Wright Away Sails Away

Going where the water is warm and clear.




Another very short post:

Not many times in my life have I ever felt this intensely grateful or this acutely relieved. We have gotten back to the boat and she has no damage of any kind and is sitting exactly the way we left her.

When we walked away from her two days ago the probabity of escaping a cat 4 direct hit were not in our favor.  It seemed to grow more ominous as the hours passed and new tracks came in, but in the very last hours of approach we were spared.  The slightest wobble kept the eye of Matthew far enough offshore that we not only avoided landfall but almost all the serious hurricane strength winds remained off shore too.  Lucky, is a word I keep repeating.

I have much more to write bouncing around in my head right now, but instead need to go start reassembling our boat.  Inside we can’t find the floor or a place to sit under the sails, solar panels, surfboards, engine hoists, and everything else.  I am happily off to go make our boat our home again. 




This will be a short post, I am tired.  We’ve done everything we know to do to prepare for Matthew.  The boat is in a canal in Satellite Beach (Brevard County).  It is snuggled up into the mangroves and as far away from other boats and property as we could get her.  We have three large anchors out, are tied to two pilings and have six long lines into the mangroves.  We have back-up snubbers (five actually) and chafe gear on everything, the boat is stripped,  thru hulls closed and all the other items on the checklist-checked. A mandatory evacuation was called this afternoon and we will leave her in the morning and stay with friends. 

Wishing everyone a safe next few days.   


Back in Florida

When we left Fort Pierce I thought it might be years before we might sail back into a Florida inlet again. Yet, here we are! (Thank goodness)

The Gulf Stream crossing was wonderful for the most part-another flat calm motoring trip.  I didn’t even bother grabbing the camera-nothing changed from when we were there just eleven days ago. We did get a little spanking only about 18 miles from the coast.  Just one of the typical nasty Florida summer thunder squalls, it had some punch though and lasted a few hours. A couple waves on the beam sent our freezer flying across the boat (along with everything else not strapped down tight enough).  We found later that it had even knocked the lightbulb out of our light fixture in the aft cabin. Nothing got damaged besides the broken tie-down boards though. Our biggest worry was that it wouldn’t pass before we got to the jetties and we would miss our chance to go in at slack tide, fortunately it settled down about four miles out and returned to a quiet calmness and made for an easy pass through the inlet.

We checked the weather, half expecting to see that we ran back for no reason.  No. At this moment we are SO thankful we decided to run and are happy to be here in Florida again! I think we will plan on staying here till the end of the season ;) 

We both had been in need of the charge that getting over there and getting in the water again gave us, so we don’t regret going either. We had fun. Before we left Keith got a chance to go out deep-sea fishing with one of the locals.  It was kind of a no-notice thing and I sent Keith off without coffee or breakfast (or shoes or sunscreen). I threw two waters, a bag of Cheeze-its and a Cliff bar in a cute flowered lunch bag and sent him on his way with no idea of where he was going or when he’d be back. They boys caught some red snapper which we were planning on enjoying together on Thursday. Instead on Thursday we were happily enjoying a big veggie pizza with our friend in Vero Beach.

My only disappointment with leaving was that I had just found a perfect sea-glass searching beach the day before and had planned to go back on a low tide.  I had found lots of glass, not much of it had been tumbled long enough and was more like broken glass instead of sea glass, but I had high hopes for finding more.  Ah, when we return.  Besides, maybe it will be nice and tumbled by then.




1 Comment


I have a theory about hurricanes and their prediction models. My theory is that on the first few model runs of a newly forming storm you want to be located dead center of all the spaghetti lines and prediction cones. I mean, right smack-dab in its path because the forecast is guaranteed to change. Just my little theory I’ve held for years.

We’ve, as our previous post stated, had our eyes on a clump of clouds coming of Africa for days now and the models are just now starting to be run on what is now Invest97L.  I had the extremely rare experience of having unlimited and fast wifi on the boat last night and instead of catching up with friends, I spent WAY too much time looking at all the weather models I could find.  I couldn’t help it, they hold your attention when they run a path right smack-dab over you. Now, granted, I do understand their limitations and know that they cannot accurately predict where it is going at this point-and certainly not nine days out.  Honestly it could end up anywhere from Central America to Canada at this point- or not even form into anything at all to begin with.  Although, unfortunately the data seems to be in overwhelming agreement that this will be a storm and a large percentage of the data is suggesting that it will become a Major hurricane (Cat 3+).  Maybe this isn’t the best time to test out my theory.

