Chesapeake Bay to Marco Island, FL
This is a brief account of the delivery of Gryphon, a Passport 40, from the Chesapeake Bay to Marco Island, FL – December 2014.
Yes, December 2nd was a very late time to be leaving the Bay for points south. The owner of Gryphon was scrambling to complete repairs and modifications. Late or not, off we set in full foul weather gear. And it was cold …
As we ran down the Bay, weather around Hatteras loomed as a critical issue. Approaching Hampton, the choice was clear; drop the hook at Hospital Point and go inside via the Virginia cut to Beaufort. My previous trips were thru the Dismal Swamp, but timing, draft and weather indicated otherwise for this one.
The run to Coinjock was uneventful, as were the bridge and lock clearances. The second day was long…flat water across the Albemarle and up the Alligator River.
A stretch thru the canal, arriving to anchor in the dark just short of New Bern.
Next day provided a pleasant run down the Pungo and Neuse rivers. Another anchor night, and a wait to time our exit at Beaufort. The remainder or the trip was all outside leaving Beaufort 12/9, and accompanied mostly by a large persistent high that delivered calm, clear conditions. Fortunately the weather began to warm. Not the best for sailing, but made for pleasant motoring days under mostly flat water conditions. A head sail gave some occasional lift.
The first glitch came a few miles off Cape Canaveral around midnight. The working fuel tank (of two) ran dry. Engine stalled and no amount of priming was going to restart. Enter Tow boat US, and a trip into Jupiter inlet, and a visit from the diesel mechanic.
Same day service had us back on track. Next stop Key West, arriving at the KW Bight Marina early AM 12/18. It was a good day break, and a chance to visit with KW friends while we prepared to head north up the Gulf.
..and another good lunch at Turtlekraals …
We left Key West in sunny conditions with light winds..
Forecast for the last run to Marco was for 5-10kts and flat water. What we got was 20-30kts, 2 – 4 ft short period waves all on the nose…..it was a long night!
We left Key West about 1600 and arrived off Marco about 0900 next morning 12/19. We worked our way in the circuitous channel to the Esplanade Marina – finding the bottom, not once but three times. Safe at last at the slip about 1000.
The final leg of the trip was an overnight drive from the Naples to the Hagerstown airport – about 15hrs. Home in time for the family Christmas …