Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sombrero Reef

Days on cruise:  297

Distance traveled: 12.8 miles

Travel Time: 2 hours, 26 minutes

Total trip odometer:  6,041 statute miles

photo (32)

Today’s weather forecast was the best we’ve had since Jim and Phebe arrived last Friday, calling for winds about 10 mph and waves 1-2 feet or less.  So late morning we executed a tricky maneuver to turn around in very tight quarters at the marina, then headed south to Sombrero Reef. As soon as we exited the harbor, it was apparent the weather forecast under-stated the wind and waves, but it was warm and sunny so we continued.


Six miles later, after Jim took a turn at the helm, we arrived at Sombrero Lighthouse marking the Reef and protected marine preserve. Here in waters 5-20 feet deep grow long fingers of gorgeous coral heads teeming with fish. We snagged a mooring ball (put in place by the State to keep people from dropping an anchor on top of the coral) and surveyed the rough conditions. Waves were generally 3 feet, occasionally 4, with whitecaps and an underlying swell causing Cathryn (again!) to feel a tad seasick. So we sat on the boat and had lunch, admired the turquoise waters, and soaked up the sunshine. Discussion sometimes revolved around assessing what difficulties might be encountered trying to get out of the water after snorkeling, as the swim step was pounding the waves with a good bit of ferocity.


Finally the wind and waves calmed a bit, so Jim and Phebe donned their swimsuits and snorkel gear and braved the conditions, climbing down the transom ladder to the swim step and taking a Giant Step off in their fins.


They reported the water was fine and the coral and fish, including Sergeant Majors, barracuda and many others we don’t recall by name, were beautiful. P1030798

There were several commercial dive/snorkel boats out too, so lots of folks were in the water eventually.


On returning to the marina we moved into a different slip affording a much better water view off our sundeck, especially of the sunset.


Bob cooked lamb chops on the grill on our transom, and Phebe sautéed vegetables, so a relaxed dinner on the boat rounded out the evening, wrapping up a most enjoyable day.

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