Stuck In The Keys: Not Again

Gemini at the dock
Another Gemini at our old marina

I seem to remember being here before, because a similar thing happened the last time I tried to leave this place. I guess there’s worse places to be stuck in this world, but I’m not getting stuck in the Keys again.

The Last Time

I remember it very clearly. It was nearly 3 years ago, just minutes after pulling my hook and motoring just a few hundred feet up Sunset Cove. The transom plate that holds the drive leg on the boat decided to just spontaneously crack.

I didn’t run aground. I didn’t hit anything in the water. It just cracked from age and I guess fatigue, leaving me stuck in the Keys for about 3 more weeks.

Working At Anchor

At the time of the accident I was floating in the middle of the bay, so I had to be towed back closer to shore, to a safer spot to anchor. A new plate and a few other parts had to be ordered from the UK. Then there was the fun removing the old plate which was plastered to the boat with 5200.

Even more fun doing the work in the water from the dinghy…with wakes from passing boats. Add to that an unexpected trip home for my grandmother’s funeral and Hurricane Irene passing by when I returned, keeping me from getting back aboard the boat.

This Time

getting towed
Getting towed up the ICW in Miami

This time it’s very different, though. The trip started further south in the Keys. The problem is the diesel, not the drive leg. And this time I knew there were problems before leaving. Also in the last few years I’ve come a long way as a sailor.

On day 1 we motored just a few minutes into the bay and immediately got the sails up. We averaged 7 knots the entire day, and made it well past our original planned stop. We fired the motor up a few times for short periods just to help us through some of the cuts, and didn’t even turn the instruments on.

Well…except my tablet just to get that speed, and when pulling into a new anchorage at the end of the day.

I Fixed It…For A Minute

The second day we were beating into the wind, and the engine stalled on us, so we didn’t get too far. That night I did some more work on the engine. We started the next day sailing, but once again were fighting a north wind, so we had to fire up the engine. After a few hours, the longest its reliably run in a while, I thought my problem was finally solved.

That’s when it decided to start sputtering, and stalled on us again, forcing us to sail. We made it pretty far up Biscayne Bay, but after hours of tacking, weather picking, and a tired and impatient crew, I was forced to call for a tow.

To be continued…didn’t I mention, we’re stuck in Boca Raton now.

4 Responses to Stuck In The Keys: Not Again

  1. Hi, Chris. Great story. I lived in Key West for 7 years and loved every minute of it. I left in 2000, after I realized there was nothing keeping me there. When Hurricane Jorge hit in 1998, I lost the best job I had ever had and most of my friends had left shortly after that, so I left too. I would love to go back some day, too expensive to live, just to visit. I really enjoyed reading this post, thanks for reminding me of the Keys.

    • I’m glad I could bring you back Peggy and I know exactly what you mean. We were there for 2 years and the Keys is tough. Expensive and good jobs that are stable and non seasonal are really hard to come by.

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