Greetings all from Ft Myers Beach, Fl,
LYNX arrived December 20th, 17 days from Gloucester, and 28 hours after our very brief stop in Key West. The first part of the leg from Key West was a bit discouraging, since we exited northwest channel into the Gulf of Mexico to find the wind directly agains us at 20 knots, accompanied by 4-6′ of good old GOM chop, which meant setting only the main and fore, and bearing away on starboard tack, laying a course for mobile, since we could point no higher than that and still keep the boat driving along. Fortunately, the wind began to veer and ease up a bit over the course of the day, and the sea laid down enough that by mid afternoon we were able to lay our course for Ft Myers, and were able to set the jib at 1900 and the foretops’l at the 2000 change of watch, and had an elegant night’s passage close reaching in 15 kts of breeze, with the moon just past full.
By the time I got on deck for the 0400 watch we were far enough ahead of our eta to be able to take the jib and tops’l and beat back and forth about 15 miles off shore, waiting for daylight to make our final approach and 1200 arrival of Bowditch Point in the Matanzas Pass. At 0800 we added the main, jib, and foretops’l and hauled away on starboard tack for the initial approach waypoint we had set for ourselves. We took in sail just off the beach, and with Gabe, Bonnie, Becca, and Ben aloft on the foretops’l yard we saluted Bowditch Point with a couple of rounds from the starboard guns, and motored up the channel to our new home here at Nervous Nellies.
Executive Director Jeffrey Woods had told me to expect a warm welcome from the town, and he did not under-sell the event. There was a color guard from the local VFW post, the mayor and members of the town council, LYNX volunteer, sailor, rower and friend Joe Guttieri, reporters, tourists, tall ship fans, parents, and the very gracious staff of Nervous Nellies were all there to greet us at the at the dock, bringing with them a replacement for last year’s highly traveled and battle-worn Fort Myers Beach Town Flag and a proclamation welcoming us home. So, dock lines doubled up, fenders and chafe gear rigged, and our new Ft. Myers Beach municipal flag flying from the starboard main signal halyard. The crew turned to and tidied up the ship for a few hours, and then was stood down to get some well deserved rest, some hot showers at a nearby hotel, and a big welcoming supper at Nervous Nellie’s, courtesy of Steve DeAngelis and staff. It was a winter solstice supper that couldn’t be beat.
And now we’re settling in, making the transition from delivery mode to day-sail mode. There’s plenty of cleaning, painting, and rigging to be done. New shipmate Jen Dexter arrived today to take over engineering duties from the very able Dan Carter, who departs on December 22nd along with volunteer deckhand and my watchmate, the ever cheerful Ben Markle, and Chief Mate Allison Taylor, who, thankfully, will be returning to us after just a few days home for the holidays. That’s the news from here. Hope all of you are well.