February 27, 2011
Dear Friends and Family,
I was thinking of my Mom just now. She and my Dad used to travel with my sister and her husband in an RV for a good part of the winter. Every time they were ready to move on from one spot to the next, it was Mom’s job to say “On the road again.” Well, we are not on the “road” but we are underway heading south west toward Mexico.
We made the decision to leave the Dry Tortugas this morning but it took some time to get the boat ready as we wanted to add fuel to the tank and get the boat secured. Russ really has been the driving force behind making decisions of course and when to sail. He is also a pilot and really understands currents and wind in a way we don’t. We are mostly set a route on the GPS and go type sailors and so we are learning a lot.
We don’t know when we will make it in for sure because it depends so much on how fast we can go and on this trip is is more centered around wind and current than most times. We are hoping to be in the Yucatan channel by Tuesday but may not arrive Isla Mujeres until about midnight that night. It is an after dark arrival again but having been there before and Russ having been in several times, we feel that the wide open anchorage is an easier task at night than the one we had getting in to the Dry Tortugas. I may not write much during the passage if at all, so you can keep track of us on the link.
We didn’t really do as much exploring yesterday as we could have as we thought we would be there yet today but it only means a good excuse to come back. We did have a tour of the fort and found it very interesting. The fort was never used for warfare and actually, never finished. True to form for many of these places, it was not a pleasant place to be assigned and also full of disease. The cistern, which was a brilliant design originally cracked under the weight of the fort as it settled more than anticipated. The cracks allowed the salt water from the mote to enter the cistern along with the garbage and human waste that went in to the mote. Needless to say, the drinking water was contaminated and they didn’t understand the trouble for awhile.
Several rangers and civilian staff and families live on the island. The tour guide is the wife of the man hired to run and fix all the engines on the island. There are 10 of them and I guess it keeps him quite busy. They have 10 days on the island and 4 days off in Key West. Housing in both places is provided but not luxury. They do enjoy the views though and you can see why. The wife is hired by the sea plane company to give tours to their passengers and there are about 3 or 4 groups during the day from that. The boat that comes, has their own tour guides and those people stay on the island for the bulk of the day.
There is easy snorkeling right off the beach here but we didn’t take advantage of that. We are from Florida and thus don’t want cold water any more! The island that has all the birds is off limits so we didn’t walk there.
If we had stayed today, we would have taken the dinghy the 3 miles to Loggerhead key and walked that beach. There is a beautiful light house there but it is closed for us to go to the top.
The fort had one really famous or maybe infamous prisoner. Dr. Mudd of the the Abraham Lincoln assassination fame was held here. After the doctor for the island died during a yellow fever epidemic, Dr. Mudd took over and was later granted a pardon for his work at the fort. He served, I think, it was 6 years, before being released.
We all sort of just rested up after the afternoon. We both napped so stayed up to watch a movie but had a good sleep in this morning. Shortly, we will listen to Herb and see if we can get him today. We had a bad connection yesterday. We are hoping he will give us a good report that agrees with the other weather we were getting.
Unfortunately, we usually rely on Chris Parker but wouldn’t you know it, he left Friday until March 4 for vacation and yesterday Steve couldn’t get through to the substitute so we don’t have much help there.
We are following Chat-Eau with not much wind but a current pushing us. We have one engine on. It could be that way for awhile. With more miles than anticipated and more of it motoring than anticipated, we are glad we put on the extra 30 or so gallons in jerry jugs before leaving home.
Unless things change again, we hope to be in by Wednesday or very late Tuesday. Will tell you all about it then!
Rob and Sue
On the road again!
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