Wyvern's Wanderings

Vessel Name: Wyvern
Vessel Make/Model: 1977 Irwin Ketch
Hailing Port: El Jobean, Florida
Crew: Charlie and Phyllis Atha
About: After living aboard our 42' Irwin for almost 10 years, we sold her and bought a home in El Jobean, Florida. Bought a storm damaged 1996 Hunter 45 and have been working on it for the past 3 years. THEN we sold the Hunter and purchased the Irwin back. Feels like home!
Extra: Both Charlie and Phyllis are USCG licensed captains and ASA sailing instructors.
Social:
14 April 2018 | Home, El Jobean, Florida
13 April 2018 | Ft. Myers Beach, Florida
11 April 2018 | Channel Five Bridge, Long Key, Florida Keys
10 April 2018 | Angelfish Creek, Key Largo, Florida Keys
08 April 2018 | Frazier Hog Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas
07 April 2018 | Nassau Harbor, New Providence, Bahamas
06 April 2018 | Nassau Harbor, New Providence, Bahamas
05 April 2018 | Highbourne Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
04 April 2018 | Shroud Cay, Exuma Islands, Bahamas
04 April 2018 | Iguana Beach, Bitter Iguana, Exumas, Bahamas
02 April 2018 | Staniel Cay, Exuma Islands, Bahamas
01 April 2018 | Hawksbill Cay & Wardwick Wells, Exuma Islands, Bahamas
01 April 2018 | Hawksbill Cay & Wardwick Wells, Exuma Islands, Bahamas
01 April 2018 | Hawksbill Cay, Exuma Islands, Bahamas
31 March 2018 | Hawksbill Cay, Exumas, Bahamas
30 March 2018 | Rose Island, Bahamas
29 March 2018 | Nassau Harbor, New Providence, Bahamas
28 March 2018 | Nassau Harbor, New Providence, Bahamas
27 March 2018 | Nassau Harbor, New Providence, Bahamas
26 March 2018 | Nassau Harbor, New Providence, Bahamas
Recent Blog Posts
14 April 2018 | Home, El Jobean, Florida

Last Wanderings for 2018

April 14, 2018

13 April 2018 | Ft. Myers Beach, Florida

Good Day and a Long Day

April 13, 2018

11 April 2018 | Channel Five Bridge, Long Key, Florida Keys

Channel Five Bridge

April 11, 2018

10 April 2018 | Angelfish Creek, Key Largo, Florida Keys

Florida's Welcoming Weather???

April 10, 2018

08 April 2018 | Frazier Hog Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas

Heading Home

April 8, 2018

07 April 2018 | Nassau Harbor, New Providence, Bahamas

Jamie is Headed Back to Arkansas

April 7, 2018

Last Wanderings for 2018

14 April 2018 | Home, El Jobean, Florida
Phyllis Atha/sunny, warm and a mild breeze
April 14, 2018
El Jobean, Florida

We weighed anchor at 7:00 this morning. After I helped Charlie raise the anchor and put up the main and mizzen sails, I went back to bed. The seas were fairly bumpy last night. The current kept us abeam to the chop and the boat wallowed around most of the night. I finally got to sleep about 3:00. Charlie slept right through the rocking and rolling and creaking of the boat. We motorsailed the whole way home from Fort Myers Beach. Sometimes we did great, hitting up above 7 knots. Other times about 5 knots. The intercoastal winds around and the wind direction thus changes. The day was sunny and warm and the seas were pretty calm in Charlotte Harbor. We pulled into the dock behind the house at 3:30. Tied the boat to the dock and unloaded several bags of stuff I had packed up on the way in today. We did a bit more packing and unloading, but were relieved when Jack and Kris stopped by about sundowner time. We enjoyed catching up on each others news. We are now home. No more Wanderings for this season. Everyone have an enjoyable summer. I want to thank those of you who commented on the Wanderings over the season. It is nice to know you all are reading and enjoying the blog. See you next winter!

