I use the word "passage" a bit tongue-in-cheek since it's usually used in sailors terms, I think, like making a passage from the Caribbean to Europe, or LA to Hawaii - a week or more on the high seas. For me, making a passage means leaving where I am at to go elsewhere, even if it's a 3-4 drive :) Today we got up at 6 and were ready to head out at 7:15. The winds were expected to be about 15 mph and seas at 2-4 feet but the wind was ENE so it should be fine though there was a small craft warning out for the keys. From watching the past few weeks we've learned that the wind has been starting around 8, picking up at about 10 and full blown about 1ish. So we figured we would leave at first light (can't leave earlier because of crab pots) and try to get in before the winds started in force. As Hal told us in Naples, always follow the lead of the sailboats - they know what they are doing. We ended up leaving Little Shark River right in line with the 2 cats and trawler (the sailboats had to wait as low tide was at 8am).
We had a good trip to Key West though by 10:30 the wind was really blowing and we had the 2-4 foot seas. I was just starting to get twitchy when we turned left into the channel. The travel takes a lot out of me and Martin, probably more than it should because we're so new to it. It's a bit like running across a mine field of crab pots. As the seas pick up, it's very hard to see the pots. I take the "10-12" position and Martin watches "Noon to 2". Between the two of us we managed to see almost all of them calling out "pot at 11 oclock, pot at 10:00, POT STRAIGHT ON - GO RIGHT". I have a pic on the pic of the day. The danger of the pots is that they are held down by a line and if you hit them, the line could get tangled in the props and well, that would be very bad.
We arrived at Key West about 11:00am. We're staying at the Galleon Marina. It's huge! As guests we get the amenities of the resort, the laundry room, showers, gym and pool (and wifi!) - cool. They even have a "poop boat" - they come empty your tank for you ;) It's a little bit of an adjustment to leave the quiet mangroves, dolphins and pelicans for the hustle bustle and noise of a busy marina. I love both - I could easily see going back and forth between the two for the next year! We checked in and went straight to lunch. We both downed a cocktail to calm our nerves and now we're "napping". We'll report on Key West in the days to come!