Day 5: By-the-wind sailor

Published: April 27th 2010
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Capturing the tiltCapturing the tiltCapturing the tilt

Note how far-off horizontal the boat is against the horizon!
Good-bye Marathon! Our departure is much less eventful than the arrival. We set sail in full daylight and before hitting the open ocean, we pull up to the nautical gas-station, people at fore and aft holding ropes to tie us to the dock. The manager of the dilapidated station jokes to the boys about how lucky they are to have a boat full of women and points out the water hose. We’re feeling rested and plucky, ready to try our luck again on the Trade Wind.
We decide that it’s a day for snorkeling and aim for a tall rig that marks out shallows known for good snorkeling. But by the time we get out there, the wind has picked up and the waves begin to slide and bounce and jostle us around. We anchor at a buoy bobbing small near the rig; a line of crab boats are further beyond. All of the Keys seem to be good crab habitat; we have passed crab pots (beaten, blackened wire cages) every twenty minutes during our trip.
Too rough for snorkeling and too rough for most people’s stomachs. I move myself toward the prow and ride the waves, leaning forward

One of the tinier blue creatures (captured only briefly in the bucket)
and back with the pitches, putting me in mind of riding a horse or a motorcycle where you let loose of your body and find the rhythm moving the world at that moment. I could do this for hours on end. But sea-sickness is twisting my companions’ stomachs and so we move on.
The hours while by as we set our course for Bahia Honda which James has been to before. We keep catching glimpses of strange blue creatures in the water. Mollusk-esque things with blue fins, some tiny as a finger, others as big as my hand, floating past us. Kristy takes the bucket (that had once served to bail us out…literally) and manages to snag one of the blue traffic. (After the trip, Lauren looks up the creatures for us and they turn out to be cnidarians, commonly called by-the-wind sailor or velella.) We see dolphins a couple of times, near and far, but the thrill barely sets in before they are gone. More reading, more sunbathing, this time in bikinis, jackets bundled below-deck.
Bahia Honda is nestled in between the current four lane highway and the remnants of an early 20th century highway, now dismantled
Sea lifeSea lifeSea life

Absorbed by the tiny sailor
in one part to let boats under. Palm trees, beach huts, RVs. I grab the chance to hoist the Jolly Roger I’ve tucked in my bag, all the way from California, on loan from two friends who insisted we take it with us. I was only too glad to oblige. We giggle and take pictures of the flapping skull-and-crossbones with the words “Surrender the booty” emblazoned on it. Dinner followed by Boggle at which Lauren tromps us shamelessly.

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Kate & LeoKate & Leo
Kate & Leo

This needed to happen at some point on a sailing trip...

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