A Dark and Stormy Night

How Dark is it at Night?

I had been looking forward to, and dreading, our first overnight sail on Independence. Would it be scary? Would ships run us down? We are greenhouse people who live our lives under the constant lights of the city and the blue glow of our devices. So, in all earnestness and with great trepidation, I ask: Is night on the ocean dark, dark? Is it like flying over the Everglades at night and you lose your vestibular senses and go into a death spiral, all the way to the bottom of the ocean, where scary creatures you thought were myths await?

We're All Going on a Summer Holiday

We wanted to head down to the Keys for a summer vacation. Since it was farther than we could reasonably sail in daylight, we decided to start at night to make sure we reached Elliot Key during daylight.

We headed out Lake Worth Inlet at sunset and got hit by a rain squall as darkness fell. Yes, it occurred to me to turn back through the inlet, re-anchor and sleep in the company of city lights.
However, I rather like suffering (makes me feel like singing Rule Britannia!) so we pressed on; me at the helm, drenched, with no rain jacket; Matt inside, wearing his rain jacket. Watches were spent alternating between the helm and cockpit, staring at the black waves barreling towards us, staring at the moon and the South Florida skyline and the stars. Quality staring, not my usual staring at a glowing screen. I saw three ships, huge and far off. Other than that, the ocean was ours. It is dark at night, but not dark, dark. 

Night Sailing
Hastings had quickly resigned himself to his fate of having to put up with our shenanigans and slept with the off-watch person. 

The Golden Orb Rises

We alternated watches until the sun rose and Matt took over to helm through Government Cut in Miami. I feel asleep and only woke to close the salon hatches when water gushed through them.

I woke to find we had made it to the Port of Miami. Matt reported a trying traverse with breaking waves (hence my need to close the hatches) and noted I had missed a Cessna Caravan float plane taking off. A night and day change: So many sights! Barges and ferries and shipping containers! Calm seas with no lurching! And this golden orb is really something!
Government Cut, Miami
We sailed on through Biscayne Bay. A megayacht with nude sunbathers overtook us. "Higher powered binoculars" were added to the wish list. 

Looks Like We Made It

We anchored at noon at Elliot Key after a 91 nm trek. Crystal clear waters, no civilization, and a private beach! Hastings was taken to land and seemed to forgive us for being such beastly humans. What larks!

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  1. Sounds like quite an adventure! I went out on a fishing charter with my father when I was young. We left before dawn, so I got a small glimpse of being on the water in the dark. Very exciting.

  2. Thanks Lillian! Your fishing trip with your day sounds fun. Unusual experiences are the brightest threads in the rich tapestry of life.


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