Third time is the charm. Our first attempt at leaving the Cayman Islands North Sound area was squashed due to weather. Then we saw a window for Isla Mujeres, Mexico and left early one morning. When we entered North Sound back in February it was shallow over the reef but we had no problems. We set our chart plotter to record our track in so we could follow it upon leaving. Despite following the track we grounded out three times and hit our rudder. We anchored and Gary dove under the boat but facing a two night offshore passage we headed back to the marina, hauled the boat out to check for rudder damage (none just a nick), rechecked back in with customs and immigration sigh…..
Finally a week later we got a long enough weather window to make the four day passage from Grand Cayman to Key West. Based on a recommendation from the marina, we hired a pilot boat to lead us out of North Sound. The appointed time of 6:00 am on Sunday rolled around and the pilot is a no show. No surprise there. Always up for a challenge and having no desire to go back to customs and immigration where we were now on a first name basis, we threw off the dock lines and headed out. Staying exactly and I mean exactly on our track and right at high tide, we made it over the reef with no problems. The difference? The water was much rougher and we were a few hours from high tide the first time around. Ahhh finally out of the Caymans and heading back out on the water!
We had hoped to use the easterly trade winds to help get us to the west coast of Cuba, but as luck would have it the winds were dead calm with the exception of Sunday night when for 12 hours they were right on our nose. The calm conditions returned Monday morning right when we needed them the most for the Yucatan Channel and heading east in the Florida Strait. We enjoyed a good sail into Key West riding the Gulf Stream. In fact, if Gary hadn’t realized just how much the gulf stream was pushing us east when we wanted to go north east, we would have overshot Key West and ended up in Miami instead 🙂
Not long after leaving Grand Cayman this little guy joined us in the cockpit for a much needed rest. Look at those calm seas.
Sereno will be staying here for a few weeks while we drive up to Pennsylvania for our nieces wedding. Once back, we will continue our trek up the east coast of Florida to our summer stop in Brunswick, Georgia. Later than planned, but we’ll get there.