Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Carlyle kind of day

In 2012 B.C. (Before Cruising), we used to go sailing on our home lake, Carlyle Lake in Illinois. For the most part, the wind on Carlyle was pretty light, with the exception of the occasional approaching line of Midwest thunderstorms. The genoa would have just enough wind to keep a shape while we ghosted along at 3 or 3.5 knots, the waves doing their gentle slap on the hull, the warm early summer breeze and sunshine on our faces, and the occasional cry of seagulls fighting over their lunch. We would sail toward the dam, tacking through the many obstacles and shallow spots on the lake, and debate whether we should turn back with that last tack or go on. The lowering sun would usually beckon us toward our slip, but Kintala would urge us on. "Just one little bit farther," she would say.

Yesterday was a day like that. While the water was much bigger and a prettier color of green, we left Boot Key Harbor fully loaded with water, diesel and ice and a freshly emptied holding tank. Our goal was an easy 12-mile sail to Bahia Honda, and a little more than half a day to do it in. After checking the weather the previous night, we had expected to motor this piece, but after clearing the channel markers,we were pleasantly surprised to find that we had just enough wind to sail. It would be a bit of a challenge, the wind being very close to where we wanted to go, but with expeditious tacking through the shallows and hundreds of crab traps we thought we could do it. Kintala was able to maintain 3 knots most of the rest of the day, even easing through the Mosier Channel twin spans of the 7-mile bridge while dodging fishing and diving boats.

Our destination anchorage began to take shape on the horizon about an hour and a half before sunset, but it became obvious that our initial route wasn't going to be possible given the winds. We pushed on a little deeper toward the shallows to give us a better angle on the tack, dodged the worst of the crab traps, and settled the Mantus just a few minutes before the sun hit the horizon, and the conch horn was blown. A large dolphin broached, slapping his tail just as twilight was fading, and a turtle cleared the surface a few times as he finished his dinner and headed home.

It was a great sail. Some great sails are blustery 25-30 knot days with reefed canvas and the rail nearly in the water, the likes of which we've had in the Bahamas, the Chesapeake, and even Carlyle. Those sails are like a shot of really good Cuban Coffee. But some great sails are these days where you have all day to make just a few miles. After the bustling pace of places like Boot Key Harbor, the peace and quiet is a welcome respite, interrupted only by the occasional teasing gust of wind that brings the secondary bubbling around Kintala's stern indicating we're approaching 5 knots, only to fade away. Those sails are like a long deep-tissue massage, relaxing you to your very core and leaving you with wispy smiles.

The morning sun is clearing the horizon, and after a week of sitting still, Kintala is eager to be moving again. "Just one little bit farther," she says...

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nice to see yáll moving and having fun!