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Pick up the tempo just a little bit and take it on home . . .

…gonna pack my bag a little heavy this time, gonna head my ass back home…I’ll see you in Nashville, if you ever get out that way. I’ll see you around, around my hometown. -c. robison

Nick has been full of song lyrics about heading home lately. We have decided to list Night Music in preparation for our next adventures. We love our floating home and have really enjoyed our time with her these last couple years.

Here’s the listing – please feel free to share and help us find a good home for her.

Night Music’s listing

Nick, Stacy & Ethan

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Catching up . . . Ft. Meyers to Destin

I’m a bit behind on my postings. We’ve been moving quickly up the west coast of Florida and across the panhandle. We’re hanging out in Destin since Sunday with visiting family and friends arriving tomorrow and this weekend. Once we leave Destin we are two days away from Mobile where we will get prepared to travel up the rivers.

We left Ft. Meyers and traveled north on the ICW with our cruising buddies on sv Silver Lining. We met them in Ft. Meyers, but figured out we’ve been traveling right around each other for quite a while and have many mutual cruising friends. We anchored in a small cove just north of Boca Grande then left early the next morning to tackle the 11 bascule/swing bridges in our 50 miles to Tampa Bay, anchoring by De Soto National Park. We stayed for two nights and were able to catch up with our friend DeWayne there, enjoying a great breakfast and the ride to the store to pick up a few items (Thanks DeWayne!!)

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From Tampa Bay we traveled on the ICW originally set for Clearwater, but decided to continue on to Tarpon Springs. We got settled just as the bottom fell out. We docked right downtown, ordered pizza and settled in for some rest! We and sv Silver Lining waited for a good weather window for an overnight passage across to the panhandle. The weather didn’t pan out exactly, so we motored the entire way. The Gulf was as calm as a mill pond and the moon was full and bright. It was beautiful!!!

It was hard to believe and a bit bittersweet that this was our last overnight of our adventure. So funny how time flies and how different our perspective is after a year + of experience. While on my watch, I saw about nine ‘flairs’ off the port bow. I called Nick up, called Silver Lining to see if they saw it as well, then we called the Coast Guard. We veered off coarse for a couple miles just in case, but then let the Coast Guard know we were continuing on our original coarse. We looked on the chart and noticed a firing range located in the same direction as the ‘flairs’ we saw and decided that it would be difficult and less likely for someone to shoot that many flairs. Turns out it was a firing drill and we were relieved to know there was not someone out there in distress!

As the sun rose we made landfall and continued up the panhandle in the ICW for another 40 miles. We stopped at a free dock just off the ICW in White City. We were all exhausted, but happy to have made so many miles. Later that afternoon we met some folks that live right down the street. They always like to visit with the cruisers and were very interested to here where we and Silver Lining have traveled. They graced us with amazing southern hospitality, bringing their Low Country Boil to the dock to share with us!! It was delicious.

We took our time the next morning, traveled to Port St. Joe then out in the Gulf to Panama City Beach. We stayed for two nights, then off to Destin. We saw many of the Spotted Atlantic Dolphins and two sea turtles. Nick has still been unlucky with the MahiMahi but caught around 10 Little Tunny . . . known as a sport fish, but not really for eating. We had also hoped for some Spanish Mackerel since they were supposed to be ‘running’ but no such luck.

Here in Destin Ethan has immensely enjoyed time with his Aunt Beth and his Nanna and Grandaddy. We’ve spent time at the beach, the pool and visited the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola. I’ve enjoyed sleeping in a regular sized bed and being in air conditioning.

The weather forecast looks like it might clear up enough for us to move on Monday so until then we’ll enjoy our time here visiting and enjoying the beach for a bit longer!

