C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dancing with cells...

In the rain and with squall line threatening to overtake us, we pulled free of Sunset Island at 16:20. In the image above, Anne pilots us across Chokoloskee Bay.  My last glimpse at the NOAA radar convinced me that all the thunderstorm formation was occurring overland.  The accompanying forecast called for clear skies and 15kt SE breezes once we cleared the 20NM mark on our 100NM passage to the Dry Tortugas.   We agreed to two hour watches through the night and Anne took the first watch. 

It was 18:30 when the first line of thunder storms appeared on the horizon.  We were changing watches on a broad reach making 5.2 kts when the thunder cells appeared like a picket fence against the setting sun.  Taking the helm I set my sights on an opening between the cells that lie just a few degrees south of our course and Anne began cooking dinner that would remain untouched until July.  Within 30 minutes it became apparent that the cells were moving northward and that we would be overtaken.  We stowed the genny, placed a single reef in the main, and cranked the motor.  Unsure what heading we were bound to sail while attempting to weave our way through the line of storms it seemed prudent to forego a headsail.  As the first storm engulfed us the night turned black except for the school of comb jellies glowing in the water around C’est la Vie like lightening bugs covering an Appalachian hollow in early summer.   For the next four hours we bounced and surfed an angry sea.  Our course towards the Tortugas became secondary to our attempt to maintain a broad reach through the storm cells.  Fortunately the lightening was primarily cloud to cloud. 

Twinkling stars above announced our exit from the maze of storms.  At 23:30 we silenced the motor and returned to our original heading bouncing about on residual seas while making 4.5 knots under a full genny.

1 comment:

  1. This is like reading the first intriguing chapter of a very scary story, except in this case, I am REALLY concerned for the two main characters (whom I know and love)

    Of course, since I now know that you made it to Key West, I am much relieved, and look forward to the next chapter. Con amor, Pat