Feb 21 to May 26, 2004
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Our track north
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In February we finally decided to change our plans. Instead of continuing on a southerly path we choose to return to the Chesapeake Bay on the east coast of the U.S.A. One of the reasons was that we were already a couple of months late to have enough time to explore Columbia and San Blas before it would be time to find a place to leave the yacht during our summer vacation in Finland. Instead we would set course for San Blas again in the autumn and hopefully arrive there in early 2005. The distance via the Chesapeake would be a detour of roughly 4.000 nautical miles instead of the 600 straight from Honduras!

A Boxing Day walk in the Bay islands
Tao anchored at Chinchorro Bank

Our first leg was from Utila in the Bay Islands of Honduras to Isla Mujeres on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. We sailed in company with the English ketch TAO, with Sarah and Dave aboard. They had some major problems with the equipment, i.a. a broken autopilot and an unreliable engine and were forced to hand steer. The seas were pretty rough and we had a roller coaster ride during the first day and a half. In order to give David and Sarah a chance to rest we anchored for one night in the lee of Chinchorro bank outside southern Mexico. This is a place where the reef does not reach all the way up to the surface and it looks very strange with anchored boats here. It is as if one has anchored in the middle of the ocean (see the photo above, with David climbing to sort out some tangling). However, with less than 20 knots of winds from the east the shelter is reasonable.

Malla with children in Isla Mujeres
Anchoring between bridges in the Keys

After an other overnighter we reached Isla Mujeres, where we had last been a year earlier. This charming place is a cross roads of cruisers in the North Western caribbean and we enjoyed the company of several crews we had learn to know earlier. Because of persistent north easterly winds it took three weeks before we were under way again. The trip to Key West in Florida, a distance of not more than 350 nautical miles, lasted almost four days. To our surprise we encountered adverse currents much of the time instead of the favourable Golf Stream we had anticipated and on top of all the winds were light and right on the nose.

unset at Bahia Honda Channel
Houses on stilts at Key Biscayne

Because of the depth of our keel we could not sail on the sheltered inside of the Florida Keys and had to wait for weather again for a week in Boot Key Harbor at Marathon before we made it to Miami using the Hawk Channel on the Atlantic side. Thereafter we made quite good progress north along the coast, trying to go on the "outside" as often as possible. We only used the Intracoastal Waterway between St.Lucie River and St. Augustin in Florida, again between Fernandina Beach (St. Mary's River) and St. Simon's Sound in Georgia and finally during the last 200 miles of the ICW between Beaufort, NC, and Norfolk, VA.

Entering Port Miami
Coinjock by the ICW in NC

We arrived in the Chesapeake at the end of April and spent a couple of weeks sailing between familiar anchorages and visiting with friends in Annapolis, MD. Then it was time to head for Deltaville, VA, where we hauled Scorpio out for three months of hard standing. It was time for the crew to enjoy a well deserved vacation away from sailing.

We are going to spend the summer months of June, July and August in our cottage on the shore of Lake Saimaa in Finland. The return to Scorpio is on September 1, 2004. See you back then.

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