Marathon to Ft. Meyers

Another overnight ticked off the list! We left Marathon Tuesday morning around 8:30 am and arrived in Ft. Meyers Beach Wednesday morning around 9 am. All in all we only burned 9 gallons of diesel which is a far cry better than our trip south. The morning contained a bit of motor sailing, but once we got out from the keys a bit we had a great sail. In the afternoon the wind completely died and it got hot. We motored, then motor-sailed for the evening while we could see all the crab pots, then cut the engine and sailed for the rest of the night. The wind picked up around 10 pm with some squall activity, but we luckily didn’t get much rain from it. We reefed early before dark and settled into our shifts. At one point with a double reef and a bit of a jib we were making almost 7 knots! We slowed the boat way down so we would not reach Ft. Meyers before daybreak and made our way in the darkness. We felt much better about this trip than the southern portion. 

Today we’ll travel north to the Boca Grande area, then hoping to make it to Tampa the next day and get to see a friend there. Should be a fairly easy run and will be different to run the ICW for a bit again.

 

 

Marathon Fun

Time simply flies in Marathon. It is easily one of those places you could wind up staying for months and months. We’ve been here for over a week running errands and getting boat projects done. We also took a day with a rental car and visited the Everglades National Park and an Alligator Farm. I remember doing this as a kid and hoped it would be as fun for Ethan. The trip was a success and Ethan loved the ‘cute’ baby alligators and the air-boat ride. We also made a stop at a great produce stand to stock up on some local veggies.

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Marathon has also been a place of reunions. We arrived at the dingy dock to sign in with the office, stepped onto the dock and heard “Ethan!” To our supprise it was the Young family from Nashville! We had met them just before we left. With turns of events, they were able to turn their 5-year cruising plan into a year and are here in Marathon gearing up for their next big move! You can see their blog here: Young Family Adventure

We also wound up mooring very close to friends on sv Grace who we met in St. Augustine this past fall. It has been very fun to catch up with them and discuss all the adventures we’ve each had since November. And we’ve met many more great folks including sv Moon, sv Yellowbird, and sv CatCall . . . It is one of the things we love most about cruising.

We should be here at least until Monday. We’re waiting on a good weather window to make our jump up to Fort Meyers. This is a leg of the adventure we look forward to visiting again with all the experience gained from the last year. It wasn’t our best leg on our way south – weather turned, larger seas than expected, wind directly on the nose, our bow pulpit breaking up in about 3 or 4 hours and then finally the engine overheating, conversations with the Coast Guard and a long tow into Marathon.  Looking back we learned a lot, but we kind of feel like we owe this one : )

 

 

Back in the U.S.A

We made some miles since our last post . . . Traveling 200 miles from Spanish Wells, Nassau, across the Tongue of the Ocean, the Great Bahama Bank and the Gulf Stream landing back in Miami. Then another 100 miles down Hawks Channel to Marathon, FLA. We arrived a few days ago and plan to stay here for another few working on some projects and catching our breath before we continue North with some overnight passages.

We had a fantastic sail from Nassau onto the bank. We left Nassau Harbor at about 9 am motor sailed until noon then shut the motor and sailed at 6+ knots for the next 10 hours. We finally dropped the hook about 25 miles onto the bank. It was very peaceful as we dropped our sails to slow our speed, then dropped anchor and drifted back with the wind. (This is the first time we have sailed into anchor!!) The last two hours we had family movie night in the cockpit as we sailed along. We were all bundled in fleeces, blankets and sleeping bags . . . snug and comfy!

The next morning we woke fairly early to travel the last 40 miles across the bank and anchor behind Cat Cay to prep for our Gulf Stream Crossing. The Gulf Stream Crossing went uneventfully, but we motor sailed the 50 miles across. Was not the most comfortable ride, but we made good time and arrived before 5pm to Dinner Key (Coral Gable’s area). We called customs and were given 24 hrs to arrive for an in person interview and gain our status back. We got a good night’s sleep, and set off to experience the Miami transit system.  Five buses, three trains and a two mile walk across and back on a 67 ft bridge later we had our permission to be back on US soil. The actual interview took only about 20 minutes, but with travel time, etc. it took the good part of a day.

Our trip south from Dinner Key in Hawks Channel took two days and was 100 miles of great sailing! We are glad to be back in the States and in the familiarity of Marathon.