So we are still in Marathon. It has been less suitable weather to make an escape to the Bahamas since we showed up here, and as such we sit and wait. We have had a good time here. Almost 2 weeks ago we moved the boat into an anchorage area inside Boot Key harbor due to some really nasty winds set to be upon us the following day. We barely were able to squeeze Pepper in amongst the other boats that apparently had the same idea as us. We managed to get the anchor set right away and nestled Pepper perfectly (but very close) in between a few boats with just enough room to swing on the anchor.
The following morning, early, we were awakened by shouting outside. The wind had picked up during the night and catamaran upwind of us was dragging anchor and bearing down on a small sailboat very close by to Pepper. They managed to get untangled from each other and re-anchored. The rest of the morning was brought to us by lots of wind (someone in the harbor said 50 knots but I doubt it was quite that strong) and rain. I made coffee and sat in the companionway under the dodger watching the storm. I was very confident in our ground tackle after seeing it hold Pepper through much worse than this, but with the catamaran dragging anchor so quickly fresh on my mind, I kept a lookout mostly for other boats that might break free as well. (See video)
I have to add here that the anchor and related equipment on your boat are one of the very most important things to have squared away. This makes a huge difference in being able to sleep at night and not panic when it is blowing 50 kts. Here in Boot Key the holding ground is not the best and due to that LOTS of boats drag anchor. Pepper came with a 55lb Rocna anchor and 200ft of 3/8 chain. This arrangement combined with a bridle, which is basically two lines ran from a point on the anchor chain up to two cleats on the bow, has not dragged once on the trip down here, nor in the Keys. Anyways good ground tackle is the best and cheapest insurance you can have on your boat.
We have met some great people here. Brandon, who is right next door to us in the anchorage, has been very helpful and its been great getting to know him. It has been really interesting seeing how many younger (and I mean 30’s or so) people there are living on boats down here. We had a great dinner with another young couple and Brandon on board Pepper, and then were invited over to Brandon’s boat, Aloha, for supper a few nights later. It seems like a lot of people here come anchor expecting to spend a few weeks and end up here for much, much longer. I sure hope that isn’t us. 😉
Anyways, the weather just might be ok this weekend and allow us to make a run to Bimini in the Bahamas. I have to say we are both very excited. It is crazy being here and actually ready to make the jump to another country. I know Bimini isn’t that far but it sure does feel like the gateway to the real adventure. We have spent a lot of time money and energy to get to this point and it really feels great to know that we and Pepper are ready for the trip. Everything is working so well on the boat right now that I am hesitant to even mention it! All the leaks are fixed. Every electrical system is working, the diesel engine is running fantastically, the dinghy outboard is running great, the Yamaha generator is working perfect, the wind generator and solar are doing their job, and to top it off the watermaker is running flawlessly. In fact, it has topped off our water tanks. I can’t think of anything I need to fix or add to the boat right now. (I know for a fact this will change.) We are really blessed to have had such a great experience so far and to have the boat working how it is. It is true there have been a few #@%! moments on the way down but all in all I think we are very fortunate. All that hard work of working on the boat back in Mobile Alabama really has paid off. Keep your fingers crossed and hopefully the next blog post is from the Bahamas!!!!!