This was the trip! Our first cruise with the new boat. We cast off the line around 8:30 AM on a cold winter morning. During the night, the temperature went down to the low 40 and it was still very chilly when we left. It didn’t matter very much, we were all very excited. We had about 35 nautical miles to go between the south of Saint James to Burnt Store Marina (NE). To be on the safe side, since I wanted to sail my way up, I was counting around nine to ten hours. Since the wind was coming from the N-E, I was expecting some heavy tacking in the narrow intracoastal (ICW) channel going North. If we couldn’t reach the marina before the night, the plan was to anchor in Pelican Bay.
We left with the low tide and motored our way out looking at the depth. We did it in about 10 minutes and rose directly our sails taking one reef in the main. Our first objective was to pick up the ICW. Neil saw directly the markers as we were exiting the channel. Once on our way, we quickly removed the reef. The 12 knots wind was just perfect for her.
The first part of the trip, since we were going W and NW was very easy and we did some great time. The expected arrival at Pelican Bay was around 1 PM. We saw some dolphins and of course a lot of different birds. Neil knows them all, for me they are just “birds”. Sailing with the dolphins is just magic, they keep following the boat, sometimes swimming very close from the hull. With no engine, I guess we are part of the sea. Speaking about engine, I must say that most of the motor boats passing us in the ICW were nicely slowing down and waving at us. Something you don’t see that often in Miami.
We left Sanibel behind us and then Captiva islands reaching the south of Kayo Costa.
Reaching cabbage key, the navigation became a bit more challenging since the ICW was going North (NE) and I had to take a much more aggressive upwind course. I pushed the boat around 30 and sometimes below to avoid tacking too much in some narrow passages. She did just great!
Around 1:30 PM we reached Pelican Bay and decided to continue our sailing. The hardest part was done in term of navigation. We continued North to let the shallow area north of Pine Island behind us and then took a S-E course directly to Burnt Store. The wind was unfortunately going down to 7-9 knots, but we had enough day light left.
The crew decided to take a small nap and I had my first one to one with the boat. With the light wind, the sun behind me and time to time some dolphins showing up, it was a magic moment of complete escape.
2 hours after we were getting closer from our final destination and decided to prepare the boat. We prepared the lines, the fenders and tried to have a visual on the marina.
Around 4 PM, we saw the marina and at 4:30 we were motoring our way in.
We did a good docking and secured the boat before knowing our new neighbors. We are located in dock A and it seems to be the fun dock! Our neighbors are very friendly, and we had a lot of welcome. Some are leaving on board and some coming for the week-end as we do. When the boat was secure, it was happy hour and we took a few beers in the cockpit. We had 70 degrees and we spent the evening together thinking about the next trip….