Friday 14 Jan, cruising day 48, Key West: Quiet night, trip to canvas shop, diving the anchor, another evening in town.
The forecasted wind came in the night, blowing 25kts from the NW as expected. We are very glad we moved anchorage from the exposed west side of Wisteria to our new spot on the east side of Flemming Island. Despite the wind whistling in the rigging, we had a very peaceful night. My only slight concern was when nature-called in the middle of the night, and I noticed the depth hovering between 2.5 to 2.6m at dead low tide. The grass is brushing the bottom of the keel clean! Close call though.
I had also rigged the FinDelta anchor-riding sail last evening and it certainly reduces our yawing on anchor. This means that not only do we have less pull on the anchor but we also avoid the usual side winds on the rig, which heel the boat over first one way then the other as we swing one side to the other. The downside, I realized this morning, is that the sail puts shadows over the bimini solar panels. So maybe it will be something we only use when really windy, or at night.
The wind has subsided by mid-morning so I head off with our bimini drop-down side shades to find a canvas shop. I have sewn 2 tabs onto each shade which will hold the shades up when we are not using them. Currently we roll them up then just tie with string. But I don’t have a “snaps” (poppers) to add to my tabs. I knew I should have bought some, and the installation tool, from Sailrite, then I could have completed the whole job without need of a canvas shop.
From our new anchorage I take the dinghy into Garrison Bight where there is a dinghy dock for the mooring field. Very nice dinghy dock but it had a security gate to get in/out which I have to wait for someone to open.
After visiting the canvas shop, where the guy refuses to charge me anything (I leave him a tip though) I head to the City Marina office where I ask about payment for the dinghy. But surprisingly they tell me “No”. The dock is only for boats in the mooring field. I plead that we are over the maximum length for the moorings, meaning we have had to anchor. But it falls on deaf ears. Even though I’m willing to pay, their rule preclude us ☹.
Before I head back, I decide to have a mosey around the Bight seeking other places we can moor the dinghy. None obvious. The usual plethora of “no docking”, “private jetty” and such like. My last attempt is the Yacht Club. At first, I thought I was going to be successful, but when the officer realizes it’s a dinghy I want to dock and not our super yacht, he says there is no room for it. Paff … there is plenty of room.
This is one thing that has been a real bug-bear about cruising in the USA – it is simply not well set up for yachts that just want to anchor and dinghy ashore. Either it’s a big NO, or there is a disproportionate charge for docking the dinghy. Nothing comes for free in the USA.
In the late afternoon we head ashore for another evening in town. Last Friday was really lively and we are hoping for the same. We start at the Boat House bar right next to the dinghy dock where we find the atmosphere really pleasant, not only in the bar which is open to the sunset but also around the docks where crowds are gathering to go aboard their sunset tour boats. We enjoy the usual happy hour drinks and appetizers then move on just after dark, strolling up and down the main street – Duval Street.
We settle into the Mangoes bar where there is a live singer, then move up the road to our favourite singers in the La Te Da hotel. Last Monday their performance had been pretty lackluster but tonight, with the help of a very lively dancing audience, they were on fire. We danced to the end at 11:30pm and loved every minute.
Wandering back to the dinghy we note the town still very much alive, but we are tired by now. Too much fun for an old, retired couple! We get back aboard and climb into bed by 12:30, pooped.