Since before getting over here we’ve been working out our plan of action in case of a storm. No matter which way we looked at it we couldn’t get comfy with the idea of Black Sound, the moorings or up in the mangroves. Just weren’t feeling it. A back up plan has always been to head back to Florida but we knew we could never count on having decent weather to do so.  Last night I started looking at the forecast for crossing back over the Gulfstream and it looked great for the next few days.  Hmmm.  This morning our weatherman Chris Parker didn’t dispute what I saw the night before.  In fact, while he suggested it may go anywhere from the Western Caribbean to Bermuda, he thought the most probable current path would be through part or all of the Bahamas.  Well, there you have it-guess we are going to Florida.  That decision was painless.  

We spent the rest of the morning getting in one last quick dive and said a quick see-ya-later to a few locals. (They think we are pretty crazy for running away from a might-become-a-storm that is is closer to Venzuela than here but oh well).  We really could have waited a few days to see how this whole thing plays out, but by then the calm crossing window may have closed. As I write this the sun just slipped into the ocean. The wind is under 10k and it is perfectly flat on the bank.  We feel very comfortable (for the first time in days) with our choice.  It’s most likely unnecessary and of course Florida could be just as likely to be hit, but we have a hidey hole there that we are more comfortable with.  So there it is, see you on the other side! 




Nervous Nellies


One of the treats of having been in Vero Beach was the public transportation system-it’s free, easy and fast.  You also get to meet a lot of interesting people and overhear a lot of thought provoking conversations.  Especially true when you get on the bus that goes to Walmart.  I can now tell you all about the county jail’s meal plan.  Hint, it includes lots of watermelon and Ramen Noodles-just in case you weren’t curious too. On one of our days there I took the bus alone to do some last minute provisioning and when it came time to catch the bus back I couldn’t find the bus stop.  (I had walked to the other side of the shopping center) I could see the bus coming but didn’t know where to run to.  A nice gentleman on a bike saw my dilemma but didn’t know where the stop was either.  Instead he rode over to the bus and let the driver know I was needing to get on-how sweet!  Even nicer, the bus driver stopped right in front of me to let me on even though it wasn’t a stop.  I dragged all my bags onto the crowded bus as nice elderly lady slid over an patted to a seat next to her.  I plopped down and immediately noticed the intricately beaded traditional Native American belt and pouches she was wearing.  I, loving beadwork, found myself enjoying a conversation instantly.  Within a few minutes we moved on to how I was there on a boat.  Her eyes lit up and she smiled and she began to tell me her story.  Back in the early 70’s she used to deliver boats from France to Florida, she did it for seven years.  She told me about how she went to school at night with her Captain to learn celestial navigation, she told me about some of the adventures they had and the storm that broke three of her ribs.  We talked a bit about the Caribbean islands she had landed at and she leaned over and whispered “Tell me, when you first get ashore is the first thing to do still to find the woman who bakes the fresh bread?”. 

“Yes, ma’am.  It is”

“Ah, it’s good bread isn’t it”

“Yes, ma’am.  It is”

In that crowded bus, I think for a moment we both had a millisecond of time travel.  She, back to some years of youth and pleasant memories and me, ahead to what it looks like to feel content with 80+ years of life.

Before she got off the bus she handed me a hand-drawn business card with the same design beaded onto her pouch.  It had her name and the title of a book she wrote, An Apache Original: The Life and Times of Solidod,  is for sale on Amazon.  This isn’t in anyway a promotion-I haven’t ordered the book myself, but out of curiosity to learn a little more about the woman who delighted my morning I read the preview.  This Apache woman who doesn’t eat from the sea has done much more in her life than just cross the ocean a few times.  I enjoyed sharing the ride with her.

