|We had this young manatee visit us at the dinghy dock the day before we left.|
|The Beach and camping area at Tarpon Belly Key|
|Just before sunset at Tarpon Belly Key. It was a beautiful spot.|
|Thanks to some help from our new friends in Marathon, we sailed with the pole out for the first time. It worked great!|
|Beautiful Jewfish Basin|
|The water was beautiful|
|We had a beautiful sunset that fateful evening.|
I put Kim at the helm and she tried to motor into the 30 knot wind and total darkness. I went to the bow and got to work getting the anchors on deck and untangled. It was a mess and took me a long time. When I got the Delta up it was full of a large grass and mud ball. That is why it would not reset.
We were now ready to get into position to try again. Kim went to the bow and I got the boat in position. We got it set but about 10 minutes later it pulled free again. We went through the process again. It was now about 1 am. I decided to try a different place, hopefully with less grass. I also told Kim to put 100 feet of chain down. This time it held for about a half hour. We went below and waited. Then it happened again! I did not know what to do, but I knew 100 feet was better, so we went through the process again. This time Kim had a hard time clearing the anchor. When she finally got it done, we dropped again with 125 feet of chain. It was now 3:40 am. We were both totally spent. After about an hour of waiting and watching as the storm raged around us, we went below. Kim took a nap, but that was all the sleep either one of us got. We spent the next day taking short naps as the winds began to subside. It was a very difficult experience for both of us, but I am so thankful for my awesome wife, who just kept working through it all. The best news of all is that we are both safe and so is SHIFT.
We spent much of the next day talking about our plans. We could go back to Boot Key Harbor, where it is safe. Or we could continue on with our plan to see Dry Tortugas National Park. In my next entry, I will tell you what we decided. I will give you a hint, the next day was our 40th anniversary.