Sep 1 to Dec 15, 2004
Chesapeake Bay to Varadero, Cuba

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(Click on a photo for a larger version)

Many cruisers buy a used RV to cruise the US by land,
leaving the boat on the hard for a couple of months.
Then they sell the car to the next cruiser.

work, work, work .....
Getting the old cutless bearing out.

The major annual service usually continues for 3-4 weeks when we return to Scorpio after our summer's vacation in Finland. This year was no exception, and this time we were really in no hurry to get the boat back into the water - because of the very active hurricane season. It was the first time in more than a hundred years that Virginia was hit by (the remnants of) four hurricanes: Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. Thankfully we escaped the worst, only got a lot of rain.

Scorpio clean and shiny again, ready for the splash.

A lovely house in Beaufort, SC

Also we were delayed because Malla made a somersault on her bike and broke her left collar bone. A few days after launching Scorpio we had to haul out her again to replace the stuffing box. Once we got under way, we mad swift progress. We tried to avoid the ICW as much as possible and sailed on the "outside" between Beaufort, NC, and Charleston, SC, and again between Savannah, GA, and Palm Beach, FL. We explored Savannah on our bikes and realized that it is probably the most beautiful city of this size that we have ever seen. It has a strange feeling about it, no wonder that so many movies have been staged here.

At the City Dock of Savannah, GA

On a mooring at Las Olas, Ft. Lauderdale

This was our 6th  passage along the US east coast between Florida and Maryland, and we decided to try one of the few stretches of the ICW we have never used before, between Palm Beach and Fort Lauderdale. The distance is less than 40 statute miles, but there are a record of 22 bridges that have to open for a sailboat to pass, in average about one every two miles. It went surprisingly smoothly after all and we arrived at the Las Olas Anchorage in central Ft. Lauderdale in 7 hours.

At Las Olas Beach, Ft. Lauderdale

Anchored between Palm and Hibiscus Islands.
Downtown Miami in the back ground.

In Ft. Lauderdale you have to check frequently that your jaw is not hanging down your chest. It's incredible that there can be so much money represented in one spot. Magnificent real estate and a super yacht on almost every dock.

Happy birthday, Captain.
Shrimps, strawberries and sparkling wine on the menu!

Enjoying the hospitality at a dock in Boot Key Harbor.

We arrived in Miami in time for the Captain's birthday, November 16. Anchored south of the Venezian Islands, between Hibiscus and Palm islands, we tried to identify mansions of famous present or former owners, like Al Capone. From this well sheltered anchorage between Miami and Beami Beach, it was only a short dinghy ride to Ocean Drive at South Beach, where we spent an afternoon people watching.

Our host Harry, cutting the Thanksgiving turkey.

 A windy day at the dock at Marina Darsena, Varadero.

Before setting sail for Central America we spent several weeks provisioning and spending a lot of money on new equipment in Boot Key Harbor at Marathon Key. We were fortunate to be able to use a friend's dock to get all the stuff aboard. One of the highlights of the stay there was being invited to join in the Thanksgiving Dinner of our friends.

After three weeks splurging at Marathon we decided that it was time to set sail for areas were spending was not so easy. We had done more than our share to lubricate the wheels of US economy. When there was a brief weather window between two cold fronts we made a pleasant over night sail across trhe Golf Stream to Varadero, Cuba.

The rapid change between two so different worlds was quite dramatic.

The story continues ....

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