Keith and I, maybe more I than Keith, have decided to make it a goal to dinghy over and introduce ourselves to at least one other boat in the anchorage each day.  Just to say HI, you never know the interesting people that may be next to you.  All gung-ho to start this new routine (all new routines start out enthusiastically) we have been searching for a boat to go say HI to.  We’ve been here a week, we haven’t shared an anchorage with another boat yet.  Only ones around!  Well, there was a boat when we were dropping our hook to clear in, but he was raising his to head back to Florida.  It’s the off season (hurricane season) here and it’s vacant. It’s a little nerve-wracking actually. 

Yes, we knew it was still peak storm season but we thought we had secured a good hurricane spot over here before leaving Florida.  Even then, we were hoping we were not doing something silly and had a healthy amount of butterflies.  Getting over here and hearing the locals say “even the ghosts don’t come around here this time of year” does not do wonders for the confidence of our choices.  Once here, we tried to get the details of our plan –and backup plans- cemented down.  Unfortunately, neither of us have a warm and fuzzy feeling about it yet so the task today is to get that a little bit more nailed down.  There are no immediate threats at the moment, only a possible/if it were/it may/potential to/anything could happen/keep an eye on it area of weather way over off of Africa. Still, I very rarely feel anxious over anything.  I am horribly indecisive at times and choices can stress me out, but feeling uneasy about things in the future that I have no control over don’t usually get me twittery. But, we’ve got a case of the nervous-nellies onboard right now.  Hopefully a little more effort and clearer plan will allow us to settle in more and find that relaxed cruising vibe.

That’s not to say we haven’t been having fun yet!  Yesterdays dive was great.  We went to one of the outer reefs and saw some large healthy Elk Horn coral, so much of it has died here that it thrills me to see huge patches thriving.  We had a curious baby lemon or reef shark swim up to us.  He swam right up to Keith, circled around and swam right back to us.  He did it maybe 5-6 times.  I thought we might have to tap him on his nose.  If he was any bigger it probably would have scared me.  But then again, I am a nervous-Nellie at the moment Smile


^^Empty anchorage



^^Empty streets




^^The current hurricane plan- up in the mangroves of Black Sound




^^Can’t escape the political ads!




We are back in the Bahamas!  

We spent several days creeping our way from Satellite Beach south, spending a few nights in Sebastian and a few more nights in Vero.  True to Vero Beach’s alternative name of Velcro Beach, we stayed one night longer than planned but we got to see good friends one more time, it was a good few days. The plan was to keep slowly working our way down to Lake Worth (Palm Beach) and wait for a weather window to cross, there wasn’t one forecasted for at least several more days, but when we got the report Friday afternoon it surprisingly showed a calm as calm can get crossing starting that night! After some deliberating we decided to go ahead and take it before it closed out.  We went from mosey mode to mission mode pretty quick!  We spent probably at least an hour going over everything to make sure everything was secure and wouldn’t go flying after everything else on our pre-departure checklist was complete. We don’t necessarily have full faith in forecasts.  

The extra care in stowing everything extra securely was for no reason.  We left at about 2:30am under a bright moon and barely a wisp of wind and a flat sea-which became even flatter as the day went on.  It was more like a car ride than a sailing trip, we just sat there and drove.  Keith had a large white bird come land on the dinghy while I was napping and toward sundown we had two curious little finches join us and provide us entertainment. They had no fear and fluttered and hopped on and in everything including climbing down into the anchor locker and inside the cabin.

At sundown we were treated with a spectacular full moon rising on our bow. A treat, indeed.  At about 2:00am and still a good mile away from Great Sale Cay, where we planned to anchor, we called it “close enough” dropped the hook and dropped into our bed.  In the morning we were greated to clear waters as far as we could see–felt like coming home.  We carried on after coffee and tea to the un-inhabited cay of Allens-Pensacola.  We had the anchorage to ourselves and took a long awaited for swim around the boat.  We didn’t go ashore since we hadn’t cleared in yet, not that there would be anyone to know or care. We didn’t want to clear in on a Sunday so sailed to Manjack the next day and anchored again so that we could sail over to Green Turtle Cay first thing on Monday morning.

