Our adventure begins Sunday evening when we first set foot on the Bahama Rogue, a 41 foot Morgan, captained by our guide for the week, Captain Feather Lee. Captain’s Feather’s initial words for us ……..”the difference between adventure and catastrophe is attitude”………set the stage for a test on some of the Scout Law……Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient were key elements for our trip.
Sunday’s run was short to get us quick feel for what was to come. In an hour we were anchored for the night, but the boys did get to learn to steer: “You want to turn the boat the way you turn a lady on the dancefloor – nice and slow. If you turn her too fast you may get sick!” Scouts got to work stowing gear and trying to figure out where they were going to sleep. Like an RV, tables break down and cushions move to just make room for 6 scouts and 2 dads. Got our first taste of Anchor Watch on shifts 10-12, 12-2, 2-4, 4-6. A little rough but everyone took their turn.
Monday morning, we were getting our sea legs and had our first real taste of open water as we made our way to our first snorkeling excursion at Sombrero Key. The scouts drummed up a nice breakfast of scrambled eggs and bagels. Captain Feather gave a few lessons on proper handling of ropes so that we all kept our thumbs. Our fisherman landed the first of many fish to come, a Yellowtail Amberjack and Lesser Amberjack and Cero Mackerel. The Cero made the cut and we had our dinner appetizer in the cooler. Tacos for dinner (on a Monday) repurposing the hamburger patties with taco seasoning! Wrapped up with some Unstable Unicorns then went about trying to stuff a few hundred pounds of scouts into a 100-pound cabin. All good.
Tuesday AM we got ready for our first snorkel on Sombrero Key. A little cloudy but lot’s of colorful tropical fish, coral and plant life to see. Lunch was simple but filling sandwiches. Motored for a time to make our way to calm water channel to make sure we weren’t rolling around in our sleep. For dinner Scouts teamed up to the rest of the leftover hamburger meat in a meat sauce with spaghetti (with a nacho appetizer using leftover taco meat!). Around the boat wet clothes and towels adorned the railing. A large barracuda hung out at the back of the boat like a dog waiting for treats. The night was clear and we got one of many picturesque sunsets; extra bright orange lighting up the grey skies. Our fisherman we still working and managed to haul in a 6” pin fish………better than no fish.
Wednesday AM French Toast for breakfast; delicious. A little mishap with the stove and we melted a bowl lid. Par for the course per our Captain……….no worries. More fish as we made our way to Looe Key Reef. Now this was the real deal. Beautiful clear blue water and lots to see. A large Grouper was hanging out under our boat thinking we looked like we’d spill some food. Nurse sharks and Reef sharks were making their laps while sleeping. No break for lunch as we got motoring for our mid week stop at Bahia Honda State Park. Ice cream, air conditioning, and land………felt good. Did a little exploring around the rocky beach. Lizards seemed to rule the roost. In the swimming area, scouts setup “Lilly Pads” which pretty much became a floating mosh pit. Lots of fun, no injuries to speak of. Dinner time! Broke out some charcoal and cooked up our top meal for the week; steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, and Hawaiian roles. Yum. Desert was baked cinnamon apples……….one to remember for our next campout. Took advantage of available showers at an adjacent RV park. Back to the boat for some TACOCAT cards, then off to sleep with no worries of anchor watch.
Thursday we got word that tropical storms were brewing southwest of the keys and that we’d have to return to Sea Base base camp. We were at the southern end of our trip and it would be a long day of sailing and motoring to get back. Got on our way and enjoyed music themes like movie songs, Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack, Weird Al Yankovic, etc. Under sail, we started looking off to our starboard side…….that looks like a big storm coming. We geared up, assembled on our designated ropes and pulleys and waited. Wasn’t long before we were fighting wind and waves. With some sore hands and a broken cleat, we made it through arriving late afternoon back at Sea Base, after a 40+ mile day on the water!!! Great dinner of Chinese Stir Fry and fried rice to cap off the last night on the boat. Friday morning we had pancakes (made by the adults) and then headed on to Sea Base! Great trip overall – learned a ton, about way more than sailing! We really lucked out overall with a great captain, a great boat and a great crew! Unforgettable trip!