Day: January 13, 2016
A little after 7am I finally braved the freezing cold and went out on deck to fire up the engines. Jonathan was awake and raised the anchor for me and we set off for Marathon Key. I told Danny to stay in bed since yesterday I took an almost two hour break from the cold while he was at the helm. Six hours later, right at the point that I felt like my insides were as cold as my outsides, we approached Marathon Key and Danny surfaced to take over. There were many shoals and shallow coral patches which we had to meander through and into an inlet that shelters us from waves and wind. We tried several times to anchor but failed miserably and moved on to an open (less protected) anchorage to anchor. Jude and Emma were following behind at a snails pace in the dinghy, and as they came closer to Tanda Malaika, got pulled over by fish and game for not having life jackets on board. Jude seemed quite proud of that fact that she was pulled over for the first time, and that it was in a dinghy! We now have a $90 fine to pay into the frigged state of Florida.
The anchorage we are in is filled with 100’s of boats. More boats than we’ve seen in an anchorage thus far, and unlike other places we’ve been, there is hardly a soul in sight because of the cold.
Jonathan came scrambling down to our berth and said, ‘mom, beluga whales!’ We knew right away that he actually meant manatees, though given the outdoor temperature we may as well be in the arctic with belugas! Jude grabbed her GoPro and jumped in clothes and all.
At first her cannonball, scared them away, but after a couple of minutes they surface a few yards away. She swam over to them and squealed with excitement and yelled, ‘can someone please google whether these will bite me!’ I assured her that the worst they’d do is give her a giant hickey. Before I knew it, Emma and Mycah joined her, and then a few minutes later, Jonathan joined them. They gasped at the coldness of the water but soon became numb and didn’t feel it as intensely.
Mycah took some underwater shots…
After a good half an hour in the water, the creatures decided they were frozen to the point of feeling like they couldn’t quite breathe properly, and I met them at the stern with some fresh towels. They quickly showered , drank hot chocolate and are now looking at their photos with delight. We hope to see many more of these gentle creatures while we are here, and if so, many more pictures will follow.
This morning when I woke up, it was pouring with rain outside and the wind was howling. I knew that when everyone woke up they’d love something warm in their tummy’s, so I cooked pancakes and bacon and served everyone in bed. I also made a few batches of fresh granola, knowing that the baking would heat the boat up nicely.
The company we bought our batteries through seem to have a great product but pathetic customer service. They gave us the number for an installer, who actually installs in homes, not boats, so Danny found an installation company in Marathon Key. We decided to get things ready to head that way, and while Danny and Jonathan went to get us checked out, Jude went up the mast to fix the lines on the stack pack.
The wind was blowing and it was so ridiculously cold, but she wanted to stay up there and swing for a while. After she’d been up there for some time, I yelled up, “hows it going” and she replied, “well, I’m going to try spit my gum out to see if I can hit the water.” I was thinking she was going to reply with a plan of attack on the stack pack, but obviously she had more important things on her mind. Aidan, Emma and I watched as she spat far with all her might (into the mind) and landed her gum about 10ft out away from the boat and into the water. She makes me so proud. What a nut.
Earlier on, her and I were in the galley and she was painting, and this is how our conversation went.
Jude: I think I’m an imperfectionist.
Me: Yeah? Why do think that?
Jude: Because I really love imperfect things. I don’t like new clothes, I love imperfections in nature and my art and everything around me.
Me: I like that.
Jude: The world is not a perfect place and people need to accept that and love it.
I’d never heard anyone call themselves an imperfectionist before, and think it’s interesting that an individual as perfect as Jude, loves imperfections so much. Perhaps that is what makes her so perfect.
We set sail from Key West, leaving behind a wind blown, freezing and gray mooring field, and raised the main and unfurled the jib.
We had about 50 miles to do, and sailed 30 of the 50 before dropping anchor. Everyone up at the helm were so frozen, and we don’t like entering new anchorages in the dark, so we figured we’d stop for the night and continue in the morning. I made a big pot of chunky beef stew and garlic bread to warm everyone up, and now with full bellies Tanda Malaika’s 7 crew members are snuggled down in their warm beds. We are so grateful for our home, and the protection she offers us.