Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Newfound Harbor - at anchor by Picnic Island

A view from Sunset Island
It was a retched ride today. We left Pilot House Marina at 8:30 and headed towards Marathon. The winds were supposed to be 10 to 15 kts out of the SE but we found them to be 15 to 20 with an occasional gust to 23! Now, the force of a wind is proportional to the square of the velocity so a 20 kt wind is almost twice the force of a 15 kt wind, that extra 5 kts makes a big difference. After we left NOAA issued a small craft advisory with Hawk Channel wave action rated "Rough". The boat did fine, we never felt unsafe, it's the crew that was uncomfortable. With all the time on the water, neither of us get gets seasick anymore but the ride required constant bracing as the boat bounced around the 2 to 4 ft waves hitting it broadside.

The crossroads of many a boater
When we pulled alongside Marathon I gave a call to the city marina to ask about the waiting list. We had heard that there was a 35 boat waiting list that had grown to 50. I figured if the 50 boat list had gone down any, then there ought to be anchoring spots open. The answer surprised me, the list is now up to 55! It seems the weather has been so bad that everybody is waiting for better weather for the crossing over to the Bahamas. With that we decided to press on to Newfound Harbor. We saw a dozen boats or so anchored outside of Marathon and in looking at the wind prediction for tonight, that was not a good place to be. The winds are to clock around to the south and thereby blow right into that anchorage.

We finally made it to our anchorage off Picnic Island around 5:30 pm. The wind is still blowing but the wave action is minimal and there's good holding here too. The anchorage has our requirement of a place to take Hoolie. In fact, the island is something of a legend around here as a dog sanctuary. The locals use it mainly on weekends for picnics and in watching the great view of the sunsets. The dogs are allowed to run free through the island, about 1/2 acre at most.

We will be here through Wednesday and leave for Key West early Thursday morning if the forecast holds up for moderate south winds. It will be good to finally reach Key West. What a winter!