Monday Noon to 16:00 watch

We’ve added a dog watch so that everyone will get a chance to cover all of the watches. That will happen every day from 16:00 to 18:00 and 18:00 to 20:00.

Wonderful day today, the wind has finally picked up and we are easily making 5.5-6kts with a steady 10-15kt breeze. If this keeps up, we should make it to Clear Lake Friday or Saturday at the latest.

Sunday 20:00 – Midnight watch

The waning crescent moon and Mars shining brightly after sunset.  Sorry, it’s difficult to get a steady shot from a sailboat…

The wind has picked up a little and we are back under sail again.  The forecast we are getting says that we should have perfect sailing weather for the next few days.  With any luck, we should be able to make the remaining 511nm in a little over 4 days.

Once again, I am seeing some lightning in the distance, it seems to be a nightly occurrence.

So far, I have been able to find Leo, Virgo, Scorpius, Libra and the Sextans in the sky tonight. The Milky Way is brilliant out here!

We’re currently in the deeper areas of the Gulf of Mexico, the water here is around 10,000 feet deep here.

Sunday 04:00 – 08:00 watch

Because of the extremely light wind, shortly after my last watch we started motoring. Coming on this watch we have now been motoring for the last 11.5 hours. I am concerned that we are burning through the fuel too quickly at the beginning of the journey and will run into issues nearing the end of the trip.

The night is starting out well, bioluminescence and meteors abound! Again there are some storms in the distance, I hope they bring us some wind.

05:00 and the navigation lights on the bow just went out.

Saturday noon – 16:00 watch

After maintaining 7kts overnight, the wind has settled down and we are only making 3-4kts this afternoon.  Calm seas, slightly cloudy skies, and little to no wind. I don’t see a single whitecap in any direction.  We are hoping for more wind in the near future.

Today was laundry day, we washed some of our clothes by dragging them behind the boat for about 20-30 minutes.  We played a few games of cribbage to pass the time.  A container ship passed about 3 miles from us.  That was all of the excitement for this shift.

Our course today is 324° averaging about 3.5kts.

Fort Jefferson and the Dry Tortugas

Fort Jefferson

After another overnight sail, we arrived art Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas.  Wonderful place, I’d love to come back and spend a few days on the hook here.  We spent a couple of hours on the hook, then cast off across the Gulf of Mexico for Texas.

I’m on the 20:00-00:00 shift tonight, I see some thunderstorms off in the distance to the North and some bioluminescence in our wake.  Seas are currently calm and we are making a leisurely ~5kts this evening. Tons of stars out tonight, I’m working on picking out the constellations. I found Pisces, Capricorn, Sagittarius, and Scorpius tonight!

Great food and exemplary service on Stock Island

Hogfish Bar

We made it in to Stock Island, next door to Key West, shortly after daybreak.

On arriving at the dock, we promptly dropped the jib and called Peter at Geslin Sails. He came over within 30 minutes to pick up the sail. 3 hours later he was back with the repaired canvas.

After raising the jib and fueling her, we made our way to the Hogfish Bar. All 4 of us decided on the house speciality, a hogfish sandwich, which was fantastic!

Our next stop was West Marine where we picked up a replacement main outhaul and various other spare parts.

Back on Sun Suite, Captain Tony went up the mast and wrapped the spreaders to prevent another round of damage to the job. We’re didn’t have enough time for laundry, so I guess that we’re going to be prime by the time we arrive in Galveston next week.

The Stock Island Marina was extremely cooperative and helpful while we performed our repairs dockside, I strongly suggest stopping there if you are in the area.

Our destination for the morning is Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortuga’s. Assuming that we get another clear weather forecast in we will be heading out into the Gulf of Mexico on our journey to Galveston. We expect the crossing will take us around 7 days.

Meteor shower

I have the 4-8am morning watch today. We are currently ~10 miles off of Key West, waiting for sunrise before we head in to port for a couple of repairs.

It’s quite nice this morning, I’ve seen at least a dozen meteors so far, they seem to be centered around Capricorn. There’s a small thunderstorm off in the distance that should miss us by a safe distance.

Southbound and down

Norwegian Cruise Line terminal, Port Everglades

We got hit with some heavy weather from the outer bands of tropical storm Elsa so we headed inland and took the protected intracoastal waterway from Fort Lauderdale to Miami. Our captain did not know about the 56′ bridge in Miami. Luckily our mast is 53′ so we cleared that with ease. All of us were quite nervous as we passes under it.

It was after dark when we exited the ditch for the open sea once again. There were multiple cruise ships in Port, and Norwegian Cruise Line has a fantastic terminal that was empty last night.

On our southbound journey we ran across a couple of issues:

  • The main outhaul snapped, we jury rigged it, but need to run a line through the boom to do it right.
  • The lower shroud poked a hole through the jib. We will hand the jib off to the sail maker on Stock Island for what we hope will be a speedy and inexpensive repair.

We plan to pick up some spare parts at West Marine, replace the main outhaul, refuel and top off our tanks while the sail maker works their magic. With any luck, we will be back on our way tomorrow afternoon.

If we can manage a late afternoon departure we should be able to pop in to the Dry Tortuga’s first thing in the morning to explore Fort Jefferson!

Waiting out the storm…

On the dock in Riviera Beach

After Captain Tony joined us in Fort Pierce Friday evening we set forth on our southbound journey.

We had a delightful sail for most of the day Saturday before the wind died just before sunset. Overnight we kept the sails up maintaining record speeds of 0.5-1.5kts in the water. With the Gulf Stream current we had negative speeds over ground on several occasions.

In the morning, we dropped Shelby off at Riviera Beach so that she could catch her flight home.

The storm seems to have weakened a bit, so we are slowly making it way southbound towards the Keys in hopes of siding out into the Gulf of Mexico just after she passes.