Back to Florida
21 November 2019 | Cayo Costa
We lifted the anchor early, at 4 AM, to head out of Charleston Harbor and fought the last of the flood tide getting out. We were racing a fog bank coming down from the north and managed to get out of the harbor and entrance channel just before it closed in. It seemed to dissipate as we headed south and dawn found us motorsailing down the coast to St Helena Sound in light air. As we entered the sound the tide changed to ebb and we fought it all the way in and up the river almost all the way into Beaufort. See a pattern here? As we turned the corner at Brickyard Point the current changed in our favor for the last few miles and we came down to the entrance to Factory Creek in Beaufort. We were at dead low of an extremely low tide by then and even though Cathy had told us the best way into Factory Creek, try as we might we couldn’t get in without hitting the bottom. We tried several times and had about resigned ourselves to wait for the tide to come up. We called Alan and Cathy to let them know we’d be late and they came out in their small boat to survey the area for us. We followed them in and despite touching once, we pushed through and made it into the channel. Before you know it we were tied up to their dock and enjoying their hospitality. We had loads of fun catching up and did our normal grocery, Walmart, propane runs. They were kind enough to let us stay a few days to catch the next weather window to head south.
There was a cold front due to come through and we planned to ride it all the way to Palm Beach if we could. The day before was in the 80’s and humid, but with the frontal passage, we awoke to temps in the 40’s and a fresh northerly breeze. After a few last good bys, we were off to catch the 9 AM opening of the iconic Beaufort swing bridge. Then it was down the river, again fighting the flood tide, and out Port Royal Sound with a 25 knot wind from the north.
We set the sails wing on wing with the jib poled out to one side and the main prevented out on the other and were off to the races sailing south with the wind vane steering. We had a quick passage and 54 hours later were heading in to Lake Worth Inlet. Allegria was really showing her stuff with that being the fastest passage south we’ve ever made. We headed up to the north end of Lake Worth and to our normal anchoring spot in Old Port Cove. We got the anchor down by mid afternoon and settled in for a nice relaxed visit with Brother Denny and Shannon.
We took the truck over to Anna Maria and picked up the AC units for Allegria, which I had previously removed and brought them back over to get looked at and serviced in preparation for reinstalling, getting ready for Allegria to go to her new owners. We spent several days catching up with those guys and just enjoying their company. Soon it was time to move on and so we were off for a late afternoon start down the lake and out the inlet before dark and riding an easterly south down the coast. We passed Ft Lauderdale overnight and found ourselves off Government cut in Miami at 2:30 AM. We headed past Key Biscayne and into the Hawk Channel and down the keys. As the sun rose we were off Angelfish Creek and we continued down past Rodriguez Key and to the pass at Channel Five and to anchor in the Long Key Bight. There was to be another frontal passage that night and after a good night’s rest, we awoke to a fresh northeasterly breeze. We got a late start, as we only had a 20 hour run up to Ft Myers, our next stop. We motorsailed in the dying breeze across Florida Bay and just south of the Everglades Park Boundary, dodging trap markers. As we cleared Cape Sable and turned to the northwest, the breeze filled in from the northeast and before you know it we were close reaching in 25-30 knots of breeze and Allegria was showing her stuff once again. It’s like she is giving us good memories on these last few sails. We rode that breeze all the way to Ft Myers and came in to pick up a mooring and have a visit with old friends Mark and Karen from Paydirt, the trawler that rescued us down in the Jumentos Cays some years ago and gave us a tow back to Georgetown after we broke a prop shaft. We also had a get together with old cruising friends, Bob, Charlotte , Alan and Cathy, with whom we cruised back in the 90’s. The first time we had all been together since then.
We have since moved up to Cayo Costa and are anchored in our favorite spot, planning to enjoy this place one more time for a few days before we head to the dock in Cortez.