51. Crab Pots, Crab Pots and More Crab Pots

Weds., January 1, 2020

Woke up early and couldn’t get back to sleep. Had stayed the night at the Pilot House Marina in Key Largo. It is located on ‘Lake Largo‘, a small interior lake, actually a basin, about 1/2 mile inland from the Atlantic. Their ocean canal entry is about the narrowest I’ve seen. I wasn’t really sure it was an entry, just looked like a small gap in the shoreline. Crowd sourced navigation notes warn of shallows, of rocks, of blind turns (radio your presence to possible oncoming traffic) etc. Coming in was the slowest I’ve ever run the boat mostly in neutral and coasting with an occasional engaging of the starboard or port transmission for steerage and minimal speed. Crew was positioned on the bow as a lookout and headsets used to warn me of the rock ledges on the sides. Did I say the channel was narrow ~ about 2 boat widths?

So I woke stressed about exiting in the morning. As it was, leaving was to be late in order to wait for the incoming tide. I just couldn’t get back to sleep. Actually the marina, the basin and on site restaurant we’re very nice. Left about 10:30 am and with my lookout and tracing yesterday’s tracks on the chartplotter, I made my way back to the Atlantic without incident. The ocean was a bit bumpier than yesterday with waves running 1 and 2 feet. Winds increased through the afternoon and my course plotted last evening was to be just short of 60 nautical miles. A long distance but with higher speeds in the ocean, it should be a 3 hour day. WRONG!

As I passed south of Key Largo and on to Tavenier and then Islamorada, there were many patches of crab pots and in the sunny shimmering waves, they were very very difficult to see. Passing Islamorada and nearing Marathon, the patches of crab pots morphed into a sea of them. It didn’t seem to matter at what depth of water I ran. It’s both crab and lobster season down here. Lines of white pots running this way with lines of red ones intersecting and running that way. In between would be lines of impossible to see black or blue pots and then there’s the lines of green ones. Since were running out of colors, this red line is marked with TWO red floats instead of one at each location. Literally, there were times where I had to change directions 3 times in the space of 1.5 or 2 boat lengths. It became a slow and stressful and tiring day. But finally around 4:30 pm I arrived at my ‘home’ for the next couple of months. And a nice home it is going to be.

Tucked into my slip, this will be my evening view from the rear cockpit for the next eight weeks.
Here is the Dec 2019 summary report. At the bottom is the summary for the entire year of 2019. It shows 68 travel days covering 2,538 nautical miles. There were 2 more travel days totaling about 100nm which I accidentally erased. So 2019 (Apr 1st – Dec 31st) totaled 70 days and 2,640 nautical miles/3,040 statute miles.

As there won’t be travel the next few weeks, upcoming blog posts will be fewer and more in line with ore typical sightseeing.

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