Tuesday, December 10

A Surprise Welcome

We had a smooth Gulf Stream crossing with no wind to speak of.  As we approached the US shores of Florida, the sea breeze began to pick up.  As we pointed south to Key West, we chose to sail inside the barrier reef to take advantage of the flat water and good wind.  We picked up a lot of speed and were at top speed of 8.5 knots.  AHH-MAZING!  It was so much fun.  What a way to end our trip, right?!  Craig went to bed as the sun went down and I was in charge.  The girls settled down in their various spots around the boat and it was me and my (one ear only) i-pod.  The weather was warm and it just so happened to be the night of the super moon.  How cool was that to be sailing during the super moon event!  I was relaxed in the captains chair watching various fishing boats coming and going.  I watched tankers going up and down the big channel.  Even though we were not remotely in the same vicinity, I liked clicking on each one on the AIS screen to see what their name was and where they were headed.  Hey, we do what we can to pass the time.  Essentially I was minding my own business, marveling at how freakin' fast we were sailing!  Let me just say, again, how much fun it is to sail FAST.

 Proof our boat was going over 8 knots!

Sun going down on the Florida coast

Even though there was a super moon on the rise, it was still pretty dark out there.  We were also alongside the Keys, but there weren't many lights from land.  And then it happened, out of the blue....from nowhere, like a stealthy, preying predator.  A US Coast Guard RIB boat flipped its blue lights on and did a quick u-turn and came right up alongside our boat.  I nearly peed my pants as I yanked my i-pod out of my ear and threw it over my shoulder.  I quickly ran through my head what in the world I could have done wrong to deserve flashing lights.  It was 11 pm for crying out loud.  I pounded on the cabin roof where Craig was sleeping to wake him up.  That was always our signal that we needed assistance when on watch.  I guess I pounded with great urgency because Craig was up on deck in 2 seconds flat.  Literally!  The USCG boat pulled alongside and yelled, "Captain, can we come aboard?"  Of course it wasn't really an option, they were preparing to board while Craig was answering.  They struggled to pin the bow of their vessel on our hull and after a few tries, a couple of armed crew members jumped on board.  We knew of a boat that got boarded just a couple days prior and we were prepared for the same (although we didn't believe we would be boarded).  Sure enough they wanted to see the usual safety equipment, passports, flares and boat papers.  They asked us where we were coming from and where we were going.  They asked if we bought anything in the Bahamas and Craig sarcastically answered "have you been to the Bahamas" because the places we'd been didn't have any people let alone anything to sell.  At some point during the conversation that Anything Goes was sailing along, on autopilot, with no one at the helm!  Ooops.  They roamed the boat with flashlights and wanted to know who else was on board.  We explained that we had 3 children that were asleep (not for long).  They questioned that our boat registration had expired and did we have the new papers.  Ummmm, well, no because we didn't get mail while out at sea (stupid question).  Luckily I had an e-mail I could reference on the lap top.  Phew.  Short and sweet, their visit was complete and they walked out to the cockpit to motion their mother ship over.  We all watched for what seemed like forever, as the USCG boat struggled to pull along side our boat.  That's when it happened.  A captains finest moment.  When I say captain, I mean Craig's finest moment.  The USCG captain hollered over to Craig and said "Captain, can you slow your boat down please!"  Are you kidding me!   Craig beamed with pride as we luffed the sail and slowed down to allow the USCG crew to make it safely back on their boat.  After they pulled away, Craig and I looked at each and squealed with excitement "Can you believe they asked US to SLOW DOWN"  Holy cow batman, that was a first for us!!  Usually getting boarded by the USCG is NOT that exciting, but we were thrilled to say the least.

This is what the USCG boat looked like - big and fast.

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever visit Dubai or thinking to come to Dubai and planed a yacht or Cruise so just came to #superyachtdubai and get discounted rates.. Dubai Ocean Cruise