Sunday, 28 April 2013

No 15/13 Key West

Hi from Clare,                                                     Saturday 27th April 2013


We left Isla Mujeres Mexico Friday 20th to travel 350 miles to Key West Florida. In the first 24 hours we sailed to the north coast of Cuba in a boisterous sea. We had 15-20 knots of breeze forward of the beam. We transited 70 miles across the Gulf Stream and at times had 2-3 knots of current going with us. We saws as much as 9 knots of boat speed but the current flow was not consistent and so the sea became very confused and bouncy. Early Saturday morning we arrived off the north coast of Cuba and enjoyed a very pleasant day’s sail along the coast protected from the wind and current. By nightfall we were running out of wind and the weather forecast was for light conditions. We decided to continue north overnight, crossing the Gulf Stream once again, to arrive in Key West Sunday afternoon. Well what can I say? The weather forecast was wrong and after a few hours out we could hear thunder and see large patches of heavy rain on the radar. Try as we may to dodge the rain we failed. Between midnight and four am we headed into 30 knots of wind, thunder and lightning, pouring rain and waves coming up over the dodger. At 2am at our shift change I was in the cockpit soaking wet and looking like a drowned rat. My darling husband stuck his “dry” head out of the companion way and said “Happy Birthday Sweetheart”


We spent a few days in Key West and celebrated my birthday in fine style. We also enjoyed browsing the shops and wandering the backstreets looking at the well preserved early 19th century homes. Although we were in Key West in 2004, when crewing on Pacific Dream, I remembered very little of the town. So it was good to return and have time to take it all in.
The famous Whistle Bar with clothing optional Garden of Eden Rooftop Bar and the local movie theatre

We had to go out to the airport to check in with customs. The nasty man wouldn’t issue us with a new cruising certificate. Our last cruising certificate was for twelve months and expired on 10 April. Apparently we are not eligible for another certificate until 15 days after the expiry date. It would be helpful if this information was written on the cruising certificate. However it is not so we had applied 12 days after the expiry date and were refused.
One of the Churches and one of the many homes

We are allowed to stay here but we have to physically present ourselves and check in and out of every port along the coast. This is both time consuming and costly. The only way around it is to leave the States check in and out of another country and then re-enter the States. It all seems a bit absurd as the requirement of 15 days after the expiry date is to stop people getting annual cruising certificates without ever leaving the States. We left the States in December and have been out for 4 months; a fine example of bureaucracy at its worst in the land of the free.
Another home and a crazy car


Just to add to our “joy of life” the hose to the forward fresh water tank became detached on our rough crossing to the States. This water tank is under our bunk so anything stored there got wet and we dumped 100 litres of fresh water into the bilge. The boat has been in a state of upheaval once again while we dry everything. Andrew has had his head in the bilge for three days pumping it out and moping up with towels. This is never a quick job because even after the bilge is dry the water still has to come down out of the frame. Some of this happens at anchor with the boat rocking but the job won’t be finished until after our next sail.


We left Key West on Thursday and motored 40 miles east to Marathon. We spent yesterday doing boat chores. We might go into town later today and see if we can find some Wifi. We hope to have favourable winds to leave here on Monday to travel up the east coast.

Love Candy xx