Good Day and a Long Day

13 April 2018 | Ft. Myers Beach, Florida
Phyllis Atha/sunny, warm and breezy
April 13, 2018
Fort Myers Beach, Florida

We had a wonderful day of sailing yesterday. We actually sailed, all three sails, no motor for 35 miles from Channel Five bridge to the Little Shark River. We averaged about 6 knots. That is such a rare occurrence this season. A nice quiet night. No mosquitoes, a few small house flies though. We had to spray flying bug spray to get rid of them this morning. We were up at 6:00 and weighed anchor by 6:30. We put up all three sails again and sailed for about three hours before the tail wind got a bit too light to keep up our speed. We were headed to Marco Island which was about 55 nautical miles. At an average of 5 kts, that’s 11 hours. On the way, we checked the weather again for the next two days. Expecting to go from Marco Island to St. James City on Saturday and then on home on Sunday. But, the forecast for Sunday is not good. Front coming through with possible severe thunderstorms and high winds. Once back in cell phone range near Marco Island, we checked a couple of other weather sources on my phone, and they all confirmed bad weather on Sunday. So, we decided to keep moving on up to Fort Myers Beach which is about a 78 miles for the day. On the way, since the easterly winds were so light, the sea breeze started taking over. That is when the land heats up, air rises and cooler air from the sea is drawn in to fill the void. Since the land is to our east, that causes a westerly sea breeze. At first, the wind completely died, then gradually came up from the west allowing us to benefit from the sails again. Still too light to just sail, so the engine stayed on. Just before dark, the wind died again, so we rolled up the jib and took down the main and mizzen. We motored the last ten miles or so. We arrived at 11:00. We anchored just north of Matansis Pass going into Fort Myers Beach. Not protected from the west and since we had west winds the last half of the day, we have residual chop coming in. Until those calm down, it will be a bit bouncy for a while. Not too bad though. Charlie is happy. He has television reception and internet via my hotspot. Amazing, he is still awake at almost midnight. Other than the wind, the last two days have been sunny and warm. With our adjustments, we will be home tomorrow afternoon and tied up safe and sound behind the house.


Channel Five Bridge

11 April 2018 | Channel Five Bridge, Long Key, Florida Keys
Phyllis Atha/Partly Cloudy, Warm and Windy
April 11, 2018
Channel Five Bridge, Long Key, Florida Keys

We had a calm night after the bit of squally winds yesterday evening. Slept well and a leisurely morning. After breakfast, Charlie checked the amount of water coming out of the water pump on the engine and going to the heat exchanger. He now believes the problem is probably the impeller in the pump. We didn’t raise the anchor until close to 11:00. Charlie had plans to stop at Lorilea’s Restaurant for dinner, but then we would have to move since a front is due this evening with winds from the northwest, north and northeast. The bay there is open to anything northerly and the holding is not great. I convinced him to go on. Promised him fried fish for dinner. So, we changed our plans and came to Channel Five. We went south under the bridge, then up Long Key bight for protection. Just as we arrived, the front hit with squally winds of about 30 kts. We anchored and it set well right away. Love these muddy Florida bottoms. Since the front first hit, the winds have “calmed” down to about 20 with gust of a bit higher. But, we have only minor chop and some protection from the winds. One other boat in the bay with us. The trip down on the inside was mostly motoring through winding channels, the seas were pretty calm and the wind mostly on the nose. Charlie did raise the main and even put out the jib for a while to speed us up so we would arrive before dark. Charlie did a few minor chores while I steered, and then when he took over, I baked chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. We arrived about 7:30, just before sunset. I fixed fried fish nuggets and potato salad for dinner. I finally broke Charlie’s winning streak in Scrabble. Tomorrow we will be headed to the Little Shark River, about 35 miles north. The winds are suppose to be favorable, at least by the afternoon to actually sail. We will be out of cell range until the day after tomorrow when we come into range again at Marco Island. No Wanderings tomorrow. Picture is of Channel Five Bridge at sunset.

Florida's Welcoming Weather???

10 April 2018 | Angelfish Creek, Key Largo, Florida Keys
Phyllis Atha/partly cloudy, warm and breezy
April 10, 2018
Angelfish Creek, Key Largo, Florida

Not such a nice way for Florida weather to greet us on our return. However, we only had some wind gusts. Farther up north, Fort Lauderdale area, they had a tornado. Yep, we are a day early. We left Frazier Hog at 6:30 yesterday morning. We motorsailed all day, but the wind was in a good enough direction that we even flew all three sails for a while. As the wind clocked on around toward the bow of the boat, we ended up taking the mizzen down. With the engine, we were running at least an average of 6 knots. We had decided to go all the way to South Riding Rocks (our jump off point to cross the Gulf Stream and Florida) no matter what time it was. The seas on the Great Bahama Bank were a bit bumpy for sleeping at anchor. Plus, as time passed, the Front due Wednesday evening was inching up into the afternoon. We sure didn’t want to get caught in the Gulf Stream when a front passes. So, we wanted to cross Tuesday, today, a day early. We were lucky enough to make it to South Riding Rocks just before dark. Seas were calm behind the tiny island where we anchored and the wind calmed down nicely. A long, but good day. We set the alarm for 3:00 this morning, had the mainsail up, anchor up and were out from behind the islands./rocks by 4:30. Thank goodness for our Garmin map GPS or we wouldn’t have tried leaving before daylight. Once out in open water we pulled out the jib and motorsailed at about 6 knots. We had just enough cut on the wind to be able to use, what at first was a mild wind, and later a bit brisker wind. The seas were a gentle swell, easy to glide over. One of our nicest trips across the Gulf Stream. Charlie kept track of all the freighters in the shipping channels. We didn’t have any that we had to contend with. The AIS is a great tool for keeping track of any freighters that may threaten, but it is also fun for Charlie. He stays busy checking on how long they are, how fast, how close they will come to us and their names. We did extremely well on the crossing from the Bahamas to the Florida Keys. We arrived at the reef outside of Angelfish Creek about 3:00, just as the wind clocked more westerly and piped up quite a bit. We brought in the jib once we were in the creek and the main once clear of the creek so we could turn into the wind. We anchored about 3 miles south of Angelfish Creek on the northwest side of the Keys. Relying on the weather forecasts, Charlie found a spot that would protect us from the southwest and westerly winds. Well, just about sunset a dark stormy cloud carrying some 20 knot winds from the north approached. We are bouncing since there is quite a bit of fetch (distance for the waves to build). The anchor stuck good, so Charlie is confident we won’t drag anchor. Me? I’m never confident about the anchor. But, if we do drag, we will just bump in the mud. All in all, I think we were quite lucky to be here and anchored before the wind hit and south enough not to get the really bad weather they had up north. Besides the various wind conditions, we had sunny, warm days and clear nights.

