14 January 2017
Key Largo – Marathon, Florida
We were up and ready to go before the sun, and waited for enough light to untie the dock lines to start moving again.
We weren’t very far away from the marina when we heard a new noise – clunk clunk clunk from under the boat. Uh oh!
The speed of the clunks correlated with the RPMs of the engine. We didn’t feel like we had caught anything, but something was definitely wrong. Do we continue on? Do we return to the marina and get a diver? Is it something more serious?
After some initial diagnosis, we put the boat in neutral and then in reverse for a minute. Back to neutral and then in forward and the noise was gone. Our guess is that we caught a fishing line or fish trap that got caught in the prop. But it was able to get free with our little maneuver. With a sigh of relief, we put the boat back on course and continued on.
Today was going to be a long day and we wanted to average at least 6.5 miles per hour to be able to arrive in Marathon by late afternoon.
We passed by a large well protected anchorage we had heard about, and plan to possibly try the next time we pass by this way.
We knew the first 10 miles was going to be through shallow areas and with wary eyes on the depth meter we made our way through.
Whew! We thought the worst was over. We unrolled the staysail to take advantage of some wind and thought we might be able to relax for awhile.
We had been told by friends and the cruisers forums to be aware that fish traps would be a hazard for the next 10 miles. We had seen many before, and thought nothing of it until we entered the “zone”. OMG – traps galore. It took 3 sets of eyes constantly scanning the waterway to pick our way through the minefield of traps safely. A brief respite as we navigated through a narrow channel between strips of land, and then, traps galore again.
We saw a less fortunate sailing boat who must have been more focused on the traps than watching the channel markers hard aground in what the charts showed as less than 1 foot of depth. There was nothing we could do to assist them without risking the same demise, and so we continued on through the minefield.
In the midst of it all we did see a large sea turtle on our port side. You can’t tell by the photo but trust us, there was a large magnificent sea turtle that dove below as we approached, apparently a bit camera shy.
Finally the traps thinned out and we were able to enjoy a few moments of peace before we turned toward land and the Faro Blanco Marina Resort where we would stay for a few days before our crewmate’s wife Sandra would arrive for the last leg to Key West (Stock Island), Florida.