Full Moon at Marvin Key April 11-15 2017

It was the last full moon of our winter in Marathon, so it was time for a last cruise! The wind was forecast to be moderate to strong easterlies for 5 days and we chose to sail west to the Marvin Keys avoiding the Cape Sable Mosquitoes!

The first leg of our journey, a nice down wind run with screecher set.

Leaving mid afternoon on Monday April 11 we tacked down wind to Little Pine Key where we spend a blustery but pleasant evening and night.

The track from Little Pine to Marvin.

On Tuesday Morning we zipped up Big Spanish Channel on a flat water reach. When we rounded the reef at Harbor Key the wind shifted to the North East and we tacked downwind to Marvin. The were 2 foot seas rolling in from the north, making port tack sloppy and slow, while starboard tack featured surfing at over 10 knots.

The way in. Minimum depth seen 4.5 feet. Looks like I should have been a bit north when I turned in.

The way in is not marked, but the high bright sun made picking a route across the reef easy with board and rudder halfway retracted. The 2 ft waves, peaking and spilling over the reef, made taking down the sails an adventure but it all went well.

After exploring around a bit we settled on a little sandy embayment for our anchorage. It proved to be well protected for our 30 knot night. We never grounded, and could step off into thigh deep water at low tide.

The view out to sea (what waves?).
The view into the bay.
Good time for a nap.
It was like being anchored in a swimming pool.
Time for a low tide walk.
As the sun went down the sand looked pink..
We were not the only waders.
E thought this whelk might be good for dinner.
This one is a bit too small for dinner.
A big hermit crab.
A tiny baby hermit crab in a small whelk shell. Do you see the crab?
Some roseate terns enjoy a rest on the bar.
Is this a worm? It looks like it might sting.
Ursa-Minor at rest.
The sun melts into the sea.
The track back east to East Bahia Honda.

The plan was to enjoy a full day and two nights at Marvin, but we awoke to a fair NNE wind, and the forecast called for North wind 10 to 15 giving way the East wind over twenty, so we decided to scram. We debated where to go, and home won out since the North wind would provide a speedy reach once we cleared Jack Bank. The wind stayed NNE to N until we started to bear away for home. It then made an abrupt shift to the east, just past Bull Frog Bank, so we tacked up the shallow channel to spend the night at East Bahia Honda Key.

The way out.

We went out a slightly different way. Waves were spilling over the whole area, and this looked deep enough. It was, the lowest reading on the depth sounder was 6 feet. We powered out into 27 feet of water before hoisting sails. The waves made for an exciting time getting the main up because it was hard to hold on and hoist at the same time.

The sunny morning changed quickly as we departed with a line of showers filling in from the east. The rain really dumped for a while. I wore a foul weather jacket for the first time in 6 months!

A rosy red fingered dawn (orange maybe?).
Let see if Norris sent us anything.
Not so rosy after all.
Splashy waves.
The anchor is down and the sun settles onto her golden thrown.

East Bahia Honda was alive with birds. We saw 8 (!) merlins, staking out the tops of dead trees, a bald eagle, 4 osprey, 2 Harriers, 3 great blue herons, 20 snowy egrets, 3 tri-colored heron, a kestrel, terns, laughing gulls, cormorants, and pelicans.

Rain in the morning.

Bands of rain started to pass over in the early morning and continued until about 10 am. As the rain showers passed waves of small warblers flew by, sometimes landing briefly on the boat. The migration had started!

When the showers finally cleared the wind came on strong from the East. Since we had one more day of supplies we decided to lay over and enjoy. And it was a very enjoyable sunny afternoon.

The leg home.

The wind shifted to the NE overnight, and then to the NNE as we departed so our sail home was a glorious reach with speeds hitting 15.6 knots.

No gentle stretching this morning. The sun burst into the sky.

Soon after we were home the wind shifted back to the east and started to gust into the mid-20's, so while we were sad the journey was over, we were happy to be snug and secure at home too.

The End


Jim Burgess

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