Our primary task in Fort Lauderdale was preventative work on Dreaming On. Trying to premeditate all the work that might be required over the next year in Belize, either by doing the job now, or in finding the spares we might need later. All this on the basis that it will be far more difficult and expensive to find bits and fix things in Belize.
So after 4 weeks of very intense work on Dreaming On, we finally left Ft. Lauderdale on 13th August, heading for Key West (170NM) and then on to Belize, another 600NM.
We stayed close to shore heading down past Miami to stay out of the northerly flow of the Gulfstream and found wind and quite a good southerly counter current to help us.
The trip down to the Keys is always a choice between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea! The Devil being the thousands of crab trap markers, (small, multi-coloured floats attached to baskets on the sea floor), which are everywhere in the Hawks Channel, which runs between the shore and the outer reef in about 20’-30’ of water. Each line of a particular colour of floats belonging to one fisherman may be 150’ apart or so, but then there are other colours criss crossing that line. So it’s like navigating through a minefield. Great concentration, observation and a lot of hand-steering required, especially while sailing.
The Deep Blue Sea is the water outside the outer reef, which has no fish trap markers, but is in the northerly flow of the Gulfstream. We chose the Devil and sailed the Hawk Channel in daylight only.
Now we have had many types of bird visitors finding their way on board in our various journeys. All looking for rest and water, but the most amazing visitor so far came aboard on this trip. A bright green baby Iguana! Iza opened the anchor locker as we were about to leave our overnight stop at Newfound Bay heading to Key West and there he was lying on the anchor chain! Iguanas swim very well, so we can only assume that he came up the anchor chain. There were very strong currents where we were anchored, so maybe he stopped for a rest.
As we were too far offshore to drop him off, we took him with us the Key West, then dropped him off at an uninhabited island there. Hope he has a happy new life!
Now we are almost ready to leave for our 600NM hop to Belize, but keeping a close eye on Tropical Storm Danny, out there in the Atlantic, but maybe heading through west Cuba next week. Our route takes us around western Cuba!