from Fort lauderdale to Somewhere between Cayman and Panama

Fort lauderdale, Oviri is on the move!! Departure March 5th, 2018 to march 6th, Tuesday We check out at the gateway office and pull off the dock leaving all our friends for 7 years on the dock, boaters and non boaters, waving a last good bye. Happy to know Shar and Terry on Tangarora will be soon next to sail away! Sad to leave everyone behind, though happy to set sail! We head to las olas and 17th street bridge we pass through by 11am after a last glance while it closes behind us. Sea is smooth not much wind but good enough to have a nice late breakfast in the cockpit watching at the south east florida coast from the ocean, one last time, dophins are sailing with us, a good omen! Nice sunset and chilly watch while getting down the Florida Keys as result of the Cold front and north wind blowing but lets say it keeps you alert and awake! First night at sea, first watches, all is ok and we both enjoyed it despite there are still some kind of adjustments regarding some old sailing habits put to sleep for a long time becoming again our daily way of life. It comes back pretty fast. Sailing along the Florida Keys are not too bad, not too many boats, a few cargo ships sailing up north or south on a parallel route to us. Approaching key west a huge submarine surfaces and a navy boat close by welcome us, while enjoying sunset& lets think they did too as they dive at the end of it! Then under a red sky we rush to our fishing line where a fish await us ! This is our first catch, around 10 pounds! Anchored on the flat at Key west by 10.30 pm, after a long and tricky way in at night! March 7th, Wednesday to march 9th, friday Wake up surrounded by boat of all kind we could barely identify while arriving at night! We are close to a schooner. Wind is blowing and it is pretty choppy but ok so far. Key west makes me think of kei lagoon in Hawaii where you can see everything it can possibly float& sometimes closer to wrecks than boats. But it provides shelter to some people and also a great birds paradise!!! While on the flat it is hard to imagine how busy, crowded, and noisy it can be on Duval Street or Malory docks, as anchorage in key west put you pretty far away frhiom all activities ashore. Nevertheless when it is time for boaters to move or people to use their power boat on the flat, they all forget one another and pass through at full speed and yes& it is then noisy and rough and when the cruise ship shows up which we had the opportunity to see& jet ski tours comes from every direction full speed by 10 to 15!! This is the moment you decide you have to go ashore and be part of the crowd!!! Ahahah! Above all key west is famous for its sunset! But today no sunset as the cold front is passing through. We go ashore as it is time to clear out. Docked at the super crowded dinghy dock, where prices ranges from 6.50 usd per day, 29 usd per week, 89 usd per month!. Immigration is done and it all went pretty fast. Key West is where it all started for us july 3rd, 2003, clearing in with our previous monohull Iritis, this is where we clear out today and 14 years later onboard Oviri. We spend the day relaxing and waiting for the wind to shift, but it sounds it is not gonna happen today! Waiting for the perfect weather window is an important activity while sailing! With the sunset a gorgeous ballet of schooner of all sorts, and catamaran and boats, fully loaded with tourists ready to take home their best shots sail out! It is pretty windy out there and chilly too! We do too celbrate this sunset from our cockpit while watching at a motored Tiki Hut also part of the sunset cruise! U.F.O. also works for Unidentified Floating Object!
The wind finally shifts around 10.30am, time to move on and we sail to Marquesas keys, only 24 miles away from key west ! Yep& same name as the one in the Pacific just a little closer for now! we take a shortcut through not a land mine but a lobster traps field! We have to watch at all of them to avoid any special lobster catch into our props!!! although it is very tempting to grab one on the way we do not do it and I can not recall seeing so many at a times in Florida! Key west restaurants definitely have spiny lobsters on their menu!!! After a short and nice little sail still with chilly wind, but very sunny and quiet surrounded with lobster traps, we get to a nice and quiet anchorage, with only one Gemini catamaran, and several fishermen boats. Not one noise, no wave, just the sunset for our eyes only! Beautiful sky and colors, cloudy enough to give a more impressive sunset. I met people who thought that every sunset is the same and every island is the same, youve seen one youve seen all of them. I strongly disagree with them! March 10th, Thursday to March 13th, tuesday After a day sail we reach fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas. Las Tortugas were discovered by Ponce de leon in 1513. When it became american, they first they built a lighthouse, the building of the fort started only in 1846 on Garden Key but it was never finished. It served as a prison during civil war, became a wildlife refuge in 1908, a national monument in 1935, and a national park in 1992. A you get closer it emerged above the surface like a giant cargo ship between two waves, then it appeared right in front of you, coming from nowhere, gigantic, impressive. Built with red bricks, with an interesting way to catch fresh water and filter it through sands filled columns, it appeared it was not drinkable and they had to collect rain water, they abandoned the fort to the birds!. Wind and storms damaged this great fortification but it still stands and the contrast between the turquoise waters and the red bricks are beautiful. When you get in the fort you can walk everywhere you feel like, walking around the whole fort, getting up and down the 3 levels through beautiful steps untouched by the time and rough weather, some of the buildings inside are no more there, the lighthouse is being repaired, and the heavy canons are getting replaced. Only one seems to be original. There is a tiny museum, a bookstore, and only a few people live in the old engineer pretty cottage protected by the heavy walls from the fierce weather and remote from everything! The cold Front shows up as the sky become black and winds are shaking the anchorage, as well as heavy rains, hard to see other boats for a while. Then, blue sky, blue water, blue everywhere, shades of blue it is all it matters here now! Departure from fort jefferson happens today the march,13th to Panama. Wind is 22 knots as we leave sunny though. Unpleasant swell and air still pretty chilly, but dolphins leads and we follow!
March 14th to 16th The last night watches have been pretty rough, heavy swell and strong and cold winds&. Hard to believe you are sailing in the Gulf of Mexico. Sky and sea are so dark, almost black, no lights, except rare cargo ships. We finally get to see the Cuba lighthouse and it sounds like it takes hours before it disappears even though we are sailing 8 knots. Cold front is extending down to the Caymans Islands and it is only from there the weather warms up! At last our night watches are nice and easier watching the sky and stars. The truth is that we are definitely not ready to sail Patagonia or Alaska& Man! Too cold there! We are tropicalized!! We did catch 2 mahi-mahi, lost a big fish but never found out what kind it was but we have plenty fish so far so we can not complain! Weather is warmer though the sea is flatter and the wind& drops ahahah! Never happy! Too much wind not enough wind, thats all about sailing!! We so far have sailed more than 650 nautical miles, almost half way to Portobello, Panama. All is good, boat is doing good, captain is happy as well as the crew!

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