Under the Bridge of Lions for the 8:30 a.m. opening, we leave St. Augustine with the outgoing tide. The weather looks great for a comfortable sail down the east coast of Florida.
Bumping through the channel is a bit wild, but we know it will be calm once we we’re out in the ocean. With sails set at about 9:30 a.m. and wind speed 12-15-knots, we make about 7.5+ as we head southbound. Seas are 3 feet or less, so we’re smooth sailing.
As always, fishing lines are out. The boys tuck into the “nest.” For overnight passages we drop the salon table and add pillows, blankets and stuffed animals to make a comfy place for everyone. This includes our old man Jock dog. These days sailing makes him anxious—and at 16 years old, our job is to make him as comfortable as possible.
A nice surprise, little Jack arrives at 4:30 p.m. about 8 miles offshore. This tired little garden sparrow is not a seabird. We’re not sure if he’s lost his way or he’s ready for a new adventure. This brave little bird is not scared at all. We give him some fresh water, a sampling of seeds and crumbles of fresh bread. He hops merrily around the boat until he finds the safety of the windlass locker and tucks in for the night.
Next morning, we’re all up with the beautiful sunrise. And our little stowaway is still with us. Little Jack sparrow moves around the deck happily after his much needed rest. Back to where he left the seeds and bread last night, he pecks at the chia, flax and breadcrumbs. His morning is spent testing his wings. He takes off toward land then swings back around to rest on the lines. We’re angling more toward shore now, so the distance is closing in at about 3 miles to land this morning. At about 12, he takes off and we say our good-byes
As we get closer to West Palm Beach, we notice that there are fishing boats everywhere. Excitement abounds as we see “bait balls” next to the boat. Phill steers the boat straight through. He lands an 8-lb. mackerel and filets it immediately off the stern.
At about 2:30 p.m., we enter the Palm Beach inlet. It’s straightforward but also a very busy channel this sunny Veteran’s Day. Our anchor is down by 3:30 in the enormous mooring field and anchorage area south of Peanut Island.