logo

 May  - June 2012

Mike and Ashley in St. John 

During May and early June, we savored the last days of our cruising life. Scuba diving for lobsters, hiking, and snorkeling were on the agenda as much as possible. We have always tried to enjoy each day and the wonderful lifestyle in which we lived, but it was foremost on our minds during this month.

In early May our daughter Ashley and her husband Mike joined us for a short visit onboard. This was their third visit to Livin the Dream and their second visit to the Virgin Islands. Ashley and Mike stopped in the Virgin Islands on their honeymoon cruise aboard one of the big cruise liners.  

Hi Kids

We all enjoyed snorkeling in the beautiful Virgin Island waters and gathering conch for our dinner. They were also impressed with St. John’s great hiking trails providing a glimpse into St. John’s wildlife, history and beautiful views of the surrounding islands. We were entertained by the latest “artwork” on Drunk Bay in St. John. Mike and Ashley left a tribute on the beach to their three kids: Lincoln (5), Ruby (3), and Calvin (1) who were visiting with Aunt Courtney and family while Mom and Dad were on vacation. Mike was certified to scuba dive several years ago but had never been diving in the ocean. We were able to give Mike and Ashley a quick taste of scuba diving so they could experience the underwater world for longer than a few seconds using a snorkel.


Drunk Bay art

It was a great, but short visit with Mike and Ashley. After their departure we did laundry, last minute shopping and topped up our fuel tank preparing for our trip to Florida. At 6:00 am the day after Mike and Ashley left, we set sail for the Turks and Caicos. The wind forecast was for 10 - 12 knots, so we were expecting a nice sail. The wind wasn’t as strong as predicted, but we used the engine very little since we didn’t want to purchase fuel until we arrived in Florida. Squalls were predicted, but we had very little rain and fairly calm conditions. After 80 hours and 450 miles we anchored at beautiful French Cay in the Turks and Caicos. The birds were our only neighbors for the night and we had a peaceful and restful night at anchor.


 
Sunset sky after the green flash 

We had hoped to rest for a couple of days in the Turks and Caicos before continuing on to Marathon, Florida. The next leg of our journey would require at least 96 hours and we had to wait for a week in the Turks and Caicos until we had a forecast of at least 96 hours of good weather. We were waiting for a weather system to pass across our intended route. As that weather system moved north, it eventually became Tropical Storm Beryl. It was difficult to wait for so long in the Turks and Caicos, but our patience was rewarded with clear and calm weather throughout the entire trip to Marathon. There was little or no wind for sailing, so we motored for most of the trip. We arrived in Marathon just at sunrise on Tuesday, May 29 after a 617 mile, 96 hour trip.



Our passage from Turks and Caicos to Marathon took us south of the Bahamas and north of Cuba via the Old Bahama channel. We could see a few of the remote islands of The Bahamas and Cuba as we traveled. The trip was very uneventful. We were treated to a beautiful green flash at sunset one evening and beautiful colors at sunrise and sunset each day. We tried our luck at fishing and lost two lures, but gained no fish during the trip.  

Sunset at seven mile bridgeThere was less activity in Marathon in late May than during our last visit in December 2010 and January 2011 (see January 2011). This is a great facility for boaters in Boot Key Harbor and it was a wonderful place to rest up for a few days and wait for more inclement weather to pass before concluding our journey. We took advantage of the public bus system and visited Key West one day. The unusual personalities of Key West are always a great source of entertainment and we weren’t disappointed.

After a five day visit in Marathon, a forecast of clearing weather allowed us to make the final leg of our journey. We spent our final night at anchor just outside Boot Key Harbor and enjoyed a pre-sunset visit from a couple of dolphin. At sunrise on Sunday June 3 we raised the anchor, sailed through the Moser Channel under the Seven Mile Bridge into the Gulf of Mexico and headed toward Boca Grande Pass. Water is shallow in this section of the Gulf of Mexico and we didn’t see water depths over 10 feet for the first four hours of the trip. In fact, we never saw depths over 60 feet at any time in the Gulf of Mexico. There was no wind so we had a calm day of motoring across Florida Bay.

At sunrise the following day we approached the channel to Boca Grande Pass. As we neared Gasparilla Island, we had to dodge dozens of boats fishing for tarpon in the pass. The water was roiling with tarpon and boats were only inches apart as the anglers competed for one of the most coveted sportsman catches. We motor sailed north through Charlotte Harbor toward our home in Punta Gorda.

On Monday, June 4 just before noon we tied up at our canal dock behind our home after logging 1,274 nautical miles since St. Thomas.  The past seven years have given us a wonderful life. We have traveled almost 20,000 nautical miles, visited 29 countries and territories, shared our life with visiting family and friends, met wonderful people, and made treasured lifelong friends. We will miss the cruising life and hope that we can find an interesting and rewarding life as we return to land. Livin the Dream will be just a few feet from our door and we hope to continue to enjoy her for short trips. We aren’t selling the boat so if land life doesn’t agree with us we may be back out there cruising.

Our new home


 

It is almost mid-July as we post this very belated last log. Ann has been dragging her feet, just not willing to admit that we are leaving our cruising life for a while. We have moved into our home and are slowly getting settled. There are just as many projects for us to tackle on the house as we had on the boat, but we aren’t getting very excited about getting any of them completed.

Thanks for following our adventures and Livin the Dream with us.