Thursday April 14, 2011 9AM
We made it to Marathon late Tuesday afternoon from the Bahamas and yesterday I had my first unlimited hot water shower of the year. Sometimes it’s the little things that you remember.
Once moored at the marina the bureaucratic fun began. I called customs to report my arrival – no problems, then I was told to call immigration. So I call them and they want to see us – in Key West – 50 miles from here – within 24 hours. Fortunately there is a bus from Marathon, it’s cheap $4 per person each way, but it’s also a 2 hour trip each way – oh my aching butt.
Our total time with immigration was about 5 minutes – I didn’t mention that the day before I had dropped off 101 Haitians in Key Largo – let immigration figure out where they came from. So now we are at the Key West airport with time to kill until the bus comes by. Not wanting to spend the time at the airport we walked into town and had a nice lunch and then the 2 hour bus ride home.
Our trip back from the Bahamas was quick so we would have as much time as possible in the states getting ready to the trip to Guatemala. As I said in my last posting we crossed the Bahamas Banks at night so we could go out the pass at Gun Cay at first light. I thought this was a good plan until about 3 AM and the water started to get shallow. That’s when it hit me, I was depending 100% on the chart plotter to keep us in the deeper water. Normally I can tell from the color of the water if I’m headed into a shallow spot. So far there had only been one time when I knew the chart plotter was wrong, in Vero Beach I would have run into a bridge if I had followed it blindly. So as a backup I started plotting my position on paper charts and comparing it to what the chart plotter showed – everything was agreeing. Then it hit me – the chart plotter was based on the paper charts I was using so if one was wrong both would be. Fortunately it all worked out.
One thing I don’t like to do is tow the dinghy – so many things can go wrong. The dinghy can flip, fill with water, break loose and this is just a short list. I got the largest dinghy that I can fit on deck so when offshore I know it’s safely tied aboard. Apparently some of the big guys don’t agree with my opinion.
I saw several big yachts towing their fishing ‘dinghy’s’ like this. Some were cruising along at 20 knots or so. I guess it’s hard to find room on deck for all the water toys.