Remember Sergio? He was here and took 101 and 103 with his friend Giatano.  He came back to take 104 and brought 2 more friends to take 101, Vivian from Brussels and Julie, a French Canadian.  They took 101 on “Last Call” and then we were off on a 3 day adventure on “Pheonix” for Sergio’s 104.

We provisioned the boat, OMG, did they buy a lot of food and “MAN” could they cook!  Meals were Fantastic(I LOVE MY JOB!).  A course was charted to Marquesa Key, where refugees come a shore escaping from Cuba and is littered with items left behind on the beach.  We anchored about a half mile from the beach and had to dingy in, where we watched the sun set from the beautiful beach as the wind began to pick up, we noticed other boats anchored around the corner out of the wind direction.  If was almost dark with the wind building, so we pulled up the anchor and headed for Boca Grande Key, a straight shot of 6 miles to a mooring ball for the night.

Once there, we had to find the ball in the dark, in a very narrow area with sand bars on both sides and shallow water at the end.  Well, we spotted the ball, Sergio was driving and I was on deck with Julie.  There was no tether on the ball and the current was pushing us, WELL, we passed the ball, I grabbed the ring with our boat hook, we didn’t stop quick enough and as Sergio tried to turn us around, we slid aground.  YEP, aground with 2 knot of current pushing against us, we weren’t moving!  The mooring ball was about 150 yards away, visiIMG_2190ble with our light, so, we got all the lines out and tied them together and tried to reach the mooring ball with the dingy and pull ourselves free.  The crew was working hard, we stretched the line toward the ball, 10 feet short of reaching, this took an hour.  This whole time the tide was coming in, Vivian and I looked in the water, “Hey, does the water look deeper?”  “Yeah” she said, so I tried backing her up and she came right off.  “CHEERS” could be heard for miles around.  We backed her to the ball and tied up for the night.  Meanwhile, the line wrapped around the prop shaft, but we decided to have dinner and work on that problem the next morning.  We got up late the next morning, drank 2 pots of coffee, Sergio dove on the boat and freed the line and we motor-sailed back to a reef on the south side of Key West.  We snorkeled and saw plenty of fish.  Next we sailed back to Key West and anchored in “Man O War Harbor” for the night.  From there, we sailed off the anchor an sailed all the way back to SunSet Marina, where everyone got showers and we said our “good-bys” and they headed for Miami.

Even though, we had a few bumps in the road, we jelled together to become a “GREAT CREW” and that’s why we were successful at handling these tasks.  So a few lessons learned from unexpected events and that’s how they got more than they paid for!