Tuesday 3rd December, St Augustine, Florida
We’ve been here since yesterday morning having motored down the ICW from Fernandina Beach. When we left St Mary’s last Friday morning it was blowing hard from the north and the temperature was somewhere around 10 C (50 F). The mooring field in Fernandina Beach was completely exposed to the wind so we spent 24 hours sheltering round the corner in a creek. It was no less blowy or warmer when wqe left on Saturday afternoon to do a short trip of 15Nm to cross Nassau sound, on the ICW. On our way north we had run aground on this stretch so decided to go with as much tide under us as we could manage. In the event there was no problem and we anchored just south of the sound to spend a chilly Saturday night waiting for the wind to die down. I thought it was always warm in Florida!
Sunday was a long motor south towards St Augustine and after another night at anchor we arrived here mid-morning yesterday. Although we’d only planned to spend one night here its such a nice city we decided not to rush and stay for two. We’ve done our laundry and grocery shopping and after filling the boat with fresh water will be off south again in the morning. The weather is warm, at long last, and should remain so for at least a few days. I’ve actually been wearing shorts and a T shirt again, unheard of since September.
Monday 30th December, Key West, Florida
Well, our sojourn in the USA is about to end. We are leaving here this afternoon and travelling to Cuba via the Dry Tortugas. For the last couple of weeks we have been entertaining Sheryl’s mum, Judith and her husband, Terry on board. I’m not sure they knew what they were letting themselves in for but they both survived and there were no big splashes as they got in and out of the dinghy! As well as Judith and Terry we have been joined by our eldest daughter, Rachel and her friend Matt Speak. They have been muttering about a guest blog spot but haven’t produced anything yet, too busy enjoying themselves. We bought a boat that would sleep four comfortably and six at a pinch, its been a pinch for the last couple of weeks!
Since they all joined us in Fort Lauderdale over the weekend of 13 December we have cruised slowly down the Florida Keys to our current location. We spent Christmas in Marathon and were royally welcomed by fellow Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) member Harry Keith and his wife Melinda. We all went out to eat on 23rd, Judith and Terry seemed quite impressed with a couple of similar ages (77 ish) who are still sailing. One of the major benefits of the OCC is the members network and we have been helped a couple of times whilst in Florida. They also have a very snappy burgee!
Terry and Judith left us yesterday for the long journey back to the UK. Matt and Rachel are with us until 11th January when they will fly from Cuba to Nassau to Charlotte to London – rather them than me!
Our plan for the next couple of months is to cruise the south coast of Cuba and take some excursions inland to see more of the country.