Friday 23rd December 2011
Distance run: 85 nmiles
Anchor up at 0200, and with no moon but lots of stars to light the way a little, we continued on our way down the Hawk Channel towards Key West. For the first four hours there was no sign of the fishing markers we had been told to look out for, but as we approached Marathon we were suddenly in the middle of what seemed like millions of them! We used a torch to light up the way ahead and spent the next hour sailing under torchlight to ensure we didn't snare one of the crab pots! Fortunately we managed to avoid them all and as the sun came up we were able to put the torches away, but still had to keep a keen lookout as we ran a slalem course of different coloured floats. They seem to be laid out in a straight line, which is fine if there is just one line of them as you can position yourself to run parallel. But in many places the lines criss-crossed each other which meant giving George a rest and hand-steering through the maze.
We arrived in Key West mid-afternoon and dropped the anchor in Man of War Harbour where Moonshadow Star had anchored the afternoon before. The anchor didn't bite at first, and when it did it was quite dramatic, so we were not sure how good a set we had as it may have grabbed a rock. We set the anchor alarm at a short distance and waited to see how we would settle down.
It felt good to have arrived at this point, from which we will leave the US and make our way across the Gulf Stream to Cuba. But not until after Christmas!!
It was good to be back in beautifully blue waters as we approached Key West.