Iconic Photos; Amazing Cruising Memories

It’s snowing outside.

Actually, it’s spitting sleet and freezing rain outside, with a temperature that’s forecast to change a whopping 1 degree all day. 32 to 33. Break out the shorts.

Sounds like a good day to look through photographs!

We’ve been fortunate enough to have already taken 2 extended cruises on Calypso, one a 3-year jaunt from Galveston Bay, Texas all the way down to Bonaire (via the Eastern Caribbean) and up the East Coast to Virginia, and one a 10-month odyssey with the kids from Virginia to the Dominican Republic and back. Photos from these trips fuel our discussions and spur dreams.

It is a dream if it really happened?

In no particular order, here are some photos of 3 places in the world we love.

Fort Jefferson

Fort Jefferson

Fort Jefferson, the Dry Tortugas, Florida (USA)

Built as part of the coastal defense system of the United States before the Civil War, this fort never saw a shot fired. Instead, it became a military prison (and almost a death trap). The most famous prisoner? Dr. Samuel Mudd, the doctor who set the leg of John Wilkes Booth (the guy who shot Lincoln.) Mudd was pardoned after his heroic work combating malaria at the fort.

We’ve been here twice by sailboat, once on a borrowed Pearson 30 named Tigress (spring break our senior year from UVA - we misjudged a lighthouse and almost missed the island group entirely) and once on Calypso during our first cruise (GPS makes life so much easier).

The island group is 90 miles west of Key West and accessible only via boat (you can hop on a high-speed ferry from Key West) or private plane. It’s a part of the National Park system with no facilities there.

I can’t wait to go back.

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The Pitons, St Lucia (Eastern Caribbean)

Sailing past the Pitons of St Lucia has to be as sailing -special as sailing past the Statue of Liberty (well, I don’t know about that one - we haven’t done it yet!). The peak popped up from far away, and at this point in our sailing journey the sailing was brisk and sporty but not on the nose. It felt so great to not be beating after working so incredibly hard to turn the corner.

I don’t remember a lot about St. Lucia, honestly, other than anchoring in a scramble in Marigot Bay for a hurricane (hope that isn’t a repeated experience, thanks). This photo, though? It brings up memories of swift sailing with a beautiful backdrop. It’s a pinch-me-now-we-did-THIS?

We’ll do it again. Wonder if we can re-create this photograph?

Joe’s Sound

Joe’s Sound

Joe’s Sound, Long Island, Bahamas

So many of our photos from the first trip are fuzzy. They’re smart phone pictures of glossy film images, or scanned versions of the pictures that are going moldy in our albums. I’m sorry this isn’t as clear as my mental capture of this spot.

5 boats sailed in tandem from George Town, Exumas, along the coast of Long Island in the Bahamas. At this point our destination is lost from my mind (maybe it was Rum Cay?) but Mahalo, Anhinga, Metanoia, Timeless, and Calypso sailed (raced, really) in the lee, towing fishing lines and plotting sundowners. We all needed water, and this inhabited-only-sporadically spot was reputed to have a cistern we could pull from. We stopped outside the entrance and went in via dinghy to sound it out; the charts were only marginally encouraging.

One by one we entered the narrow channel, placing ourselves in a line along the darker water, using 2 anchors at 180 degrees off the bow to hold us in place. The sand bars along the edges would dry at low tide.

In the morning, Jeremy got up to take Toby (the beagle) for a walk. He came back quickly. “Get in the dinghy. You have to see this.” We putted to the furthest point of the river-like anchorage, going against the current, then killed the engine. Drifting back to the boat, we looked down into water so clear that we could see sand dollars on the bottom of the 14 foot deep channel.

And then came the rays. Spotted eagle rays, beating their way against the current, looking like they were flying in the clear water. There must have been 20 of them.

We didn’t make it to Joe’s Sound when we were cruising with the kids. Rumor had it the entrance was chained off, that the cisterns had been destroyed, that the new owners didn’t want anyone going ashore.

Or maybe it is that we didn’t want to destroy our perfect memory of the place.

Are the rays still flying there?