I’m glad we waited until Monday, we had the nicest Customs officer who had the discretion of charging us either $150.00 or $300.00 for our cruising permit based on the length of our boat.  Under 35 feet is $150.00, over 35 feet is $300.00-we are 35.1 feet.  Sometimes we’ve gotten charged the lower amount, but recently they have been asking us for the larger.  She chaharged us the lesser so it was pleasant way to start the morning.

Once we were cleared in, we stopped in to say hi to some of the shop owners, got our cell phone data topped up, and put the final touches on our hurricane plan for this area.  Then it was back on the boat, back to Manjack, and out to the reef! Keith had a hogfish for us after being in the water for less than three minutes.  I am serious. I love being married to my Aquaman!

^^ The Gulf stream about as flat as it gets.

^^ Kai usually has to stay in the cockpit underway but it was so calm we let him enjoy the extra breeze on the deck for a bit.  Still tethered in of course.

^^ I was wrong, it can get even flatter.

^^ I see a beach!!!

^^ Relaxing after a long, uneventful crossing.


^^ Beer-battered fish tacos in the making.

^^ The other morning I almost stepped on this little crab.  I was not on the beach-he was inside our boat! He is now back swimming in the ocean.


Out of Hiding

We took “hiding out for the hurricane season” too literally this year.  We’ve been living in hiding for the past three months.  It was our own choice-but still. We broke free this week and feel ecstatic.  Remember us mentioning that we found a cheap slip to keep the boat (the boat only, no persons living on the boat) and that our plan had been to bounce around between anchorages and the slip for the summer?  Well, once we plugged in to shore power and turned on the AC that plan disintegrated.  It is really hard to walk away from AC in a Florida summer!  The downside was that we lived in hiding, complete with all the windows blacked out and sneaking Kai out for walks. To our surprise we weren’t booted out, but living in a dark (albeit cool) cave takes its toll.  I NEED to see the sun to be happy, so the past few days of living on the hook with all the hatches wide open has been refreshing in everyway.  That, and the excitement to get underway again has us feeling good. (It also means that I can revive the blog writing. For, now, obvious reasons I had to refrain from advertising our status)

Actually our first two days of living on the hook didn’t include very many open hatches as we had Hermine passing safely to the north of us but she still gifted us with some gusty squalls and lots of rain.  It was kind of funny that at first having the boat tied up in the slip was nice in that we got the welcomed break from always worrying about wind and finding the right anchorage.  I would say we were definitely ready for that break and for the past few months it hasn’t mattered to us one bit where the wind blew from or how hard. On the first night back out on the hook we had plenty of wind and squalls to pay attention to-but enjoyed it.  Oh, and we didn’t go far either, we just anchored out in front of the marina.  (you can see our old slip in the photo below) 

Once Hermine moved along, we did do a short two day sea trial down to Sebastian inlet with our friends on Nessa and Anywhere.  The routine of dinghy rides, dinners in the cockpit, and beachcombing is starting to return us to a state of normalcy.  Keith had done some major maintenance on Wrightaway the past few weeks including replacing the transmission and realigning the engine along with a whole host of other mechanical projects so we wanted to do shake-down before we hopped off into the Gulf Stream.  Everything was a thumbs up and we are a GO!

So…what’s next?  Well, it is still peak hurricane season and there is still a lot of activity out there even if there are no immediate concerns so we are going to take our time and wander south at a creepy-slow pace until we feel a little bit more confident about the season, even then we will stick close by to some good hidey-holes in the Abacos (Bahamas) until we are really confident about the end of the season.  Then what?  Well, this trip will be a little different in that the previous trips we always knew that we would be heading back to Florida in a few months so we were always doings loops and circles.  This time we are headed out and not looking back!  Unless of course we change our mind, it could happen.  But the plan is to keep on moving this time—so excited!!  We will hit the parts of the Bahamas we loved, or missed, on previous trips and soak up some more of the gorgeous water and plentiful fishing there then head on to the islands of volcanos and rainforests and maybe even monkeys.



^^ I love the stowaway pigeon on top of the mast.

^^ the old Dragon Point house on Merritt Island.  Not much left of it.