'Til the butter melts

Pursuing the cruising dream in 32' of sailing ketch

Readying for Sea


It’s a windy day. There’s this enormous high pressure area moving slowly across the country, centered about the middle of the states, and traveling ESE. Along with it is a 4000-mile-long cold front that stretches from Boluxi to the south tip of Greenland. It’s a big one. 

Originally we’d planned to be leaving Marathon today, the 24th of March. Our mooring rental runs out today, and we did our final provisioning run yesterday. The boat is nearly ready, with full diesel tanks and lots of propane, and the bottom of Sionna was cleaned by divers yesterday in anticipation. The almost-full water tanks were to be topped off, a last load of laundry done (clean sheets!), and we’d be away.

But it’s blowing 25 mph, it’s rough outside the harbor, and it just seems easier to hang out in Paradise (as the boats that never leave call it) for another day. 

These are challenging conditions. Most folks try to stay aboard their boats in winds like this, just in case… And today “just in case” came to visit.  The boat above broke loose from her mooring and began drifting, nobody aboard, playing “bumper-boats” through the mooring field.  Our response (Nicki noticed she’d broken free almost as soon as it happened) was to blow the air horn (good thinking, Nicki!) and to get on the VHF radio on channel 16 (the emergency and hailing frequency) and 68 (the local traffic channel) to warn the harbor there was a rogue boat coming (Keith).   The Marina’s pump-out boat responded, as did several other cruisers in their dinghies, and had old “Blade Runner” corralled in pretty short order – Kudos to all!  Cruisers watch out for each other – that’s one of the things I love about this community.

Anyway,  tomorrow we’ll finish the laundry and drop the mooring mid-day, heading for Bahia Honda Island first – about 11 miles West of here. Baby steps. 

Baby steps are appropriate. After two months in one place, we’re not sure we even know how to cruise anymore!

Author: s/v sionna

Living the dream in 32'. We left Maine on August 18th, 2016, and have gradually worked our way south until we felt warm enough. After spending the summer in Maine, working to replenish the cruising kitty, and rehabilitating an old house. we’re headed back on the boat, bringing Sionna back home to northern waters. Follow our blog here!

8 thoughts on “Readying for Sea

  1. Avast there, Keith & Nicki,

    You know my sister-in-law Cindy Mella; she passed along your blog to me last year. My wife Lisa and I are avid sailors; charters from Southwest Harbor, Maine and down to the Caribbean. We do a tremendous amount of day-sailing and racing out of Sag Harbor, eight niles north of East Hampton, Long Island.

    Here is a link to another cruising couple I know you will find interesting:


    Just a couple of weeks ago they started sailing back to the States from Bequia, a gem of an island Lisa and I have spent many a delightful weeks on in the northern Grenadines, a short sail south of St. Vincent.

    Happy sailing!



    • How nice of you to stop in! We’re finally under way again – tonight anchored about 8 miles east of Key West, in Saddlebunch Harbor. Lovely! I’ll take a peek at that blog soon as we have better internet!


  2. The Velcro Harbor Blues…

    Go go go


  3. It is beautiful in many parts – yet so crowded and built up in much of it. I could wish we’d done this 10 years earlier…


    • We have pictures of when my grandparents cruised the Keys with my mom in the 30s. It was remote then. I haven’t been back since the 70s. I suspect you have to go pretty far out to get the old quiet. Or, it is snowing in NE today! 3/31


  4. Nice work alerting the fleet! It seems like anchorages down there are pretty crowded. Good call staying put, though. I look forward to being able to make that kind of decision because I will have the time to wait!!


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