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.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Looe Key Reef

Judging by Anne’s welts and our overall lack of sleep, we did not anchor far enough off shore of key Lois to be beyond the range of the no-see-ums.    

Our lack of sleep lead to a slow start.  By noon we reached our next dive spot… Looe Key Reef.    Anne and I were amazed by the number of boats and bodies on and in the water at Looe Key Reef.  The image included is looking off our stern into the mooring field provided by Reef Relief.  There are an equal or greater number of vessels looking forward.  If this is a Monday afternoon in the off season, then what must this place look like on a spring weekend?

Anne and I were relieved to discover a healthy coral ecosystem at Looe Key.  Along with the obligatory reef fish we observed black tip sharks, goliath groupers; eagle rays; tarpon, and large barracudas.   It is a good sign of a healthy reef to find apex predators. 

Anne and I were so relieved by the health of the reef that we spent the majority of our day in the area making two separate dives.

The continued lack of wind made for great diving, but where to anchor to avoid the bugs?  Bahia Honda with it’s popular state park lies less than 10 nautical miles to our NNE.   

Motoring towards Bahia Honda we finally take the time to initialize our new auto pilot.  The initialization process requires that we make two circles at less than 2 knots that last over 3 minutes.  This maneuver allows the compass in the auto pilot to accurately orient itself and discover the local deviation.   Six minutes of circling later the autopilot gives us the happy beep and we resume our heading to Bahia Honda. 

Now Otto, our name of the auto pilot, should be able to take the helm… and engage… and hasty circle to port.  Hmm let’s try this again… engage… hasty circle to port.  *&%$ (frustration expressed in verbal form)!  Guess it is time to read the manual.   Buried in the set up instructions I find the section on reversing the controls for a port side set up and then the light bulb goes off.  The auto pilot is set up to starboard, but because it connects to our Cape Horn wind vane system it must be programmed for a set up on the opposite side of C’est la Vie.   A couple of key strokes later Otto gives us another happy beep.  Here we go again… engage… success!   Otto is steering a accurate course to Bahai Honda.  Anne and I sit back and make happy beeps.

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