Thursday 22nd December 2011
Distance run: 56 nmiles
Anchor up at 0700 to catch slack tide at the inlet. On the way out of the harbour Nimue reported engine problems so we waited around while they checked it out, and eventually left around 0800 with the sea a bit lumpy but not too bad. Once out in the open sea it got even lumpier until we entered the Hawk Channel, which is a shallow channel that runs outside the Keys but inside a reef. At this point the sea became much calmer and we were able to sail at a good speed down the channel. We reached Rodriguez Key, where we planned to anchor, at around 1630 and realised we were not going to get much shelter here from the wind, and a gap in the outer reef meant that the sea had a biggish chop too. We decided, therefore, to stop for a few hours to eat and get a few hours sleep, and to continue at 0200. Anchoring was quite a lively activity with the bow going up and down in the waves, but we managed to get the anchor to set and with lots of swinging room and the anchor alarm on, we ate then went to bed.