A lot has happened. We left St. Augustine last January and headed south. Arriving in Vero Beach (aka Velcro Beach) we rafted off a friend’s boat in the mooring field. A week later, resupplied with food, beverages and our new snorkeling gear we were again southbound. Dreaming of snorkeling the reefs in the Florida Keys we arrived in Key Largo meeting with friends sailing a sistership to Second Star. Then, on February 5th, it all fell apart, literally.

The transmission we had replaced last August, broke free of its mount. We were dead in the water, fortunately the transmission failed in a large empty anchorage and not a marina Just to add a little drama to our story, while sitting on an anchor with a broken transmission, we were thrust into the dark with the failure of our main DC on/off switch, no lights, no radio, no refrigeration. Yuck, warm beer just when a cold one was desperately needed. Since the February 5th incident, we have been consumed with repairing the transmission, updating the website has fallen off the priority list.

Several days after the “incident” we secured a 50-mile tow to a boatyard in Marathon, Florida. The cruising community stepped up and we found a top-notch independent diesel mechanic. While Second Star was on the hard for a couple of weeks awaiting repairs, we sought affordable lodgings 90 miles north in Homestead Fl.

Eventually we were reunited with Second Star, though she was not fully healed. With fingers crossed we sailed to Key West, a glorious sail. Blue skies, with a 15-knot breeze on the port quarter, making seven to eight knots over ground; just what the doctor ordered. Anchored out we went ashore, met Susan’s friend whom she had not seen in twenty years, visited Hemmingway’s home and had a beer at Captain Tony’s. A day later I went ashore without Susan to pick up a few supplies. Supplies in hand I headed back to Second Star, however, the dinghy motor had a different idea. A tow reunited me with Second Star and Susan who was left aboard.

And so, it goes. Returning to Marathon we finally got the transmission up and running. The dinghy motor was taken to dealer for warranty work. Problem diagnosed, repaired, and partially covered by the warranty. That was only half the problem. It still fails to start reliably. So, we wait. A new electric outboard has been ordered; it should be here soon.

The past few weeks have not been completely bleak. We took the time to visit shoreside attractions and had dinner with old friends and new, enjoyed some delicious Key Lime Pie and saw more of US 1 than we cared. Spending a longer time in one place yields a better sense of the area. The Conch Republic is unique. Alas, there were no Jimmy Buffett sightings.

There are more stories to tell, and we’ll tell them of our travels from the Chesapeake to the Keys. For now, we just wanted to update everyone on our status and the slow progress to our Bahamian destination. We have been so consumed with the boat issues that writing has just not risen to the top of the list.

As I write this, a pair of dolphins are swimming around our anchored boat, a pelican is following hoping the dolphins raise fish to the surface, while fish seek shelter under Second Star. Our journey has been immensely frustrating while being immensely rewarding. We have few regrets. Next week the Bahamas?

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