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Florida 28.4. - 10.5.2005

28.4.  5.5.  10.5.

28.4.2005 Key West, Florida, USA
Surprise, we are in the USA! Presently, our life and decisions are streered by winds and currents, and the goal is quick proceeding to north. We realised that if we want to maximise the progress, we'd better land to Key West instead of Havanna. The proceeding is scheduled by cold fronts coming over the Gulf of Mexico. Before a front it blows 2-3 days southerlies, after northerlies. Now we are 100 miles north of Havanna, ready to use the next south wind effectively. It's a bit sad that we didn't make it to Cuba, but lets leave it to the good memories (see logbook from Cuba 2002).


A 72-hour forecast received by SSB-radio. 
Before the cold front it blows 10 knots from south, after the front 
15-20 knots from north. Numbers are wave heights in feet. 
The red spots: Isla Mujeres and Key West.

And then to the passage from Isla Mujeres to Key West. It was great! 342 nautical miles in 48 hours! 171 miles in 24-hours! Max speed 9.6 knots, average speed 7.1 knots! We got 50 miles extra thanks to Gulf stream. There were no odd ugly waves, like we had when we crossed the Gulf stream from Key West to Havanna, but that was a wind-against-the current situation. The cold front with thunderstorm and rain came on us 40 miles before Key West. Wind decreased and veered from SW to SE. Next day - today - it has been blowing hard from NE. It would not be nice to be out there, struggling headwinds and mad waves.


It has been a while since I had a raincoat on. 
A cold front hit us just before Key West. 

Yesterday, immediately after arrival, we phoned the customs 1-800 report number, and today we went to customs and immigration. We have a valid cruising license from our last visit to US, so the clearance was easy. You are not allowed to bring fresh fruits, vegetables, meat or eggs into the country. We had some bacon and ham left from Mexico, and the officer gave us instructions: we have to consume them on the boat, not to bring them ashore. Yep!
For us Key West is just a stop-over, waiting for the weather, although the town is lovely and full of attractions. The price level, however, rose x-hundred percent compared to Mexico and Central-America. Marina slip is 2.20 per feet, internet 20 cents per minute (12 dollars an hour). We haven't even looked at the restaurant menus. But we don't have to go to a marina, there is a free anchorage, full of boats. Our plan is to continue as soon as possible, maybe to Fort Lauderdale or Palm Beach. From thereabouts it's possible to take direct course towards Bermuda.

We had a swallow with us for some time.
On the photo the bird is peeping over Hannu's shoulder at the huge and sharp toothed barracuda we just catched.
Shortly after this it flew away. It might have been too slow transport for the north headed swallow. It must be in Finland before us! (We have a saying, that seeing a swallow means the summer has arrived to Finland.)
10.5.2005 Palm Beach, Florida, USA
The engine problem was not solved with changing the rubber cups of the heat exchanger, also the tubes were worn out and dirty. First we thought that just rinsing them would be enough, but when small pieces of copper fell out from the end of the tube, it was clear that we have to get a new one. A call to Perkins dealer in Miami, who fortunately had the part in stock. Price  600 dollars + tax + delivery. Now we are waiting for the part. We came to a marina from anchorage, fee "only" 40 dollars per day, because Riviera Beach Marina is municipal. Oh yes, and after the last update we have sailed from Key Biscayne to West Palm Beach, 74 miles north (look at the map 5.5.).


You can keep you boat dry, 9 dollars per feet. 

The luxux of Palm Beach isn't very vivble here, the marina is located by a busy highway with dodgy surroundings. Several watertaxi, diving and fishing companies have boats here as well as many liveaboards. Suits us, you can do work (other than polish) and dry clothes on the deck. A bus takes you to the croceries and internet. Waiting makes us more eager to start sailing, but it has been very windy spring on Atlantic, as the weather fax below from Boston shows.


Forecast for the 7th of May. Red spots from left: Florida, Bermuda, Azores. 
 The low on Azores has been moving very slowly and it's also here marked as stationary (STNRY).

In a couple of days, the 12th of May, it's four years since we left Finland, look at the brief summary page.

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