Although the name Best (on my fathers side) is English, the other side of my ancestry (my mothers side) is Dwyer, originally O'Dwyer, each year I celebrate St. Patrick's day out of respect for my mother and her heritage. I hope you enjoy this Bagpipe rendition of Amazing Grace. Erin go Bragh, the English translation...Éireann go Brách, the Gaelic translation, meaning Ireland forever.
Friday morning five Catboats set out from different Ports to meet at Nest Key, the first leg of an overnight that would see four Catboats participate. As scheduled, the five little craft arrived one by one for an afternoon of sailing, lunch on the beach and swimming.
I was the first to arrive, then came Roland followed by a chap named Wavy Davy, then Karl and shortly after, Rick and Mary in their Sandpiper, Sea Bean.
After much picture taking, consulting the Chart and eating lunch, the four Sanderlings set out for an afternoon sail with Alligator Bay as our selected anchorage for the night. We had all tied in one reef, for the wind was about 15Kts., the reef proved to be the correct choice it made for fast as well as comfortable sailing.
On the way to Alligator Bay we had to sail through a narrow cut in a sandbar, while doing so, with four boats in convoy, a Flats fisherman decided to come through at the same time. Rather than see if two vessels could occupy the same space, I decided to fall off my course so that he could pass; that is when Lee Marie, my stout little vessel, found bottom. Stopping short on the flats in about six inches of water, I immediately dropped sail and jumped into the water in an effort to turn her bow into the wind so I could push her off the bar. I was not surprised by what happened next, as I contacted the bottom I instantly sank up to my waist in silty, gooey, clay like mud. Sinking so deep into the mud, I was unable to move Lee Marie by myself. After some considerable time in the water, while pushing and watching my companions sailing around, I saw some hope, Wavy Davy had moored to a mangrove bush in good water and was preparing to come to my aid in his Kayak.
Arriving on the scene, Davy, after getting used to the muddy conditions, and I were able to re float Lee Marie. I jumped aboard started my little 2.5 Hp. motor and got through the cut. I couldn't have done it alone, thanks Davy!
Underway at last, we sailed straight for Alligator Bay, our anchorage for the night. With all boats safely anchored, we joined Karl on his boat for Hors D'oeuvres and believe it or not, freshly prepared Margaritas. Karl, has an inverter on board his boat so he can change 12 volts to 110. His blender spun out batch after batch, without a hitch. Now that we had consumed several adult beverages and gulped down some cheese and crackers, we all went back to our respective boats, mosquito time was nearing fast, you definitely want to be buttoned up before they arrive on the scene.
Morning came soon enough and again we all convened on Karl's boat for freshly brewed coffee and apple pancakes. This time, however, my handy little propane stove did the trick, Karl's inverter would not handle the griddle pan.
Up anchor, we're off for the trip home, when we were about half way home, Karl and Davy veered off on their own course which would take them to their destination, Roland and I, on the other hand, stayed our course and had a great last leg of our overnight sail. Arriving home, a jump in the Bay followed by a shower and something to eat capped off the day.
Here is a short slide show to give you the felling of our overnight sail.
If you want to view the video on full screen, start the video then go to view on You Tube, then click on the full screen Icon.
This photo could have been taken in the early 1900's, however it was taken two days ago. More and more Catboats are coming to the Fl. Keys to enjoy the shallow water sailing in the Everglades National Park and the pristine Fl. Bay.
It seems like yesterday that I arrived in the Keys for the winter, in reality it has been five months. Time does indeed fly, in fifty six days I will begin my journey back to New Jersey where I will spend six months there, hanging around the Barnegat Bay and Beaton Boat Works. Yard work will start in earnest the day after I arrive, fertilize the lawn, mow the grass, weed, prune and fix things that have suffered from the winter weather. I hope that since the winter was relatively mild, there won't be many weather related repairs.
In the meantime I still find time to enjoy the sunsets and marvel how they change every night. Last night was no different, as these photos depict.