Anchored in Newfound Channel

Ambler Isle
V and S
Sun 29 May 2011 16:25
24 34N
81 32W
May 25 and 26, 2011
Valt worked in the engine room, cleaning all the strainers of sea weed.  He also changed generator oil and did an inspection.  I washed the outside of the boat.  It always feels good to get the salt off.  I polished the railing.  It gleamed.  We were surprised that our out-of-the-way anchorage far up Newfound Channel was so busy with small boat traffic.  Little Palm Island resort sent ferries back and forth to Little Torch Key several times per hour.  Fishing boats ran up the channel.  The channel ended in 1' water, so we wondered where everyone was going.  Most came too close to our anchored vessel, rudely rocking us unmercifully. 
In the morning we were awakened by several boats raising wakes at about 6am.  It was time to leave.  We raised the anchor and it was loaded with heavy clay.  I had to use a scraper to get it off.  There were several small shrimp on the swim platform.  We cast off.
We headed back to the Hawk's Channel to continue our trip to Key West.  The forecast was for 10k SE winds, 1' seas.  These would push us gently to our destination.  But once in the Channel, we found the wind and seas were from the SW, more abeam.  Though not unpleasant, it was not the smooth ride we'd hoped.  But we had only 20 miles to go to Key West.  We'd never been to the Dry Tortugas, but forecasts were unfavorable for the trip.  Maybe they would prove wrong again. 
We overheard a VHF broadcast between a fishing boat and the US Coast Guard.  The fishing boat had spotted a inner tube raft carrying 8 illegal Cuban immigrants.  After innumerable questions, the Coast Guard instructed the fishing vessel to stay on the site until they could dispatch a boat to investigate. 
Soon a helicopter, a Customs & Immigration vessel, even a military jet were in route to pick up the illegals.  In Florida, if Cuban migrants land at  certain checkpoints they are permitted to stay.  If caught before, they are deported.