We are safe, back on land, in Sarasota Florida! Finally!
I have to apologize for all those reading, for taking so long to post this blog. But we have no internet at our present marina, and our time lately has been spent on other things like organizing our new life on mainland.
We left Isla Mujeres Thursday April 30 at 8:30 in the morning. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed 15 - 20 knot winds until about 5:00. The auto pilot worked beautifully all day, so the three of us relaxed and enjoyed the sail. Our thoughts were "if it stays like this, our crossing will be a snap!" But it was not to be, the seas turned lumpy and things got rough, and the autopilot, gave out once again. The hydraulic arm that connects to the rudder, that had JUST been fiber glassed back in place, broke away once again. So now the three of us were taking turns at the helm, three hours on and six hours off. During my watch from ten until one in the morning, and Don's watch from one until four in the morning, it rained and we both were soaked most of the time. Jim arrived for his watch and was completely unaware of the rain we had had over the night...his early morning watch was clear and dry! Although his sleep was very rocky.
Friday we were well on our way, traveling with a very fast current behind us, we were rocketing along at 10 knots, with three sails up. However, with the current, rough seas and high winds, being at the helm for three hours at a time was very tiring. Jim suggested we switch to two hour watches, which we did, and it made a huge difference. Friday night, the sea's began to calm down and made things much easier. By Saturday, it was quite calm and we decided to motor as the winds had also come down to below 10 knots. By early Saturday evening it became apparent that we had made such good time, that we would arrive in Sarasota Bay around 3 in the morning. The entrance to Sarasota, and the ICW is very shallow and the bridge has quite a narrow opening, not a good idea to do it for the first time in the dark. So we cut back the engine and slowly made our way into Sarasota Bay. We entered the channel around 5 in the morning and passed under the swing bridge by 6:00 a.m , just as dawn broke. It took us about an hour and a half down the ICW to the Longboat Key Club Marina, we we are now moored.
We tied up, hooked up to power, and had a quick celebratory beer, and then both men disappeared into their bunks for a nap. I was too wired to sleep, so I washed down the boat with wonderful, glorious, fresh water, put a few things away, and then napped!
Jim and I had decided to spend our first night on land, in a hotel, Don wanted to stay on board, but would join us for dinner. When I woke up from my nap, both men were both still sound asleep, so I went into town by taxi, got a rental car and a hotel room. Back at the boat, Don was now up and about, but Jim was STILL down for the count. We did make it into town for a drink, but everyone was too tired for dinner, so I drove Don back to the marina, and met Jim back at the hotel....where we slept and slept and slept.
By Monday, we were rested and somewhat back to normal, however I think the whole year took it's toll, especially on Jim, and the result upon finally making it back to the US was complete exhaustion. The elation we thought we would feel at the end of the adventures of the past three years was just not what we had anticipated. Margoline is tired, broken and not the magnificent boat she once was, or so we thought at the time.
Our flag proudly displayed, looks like a battle flag, it has taken us many many miles and has now been replaced by a new one. Our new neighbors on the boat beside us, had admired our "battle flag" and knew we had "been places" ......to welcome us to Longboat, they presented us with a neatly folded brand new flag.....they have no idea how much they renewed our spirits.
Margoline will be polished, re-stained and repaired, she will return to her former glory, and we will be proud of her again. We hope to have a model made, to have her with us always, in our new home in Sarasota.
We have many wonderful memories and feel very lucky to have done something, most people only dream of doing. It was very good......the good, the bad and the ugly.....it was all worth it! and then some.
Thanks for reading, and following our adventures, and misadventures, and we hope you all follow your dreams too......you only get one shot at this................
Over and out.
Ann and Jim