Friday, December 24, 2010

Still in Florida !

Key Biscayne, FL
No Name Harbor 25 40.55 N 080 9.70 W

Merry Xmas to our friends and family!  Yes…. we are still in Florida!

We have spent the past 2 weeks waiting for a favorable weather window to cross. The strong cold fronts that have impacted the southeast US & Florida over the past 2-3 weeks have made it difficult to get any favorable weather windows for a Gulf Stream crossing to the Bahamas. We need to cross in either no winds or winds from a southerly to westerly angle. North & east winds produce steep waves against the Gulf Stream current. What happens in the winter down here is a cold front pushes south bringing strong northerly winds for 4-5 days before they gradually clock around. Favorable departure windows have just been too narrow. After spending almost a week in Key Biscayne sitting out a front in No Name Harbor we decided we needed a change in venue and traveled down to Tarpon Basin (25 7.59N, 080 25.15W) in Key Largo to wait out the passage of yet another cold front. Overnight temps were in the low 40’s and day temps in the low 60’s for a few days. As the front cleared and winds clocked into the southeast a short weather window was opened and we made an attempt to cross the Gulf Stream last Thursday. We departed through Angelfish Creek (25 20.11N, 080 15.40W) early Thursday morning but after bashing into winds / waves on our bow for 4 miles we turned around. We returned to No Name Harbor in Key Biscayne frustrated with the waiting and agonizing over “go or no-go” each time. So we decided to take yet a different approach and go to Key West for New Year's with hope that weather patterns change afterwards. After making that decision we heard from Kathy’s son and daughter in law that they would like to spend Christmas week through New Year’s with us. They will be flying into West Palm Beach and renting a car to meet up with us so we decided to wait around the greater Miami area through Christmas until they arrive on Sun. 12/26. Since we have time and sailed past Miami on our way south we decided to backtrack a bit and check out Miami Beach. We spent 3 days in protected Sunset Harbor (25 47.98N, 080 8.43W) which made it very easy to do some exploring and people watching in South Beach. We returned back to No Name Harbor earlier this week for our third stay. There are many other cruisers in our same predicament waiting for a crossing window so we have a small community of cruisers here and have made many new friends. Today is Christmas Eve and we will spend it here with other cruisers. There is a possible crossing window tomorrow that some of the other folks are considering. We will head back to Miami tomorrow before taking a slip at Miamarina in downtown Miami (25 46.72N, 080 11.14W) on Sunday to prepare for Jay and Veronica’s arrival. There is yet another strong cold front coming in for Sunday into Tuesday. We'll sail down through the Keys for New Year's Eve in Key West together. After that…who knows.

We wish you all a great holiday as well and a healthy and happy New Year!!! Mark & Kathy
The original African Queen parked
dockside in Key Largo

All kinds of pets on other folks boats!

Mango enjoying some
Christmas egg nog & brandy

Mike Taylor 
Solo sailing for over 32 years on
"Wind and the Willows"

Art deco hotels of South Beach

Allan & Mary from S/V Mystical

Miami skyline from Biscayne Bay

Merry Christmas All !

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