Friday, April 1, 2016

From Key West Back to FMY

Leaving Galleon Marina
While we certainly wanted to stay longer (we did extend by a day), on Thursday we departed Key West and headed back to Fort Myers….our month of April is chock full of activities which are prerequisites for our May-to-November cruising plans, so even in retirement priorities still matter.

Departing Key West
We waited to depart Key West as long as the Galleon Marina would let us – which turned out to be noon – since we didn’t want to arrive at Fort Myer’s narrow river entrance until first light.  We still had to throttle back to make that happen given the following winds, seas and currents.  But just as with the trip down, the voyage back north was in great weather, warm and clear with smooth seas.

Osprey Navy Landing on the Bow Rail
About 50 miles north of Key West, just after sunset, we were strafed and then boarded by a Florida Osprey….he was basically in the middle of nowhere and apparently needed a rest.  I snapped a few quick pictures, assuming he’d be gone in a matter of seconds.  Wrong.  He perched on various bow rail locations until well after dark, giving us a new hood ornament for about an hour, and giving him less distance to cover to landfall.  We hope he judged his range accurately, although truthfully their
range is roughly equal to Ghost Rider’s.
Osprey Hitches a Ride

When it got dark, it got very dark….moonrise wasn’t until after 0200, so it was pretty much like boating inside an ink bottle -- I do love both of our Furuno radars.

The boat generally performed well once again during the 21 hour overnight run.  We had to reset the inverter during startup (with Martin’s help) when it threw an overcurrent error, and had to replace a couple of navigation light bulbs underway that failed at precisely the wrong time, but those were minor annoyances.  The only big issue was when two of the six big AGM house batteries started to heat up (one of them well above redline) towards the very end of the sortie – that was a bit worrisome since a thermal runaway in one of those can get dicey, but we were able to isolate those from the system and get them cooled down.  We’ll be replacing those before we set off in May.

After we catch up on some sleep we’ll be going into maintenance and provisioning mode for our May launch….some new batts, oil / filter changes, replacing some balky switches, dinghy tune up, and stocking up on everything – food, drink, supplies, spare parts, etc.

At least we don’t have to fuel up any time soon.