Yesterday we decided to go out to Sombrero Reef. It's got a really old navigation light that was built in 1858 and was actually manned until 1960, where the operators focused a flame through a Fresnel lens that was actually built by Monsieur Fresnel. It cost $20,000 in 1858 dollars.
The forecast was for waves of less that a foot, and winds of less than ten knots. Perfect for picking up one of the mooring balls provided (so your anchor does not damage the reef) and doing some snorkeling. So off we went.
We picked up the mooring ball with a minimum of fuss. We were in about 15 feet of water that was clearer than a bathtub. I could clearly see the patches of sand and rock below Sea Bird. We then got ready to eat lunch, with the plan to snorkel afterward.
Sombrero light is right at the edge of the reef that protects the Keys. Instead of the predicted small seas, we were getting ocean swells of 2-3 feet, confused seas, with the biggest ones on the beam. (The beam refers to the side of the boat.) The result was we were getting rolled. Back and forth, with another wave set contrary to the first lurching the boat in odd directions.
Now some history comes into play. While we do live on a boat, we have spent the last month in Boot Key Harbor. Protected from all sides, the biggest wave we have seen is maybe one foot. In a storm. And driven by the wind which means we are taking it on the bow, as we will naturally point into the wind. We got the bread and sandwich accoutrements onto the cockpit table and looked at each other.
We have lost our sea legs. Time to get moving.
So we cleaned up without eating, cast off the mooring line, and headed back into the harbor. Still choppy, but waves and forward movement we could stomach. Along with lunch.
Today we headed out knowing the weather would deteriorate but wanting some more time on the water. We made it to the cut through in the Seven Mile Bridge before we turned back to Boot Key. No problems with stomachs this time, so maybe it won't be much of a problem to get our immunity back. We could have continued, but the forecast is calling for some uncomfortable wind as yet another front moves through.
No complaints though. The weather here today was around 80 with copious sunshine. Lowest of the lows for the next week is supposed to be in the low 60 degree range. Winds will be in the high 20's or so.
But neither wind nor wave will be on the beam....