Our friend Maurie from Syracuse came to visit and inexplicably, she seemed to bring warm weather with her. For her visit, Key West offered its signature sun, gentle breezes AND warmth! Unfortunately, all weather predictions indicated it would not remain beautiful for very long nor once gone, would good cruising weather return anytime soon. Our month’s space in the marina would end the day Maurie was scheduled to leave, and our spot was already taken by a sailboat coming for the impending Key West Sailing Regatta. Thus, we had to think seriously about leaving early… while Maurie was still with us. For a non-boater, Maurie had the chance for her very first cruise… But that meant being on the boat (and not on land)…. all day… for two days…. After some consideration, she decided she’d rather travel on Sojourner than follow along on US 1, either in the Keys shuttle or driving our car. The predicted weather window for the two-day trip back to Key Largo was glorious, and we just knew her very first cruise would be one to remember! We-l-l… It was, but not exactly for the reasons we assumed!!
On the first day out, we knew almost immediately the weather would not live up to the predictions: a thick cloud cover hung stubbornly in the sky, while the swells were larger (significantly), the wind was stronger (by alot), and the temperature, much lower than expected- It got better as we traveled, but being on the water just wasn’t at all comfortable for most of the day- Often, we ask guest cruisers to assume responsibility for the “Comment” section of the daily log, and that day’s entry read in part:
“Somehow- I have no clue how- we entered into waters near Antarctica. Climate change is a reality; we saw ice caps… Lost two toes to frost bite, but they were ones I wanted to get rid of anyway…!”
The weather had moderated some by the time we began our “moat approach” to the Hawks Cay resort, and an uneventful night there brought an end to a difficult day. Luckily, the second day of the trip more than made up for the discomfiture of the first. In fact, it was our best cruising day EVER! The seas were glassy, the wind, but a gentle breeze, and the sun, soft and warm- We were tempted to stop the boat and jump off for a swim- seriously!! And Maurie decided she just might try cruising with us again sometime!
Because her adventuresome spirit overcame what turned out to be well-founded trepidation, Maurie got to see not only Key West but Duck Key and Key Largo as well. A delicious stone crab claw dinner and a glass bottom boat trip to the reefs just beyond Key Largo finished off her visit in fine, if unexpected, fashion!
Hopefully this slideshow will provide some sense of the two-day trip: