Fortune favors the Foolish

Think of all of the nautical sayings you can and then roll them into one. If you boil it all down to the bare essentials, you would settle on “Fortune Favors the Foolish” as the essential messages.

On thursday (I think, we’re on island time) we raised anchor at the Dry Tortugas for a journey back to Key West. We had 12 gallons of gas on board, which is enough for 60 miles (conservativily). The wind was supposed to be out of the southeast and the waves 1-2 with a 3 second period. Well, the wind was due EAST, much more than the 9-13 and the waves, well, they may have been 2 feet in hell! Because of the reefs and rocks you need to enter and exit the harbor during the daylight only. That means we pulled anchor at 7:30am and finally cleared the channels and park boundary bouys around 10. With the waves and winds comming straight from Key West, there was little chance of us making it on the fuel we had, so I chose to head straight across the Gulf to Marco Island. The distance was about 118 total miles. I had estimated 24 hours travel time and gave us a daytime arrival window of  12 hours.   After 26 hours we dropped anchor in Marco Islands, Factory Bay. The waters around the Dry Tortugas were very rough, with the tidal currents causing the waves to be contrary to the wind. We used 2 gallons of gas motorsailing just to clear the area. Once outside of the current and tidal effects the sailing was GREAT! Deep indigo blue water, 1-2 with occasional 3 foot swells (from the right direction!) and sunshine. The crossing went very well until around 2 in the morning when the land effect rain storms began to popup all around us. (This is the fortune favors the foolish part). As the storms were closing in on us from ALL directions the heat lightening was fantastic. A sane person might say “Dude, Thats Bad!” but the lightening never struck at ground level. Which meant that there wouldnt be big winds and seas. One of the things I have learned  about being on the water in storms is that if there is surface to ground lightening then the wind is kicked up very quickly and that drives the waves. But, if the lightening remains at cloud level (heat lightening) the wind and seas are not effected. So lucky for us all we had to deal with the heavy rains. Since we were 45 miles off the coast of Marco Island I put the boat on autopilot and retired to the dryness of the cabin. This drove lesa crazy because I wasnt watching where we were going, but hey, Its 45 miles to the coast, 2am, raining like crazy, what are the chances of another fool boater being in exactly the same place we were? Needless to say it rained all the way to the outer channel marker when it stopped the dinghy was half full of water everything on deck was soaked (even a plastic garbage bag was loaded with water). We enterd Capri pass at Marco Island and motored for an anchorage at Factory Bay. As soon as the anchor was down and set I took off all of my clothes and passed out in the v-berth. Stick me with a fork…I was done!

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