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Finding Our New Worton Creek in Florida

Everybody needs a favorite anchorage. Photo by Terry Boram
Everybody needs a favorite anchorage. Photo by Terry Boram

Everyone has a favorite spot to anchor – that quiet place that puts your life back in balance. Ours was Worton Creek on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, a gunkhole where eagles soared high above the trees while osprey grazed the shores. The sunsets were always amazing and we spent hours counting shooting stars after dark.

We left behind our beloved Worton Creek last fall and headed to the land of sunshine and blue water. As soon as Tri Dreaming’s hulls touched the waters of Biscayne Bay we began searching for our new favorite spot.

Locals here are proud of their cruising grounds. No Name Harbor, Hurricane Harbor, Elliott Key and Boca Chita Key all offer great fishing, spectacular diving and calm areas to paddle, but lack the serenity we were seeking. We asked the Cruising Chairperson at Coconut Grove Sailing Club, Sean Connett, to recommend someplace for our first overnight. His suggestion for the forecasted NW wind was Chicken Key.

The short sail put us in the area of this small island just before sunset. With no other boats around, we questioned where the anchorage was suppose to be. Behind the island leaving us protected from the wind but exposed to the Bay? In the small cove to the right of the channel which looked more like an anchorage on the Chesapeake? We choose the latter.

As soon as we left the channel the water shallowed to three feet. Not taking any chances, we dropped the hook keeping us 30 feet off the channel. Throughout the next few hours fisherman would slowly pass by asking us if everything was OK. Judging by their concerns, we knew we were anchored in the wrong spot but simply couldn’t imagine being behind the small clump of land exposed to the bay. With the stars dimmed by the city lights we knew this would not become our new favorite.

Our next adventure navigated us further down the ICW through two well-defined channels to Pumpkin Key. The locals said it would offer great protection from the prevailing east winds. Seeing several other boats anchored in the area reassured us that this time we were anchoring in the right spot. Although still exposed to the bay, this private island off the Ocean Reef Club provided the darkness needed for a wonderful night of stargazing.

Just before sunrise, wakes from the local fishermen rocked our boat. By mid-morning, a local sailboat race began off our stern and another race passed by off to the west. Quite the busy area. As the strong wind shifted due east, we watched the catamaran behind us begin to drag anchor. Our Fortress 16 also began dragging, giving us a sure sign to continue our search.

With our Christmas stockings hung from the port holes, we took the advise of yet another local and headed for Sands Key on the eastern bay between Boca Chita and Elliott Keys.  Approaching from the south, we immediately knew this was going to be our Christmas miracle. The peaceful cove was surrounded by mangroves with birds singing, dolphins playing and fish jumping. The sun setting just off the spit of land colored the sky for almost an hour. The stillness this cove offered was more than my bottled-up emotions could handle causing a burst of tears of joy.

As the sunrise illuminated Miami in the distance I knew we had found our new Worton Creek. My life was finally back in balance.

 

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