Heading Home

08 April 2018 | Frazier Hog Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas
Phyllis Atha/sunny, warm and breezy
April 8, 2018
Frazier Hog Cay, Berry Islands, Bahamas

We weighed anchor and left Nassau about 7:30 this morning. We had to wait a bit for a cruise ship to come in before Nassau Harbor Control gave us the go ahead to transit the west entrance to the harbor. Right after we made it out, a freighter came in, and then another cruise ship left the harbor. Busy place this morning. The wind was in a usable direction, just a bit too light, so we used the engine. The seas started out flat until we got out of the protection of New Providence, then just a small swell. We had a good ride, hitting an average of 6.5 knots for the first twenty miles. Then the wind completely died. So, the sails came down and we motored the last ten miles. All in all a good trip across the Tongue of the Ocean. We drug a ballyhoo (bait fish) all the way across without even a nibble. Maybe we were going too fast? We arrived at Frazier Hog Cay about 2:00. We spent the afternoon getting our door and small chest of drawers. Quite a chore for two old farts. I ended up knocking the toenail off my big toe in the process. Lots of sore muscles tonight. But, we succeeded and they are loaded onto the boat. We had leftovers again tonight. And I won the Scrabble game. Started out with a 7 letter word. We plan to head across the Great Bahama Bank tomorrow for South Riding Rock. It takes us two days to make it across. We anchor out in the middle of nowhere tomorrow night. There will be no cell service until we get to Florida waters Wednesday evening. Believe I will take a couple of days off from writing the Wanderings and catch you all up Wednesday. Weather was very pleasant today. Sunny and warm. Forecast the same for the next three days, but a front due on Wednesday evening. That is why we are sort of pushing our progress. We would prefer to make it to Florida before it hits rather than sit behind Gun Cay in the Bahamas weathering out the front. I did not take any pictures today, so you get to enjoy a beautiful sunset picture I took a week or so ago.

Jamie is Headed Back to Arkansas

07 April 2018 | Nassau Harbor, New Providence, Bahamas
Phyllis Atha/partly cloudy, warm and breezy
April 7, 2018
Nassau, New Providence, Bahamas

This is my favorite picture of Jamie while she was here. It was taken on our creek dinghy adventure at Shroud Cay. She has to leave today. After breakfast, we had a leisurely morning, checking email and Facebook, Charlie playing on the computer and getting cleaned up to take Jamie into shore. We dinghied into the Bay Street Marina for lunch at the Green Parrot. Then we walked out on Bay Street to catch a taxi. The driver agreed to drop Charlie and I off at the grocery store on his way to take Jamie to the airport. We said our goodbyes in the grocery store parking lot. Charlie and I did some grocery shopping. Mostly for essentials like eggs, sausage, milk, bread and such. Then Charlie hit the liquor store for rum. They had a special on Brugal. It was cheaper than Cruzan. I waited for the taxi and helped the driver load our groceries in the meantime. We dinghied back out to the boat, put away our groceries and lounged away the rest of the day. I read in the cockpit and Charlie played on the computer. He did do something constructive though. He tightened the serpentine belt on the engine. He had replaced it a month or so ago because the other one was squeaking. Well, this new one squeaked also. I suggested it just need to be tightened. And lo and behold, it is not squeaking anymore after he tightened it this afternoon. Charlie also did the dishes. Me? I did absolutely nothing constructive. I didn’t even cook dinner. I made Charlie eat leftovers out of the freezer. Weather was pretty nice again today. Partly cloudy, warm and fairly breezy. We had a southerly wind about 10 to 15 knots. We are planning to sail up to Frazier Hog tomorrow. Still suppose to have brisk winds from the southerly direction. I’m just hoping the waves haven’t built up too much on the Tongue of the Ocean. At least they should be going with us. This evening is fairly quiet for being a Saturday night. The wind has calmed a bit and the boat is sitting quietly.

Miss you already Jamie. Hope there is no snow when you get home.
Wyvern's Photos - Main
3 Photos
Created 12 December 2010
Our 1996 Hunter 45
9 Photos
Created 12 December 2010