading to the Gulf of Mexico. Out into the Gulf we went. The wind was brisk enough but was on our nose until we made a southerly turn. The guys put up the sails, but had to motorsail because we still did not have favorable winds for the direction we were going. After a few hours, they struck the sails and motored until dark. During the afternoon, we passed through a section of water that was filled with jellyfish. They weren't large, but it was amazing to see so many of them.
You would not believe how beautiful the sky was once it got dark. We were well beyond the light pollution of any inhabitation, the moon did not rise until 4:30 a.m., and the sky was filled with more stars than you have every seen. It was magnificent! During the night, the guys put up the sails, cut the engine, and sailed for over eight hours. Even though we had entered the hot part of the US, it was very cool in the cockpit. The guys had on their heavy jackets, and slept in the cockpit with a blanket wrapped around their lower bodies when not on the helm. The late night/early morning hot chocolate was much appreciated.
At about 5:30 a.m., we arrived at the charted location of the Key West sea buoy, but could not locate it in the dark. The charts declare it to be lighted and gonged, but no light could be seen nor gong heard. We continued past the location for ½ hour and then turned back to return in the morning light. There it was, right were it was supposed to be, but the light was not functioning and the gong could only be heard downwind, very close to the buoy. Once in the channel, we proceeded to the Key West Bight Marina without incident: one more leg of our marvelous adventure completed. (JGR)