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Monday, April 4, 2011

Hasta luego Los Tortugas... 3/23/011...Hola Marquesas

s/v Wee Happy had a fire performance scheduled for Saturday so off we go... back to civilization.
Motor sailing off to the Marquesas before sunrise.

We planned to depart at 6am but things worked out to be 7am since the sunrise is so late with time change.  We motored around the fort hoisted the sails and left the motor running for 40 miles to the Marquesas Keys.  The wind, what little there was came dead on the nose.
sunrise, 45 miles to go

Even with the motoring into the wind this journey was easy compared to the downwind run from the week before.  The open blue water gave me a chance to use two of my trolling rods.  I had been putting off using them due to so much sargasso and pine straw in Hawk's Channel.  But the water was deep and clear here.  I alternated lures in and out without any luck.  The only evidence I have that fish are here are teeth marks in a brand new Yo-Zuri Bonita.


The Marquesas finally became a form on the horizon and we motored toward the chosen anchorage.  Slowly crossing some shallow flats with water as shallow as 6 feet.  This was in stark contrast to the 103 foot depths I had seen during the crossing.

While motoring all day I had time to organize and plan the assault on the beach.  I was very simple I would drop the anchor and hook up, then toss everything into Boo Boo Tin Tin and off the the nearest mangroves or tidal creek.  Once the dinghy was "packed" with "flying" gear and the destination was narrowed off I went... without oars!  There was almost a two knot current and Wee Happy still had their dinghy motor mounted to the mother ship!  Hand paddling was not enough!  Then I grabbed my Keen sandal and turned it into a paddle.  Once back and oars aboard I rowed off to the mangroves.  There was a tidal flat 1/4 mile out from shore and I only had 6-12 inches of water.  During the trip to the mangroves I made the decision to wade the boat to destination "B".   Destination "B" was the other end of the island.  As soon as the dinghy was in deeper water (12") I pulled it on the beach and walked to the south mangroves and tidal creek.  Once around the point I found a great spot.   The mangroves were sticking out into the water the creek was withing casting distance but the tide was ripping out.  I did manage to catch a Jack Crevalle big enough for dinner (lost the second big one),  two jacks too small, three bone fish, and a spanish mackerel.  With enough light left before dinner I went to prepare the fish to cook.

(all of these were caught on a DOA Terror Eye in rootbeer color)

While I was doing all the above Wee Happy set up a camp fire on the beach, cooked rice and beans, and just made the beach a great campsite for the next few hours.  While rinsing the cutting board and plates in the tidal flat I noticed the bioluminescence in the water.  For the next hour or more we entertained ourselves with the stars in the water.  We had so much fun with this we were almost falling over with laughter, think river dance.  We could also see the band of light created by the milky way since the moon was no longer in the sky.  We had a galaxy above and a galaxy below!  It was such a wonderful treat that we had so much fun here as I was expecting just a stop and go for the night.
Milky way as seen from the Florida Keys
(photo courtesy of Getty Images)

This was an awesome night of friendship at the fire!  Too bad our paths will part in just a few days.  Too bad the rest of my family is stuck in cold PCB and not here!

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