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Moving on

Location: Enroute in the Florida Keys

Log: 2115

After a week at home to celebrate Mother’s Day and my stepfather’s 90th birthday, and to allow the stabilizers to be repaired, I returned to Ft. Myers on Monday, May 14 to resume the trek to Savannah, Georgia. I am fighting a deadline imposed by my insurance company to have Steel Magnolia north of the Florida-Georgia state line before hurricane season begins on June 1.

Because of the many delays (and because of the damage caused by my running aground), what started as a pleasure cruise has now become more of a pure delivery with long days at 7.5 knots. Since I don’t wish to subject my wife or friends to this kind of schedule, I called on an old friend Captain John Fortenberry to help with the delivery. John was one of the crew members who delivered my last boat, Suladan, from Puerto Vallarta through the Panama Canal to the east coast. He has vast experience and is great with the maintenance and repairs that seem to pop up daily on a boat trip.

CIMG0538The great surprise has been John’s lovely wife, Judy Saul Novo, whom I invited along as a courtesy but has turned out to be a valuable and delightful crew member. I met Judy in 2000 when we celebrated New Year’s Eve at an inn she ran in the Bahamas. John was dating her then and had the good sense to marry her and bring her to the states. She is not only a fine chef but throughout the day she is a bundle of energy doing things that need to be done on the boat such as cleaning out kitchen cabinets or polishing stainless rails outside. I have taken to calling her “Sweet Judy Blue Eyes”. We’ve anchored out every night to enjoy Judy’s cooking and avoid marina and restaurant charges. She’s made the trip a lot more fun and I’m glad to have her along.

We left Ft. Myers Tuesday morning and had a short day down to Marco Island, our jumping off point to the Florida Keys. Yesterday, Wednesday, we travelled almost 100 miles over 12 hours to arrive at Marathon in the Keys. Today, we were off at 4:30 a.m. to try to make it to Ft. Lauderdale by dark. The weather has been beautiful and our crossing yesterday was perfectly smooth. Today, we’re running into a stiff headwind which may make things rough after we turn the corner northbound near Miami.

The boat is running well but continues to have a few glitches that we’re trying to work out. Our main engine alternator has stopped working and we continue to have a few plumbing problems, but we’ll get there. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.


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