Florida

Russell and Lynne of Blue Highway
Our failed attempt to reach the east coast of Florida, or even the Dry Tortugas, turned out to be a welcomed adventure. Last year, we rode a front from Belize to the Dry Tortugas, which was a rough trip, so we chose this year to take the settled tradewinds when we left Isla Mujeres. Basically, this means that we had good winds, maybe a bit too strong last year, with threats of squalls and lightning, while this year the steady southeast wind would provide a gentler trip. But the wind was just too much on the nose, almost directly from the east, and we kept turning more north, instead of northeast, to sail faster. At one point, we said “maybe we will land in Texas!”
A Nicaraguan entrepreneur in Fort Myers

After three and a half days of sailing, we arrived in Fort Myers before dawn. It was weird to be back in the US, with all of the amenities and sounds and people. We had one task to focus on, and this was to repair the crack in a casting for the hydrovane we had purchased in Belize and planned to mount this week. A gentleman was able to make this repair quickly and cheaply in his tiny shop while sharing his memories of growing up in Nicaragua. Not ready for the full US immersion, we headed north to quieter anchorages for two days.
Amazing mangroves
A cute little raccoon watches us

Refreshed, setting off at night, we had a lovely sail south to Shark River, the northern boundary of the Everglades. Here we anchored Alembic and explored by dinghy. The wildlife was spectacular. Birds, raccoons, snakes, turtles, and mangroves created a paradise. Mosquitos keep this area from being overridden by tourists.
Russell and Lynne’s new home on the canal in Marathon
They have created a very inviting patio atmosphere
Lynne magically inserts orchids all over this dramatic tree
Sisterships, Alembic and Blue Highway rest
thank you for the loan of these European guides!

Our sail south then around the corner of Cape Sable to Marathon was simple, and we gratefully accepted the invitation to tie up to the dock at Lynne and Russell’s home. What a spectacular spot! Their creativity with architecture, furnishings, gardening, and open air space filled their property with artistic and playful themes. We thoroughly enjoyed their company and the quiet dock for installing our new-to-us hydrovane.
Yoga in Marathon
Parade of boats outside Ft Lauderdale harbor
Brave pilots!

Motivated to get to Maine, we headed north with brief stops in Miami and Ft Lauderdale. We headed out to sea with a floatilla of boats viewing the spectacular air show. We did not linger, however, as Alembic was pulling on her sails and bringing us home.

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