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, December 16, 2010

Motor Vessel C'est la Vie?

Our goal for the day… Lignumvitae Key to Indian Key Pass.  Approximately 80 nautical miles of shallow water sailing and crab buoy dodging along the waters of Florida Bay and the Everglades National Park.  With a building northeast wind forecast, we planned to motor sail the morning passing through a couple of the narrow passages along the Ships Channel.   We anticipated sailing close hauled on the building NE breezes in the afternoon.  Most likely due to a developing sea breeze throughout the day and our near shore route, the winds actually died as we passed off Cape Sable. 

Already a day overdue we dropped the sails, handed the helm over to Otto, and resigned ourselves to a long day of motoring.  We established a three hour watch schedule based on our ETE to Indian Key Pass.  Our watches consisted of reading interrupted with frequent scans of the waters ahead for buoys that mark crab traps.  Typically, due to C’est la Vie’s full keel design, we don’t worry too much about catching the prop or rudder, but we still try to avoid direct encounters with the small styrofoam buoys.  Below the buoys lines a 3/8 inch nylon braided line that extends down to a trap located on the sea bed.  The lines are notorious for fouling props, rudders, or other appendages extending from the hull of passing vessels.

Anne took the first watch and spotted a tight group of 5 large orange mooring buoys with 2 inch polypro tethers just north of Sand Key.  We are unsure who placed these buoys or why.  They are in exposed waters near the marked Ship’s Channel.  Vessels traveling the area after dark or with lackadaisical watches could easily run afoul of the large lines.  Unfortunately I was not thinking ahead and did not mark their position for future reference or to post on Active Captain.  

Moving northward past Cape Sable the buoys thinned out.  We enjoyed a beautiful sunset while passing off shore of Pavilion Key.  Around 20:00 we cleared Indian Key on our way toward the anchorage in Russell Pass.  Despite having to motor the entire day it felt good to be in our own backyard.

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