2017-01-26 — Dry Tortugas

As the strong Christmas Winds began to wane Magnolia was ready to move west 80 miles towards Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas.


After departing Newfound Harbor we had a very fast sail passing nearby Key West. 


As it turned out it was Sailing Regatta Week in Key West hence the significant number of racing sailboats practicing.





After a fast sail but a long day we arrived at the Marquesas Cays. We had an unusually difficult getting a good set from our Rocna Anchor. There appears to be very loose sand covered in grass. We finally moved well offshore got the anchor set and spent a VERY rolly night!



The following morning we quickly got underway bound for Fort Jefferson.


Magnolia has taken us to many very cool and amazing place but for me, well Fort Jefferson is it! As the structure began to reveal itself on the horizon I could not help but wonder what our forbearers thought about the first time they saw the massive structure as they approached. I cannot emphasize enough how far in the middle of no-where this massive fort is.  It is very isolated even by standards of our modern cruising boat, to travel there two centuries ago is incomprehensible to me!





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One amazing things is the gate is the ONLY entrance in and out of the fort. Just think of all the people, soldiers, prisoners and slaves that have passed through those gates. It find the though rather humbling.


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The courtyard in inside the walls felt and is surprisingly large.




It amazes me that the original rock decking is still in place.


We had an amazing visit but too soon it was time to head for St Petersburg.


2016-01-13 Marathon–Newfound Harbor (Christmas & New Years)

Just like there was only room in the mainger, there was no room in the mooring field. Rather than try and find a very small anchoring location where we only be able lay out a very small amount of chain we opted for the outer anchorage west of Boot Key. This anchorage is not for the faint of heart. You are a good distance from the main marina dock and coming back to the boat at night does take a little night navigation practice. The one thing is does have is GREAT holding and a lots of room.


We arrived Marathon Christmas Eve, Eve and join Burt & Prue (Exuberant) and two other boats for Christmas Lunch. It was a fine holiday celebration.


I did neglect to mention our anchorage is the best sunset viewing location in Marathon. Our long commute was certainly rewarded by amazing evening skys.



Our friends Ted & Sally on Amici were due in about the 3rd so rather than risking a missed visit we hung around through the New Year Holiday as well. We started the evening by catching Cory & Ty at Keys Fisheries. This place is the best for seafood in town! The fishing boat docks are RIGHT there…nothing better.


After dinner we headed over to the VFW to catch up with Burt & Prue. You have to love the VFW, drink prices are the bomb!!


Another local band and one of our favorites is Fiddle Rock…just like it sounds and they are GOOD!


New Years Day was a little quiet so just had to break out the Grumpy Old Men Box set…I am still practicing my Walter Mathau…


We managed to catch up with Ted & Sally and Burt & Prue a couple of evenings but the forecast calling for the strongest deepest cold front of the season. It was time to get moving! For all of its glories, riding out a storm there was not one of them!!! We had the perfect place…Newfound Harbor and it was only 20 miles away. Like out last anchorage, it has the big two, plus storm protection so we were golden.


On the way up to Newfound Harbor, we passed the Little Pine Island Resort…it is very exclusive an caters to the well healed. They will let us mooring Magnolia there for $1200.00 per night or if we could get a budget slip for out back with no view for $600!!! I promise to take whoever wants to go the day after we hit the lottery!!! It does look very nice though…



We continued on up the bay to our FREE anchorage just in time to catch the after noon squall line come it. The winds went from 12 to 38 knts quicker than we could get the hatches closed up.


The front came through within a couple of hours but the winds persisted for DAYS. We were forced to stay hunkered down for nearly a week before the seas settled down enough to move again!


Our waiting did allow us to celebrate my birthday in comfort and style. Okay I could have put on a shirt for the cake picture…..


Once again, we certainly did not suffer from ugly sunsets in Newfound Harbor either!


The Fort Jefferson on the Dry Tortugas has long been on my to do list and its location fit in perfectly with our tour of the Florida West Coast. As some might know the prevailing winds, also known as the Trade Winds blow east to west across the Florida Keys. Fort Jefferson is 60 miles west of Key West Florida so if you are going to visit you have to plan for it.


The great thing is, there is no cell service, no internet no nothing once you get west of Key West…so…if there is another post after this one, it will be your first indication that we survived!