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.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Jumping Across the Gulf Stream

With forecasts of deteriorating weather in the Keys and the possibility of the remnants of Pacific TS Barbara reforming in the Gulf, we decided to get out of Boot Key Harbor while the conditions allowed.  The forecast called for light southeast to east winds showers overnight in the Florida Straits.  Not ideal sailing conditions, but the best we could find in the extended outlook. 

We took final all you can soak land base showers, turned in our key cards at the harbor office, and ate a quick lunch then cast off our mooring ball with two days remaining on our weekly rental.  I know, who leaves Boot Key Harbor ahead of schedule?  Before clearing out of the harbor we stopped at Berdines for fuel. While there we noted rapidly darkening skys to the west.  Shoving off the fuel dock the USCG requested, “all mariners switch to 22A for an urgent weather statement.”  Hmm, this cannot be good.  We wondered aloud is it too late to go back and reclaim the two days we had remaining on our weekly mooring ball?

“Severe thunderstorm warning from Key West to the east end of 7 mile bridge.  All mariners are urged to seek safe harbor immediately.” The monotone voice of a Coast Guard operator issued forth from the VHF.  We steamed westward out the harbor channel.  C’est la Vie’s bow pointing directly at the east end of 7 mile bridge as it sliced through the teal waters.  Our intended route… northeast up Hawk Channel, enter the Straits of Florida between Tennessee Reef  and Alligator Reef, cross the Gulf Stream, and arrive in the Bahamas at Cat Cay, would take us way from the path of the north bound storm now swallowing the lower keys.  Sounds like a good plan, right?

Ominous squall line off our stern in Hawk Channel

The winds grew cool and shifted to the north as an ominous squall line began chasing us up Hawk Channel.   With no doubt remaining that we would be able to out run the storm we rolled the genny, double reefed the main, and pushed full steam ahead. 

Anne at the helm in foul conditions
As multiple squall lines overtook us we traded two hour watches during the afternoon run up Hawk Channel.   Conditions began to improve as the Channel  Five bridge pass to our port side.  Radar images via our cell phones assured us the severe storms we now in the Gulf of Mexico and the weather in the Straits looked favorable. 

Just as we changed our course to the east and slipped beyond the reef, the setting sun peeked out from beneath the clouds.

A ray of hope.  The sun setting over Hawk Channel as we head into the Straits of Florida

When next we see the sun our hull should be in Bahamian waters.   

No comments:

Post a Comment