We travelled 180 miles from Cortez to Key West in about 30 hours. It was an interesting first sail for me. We saw a few dolphins and a giant sea turtle along the way. It started off as a slow sail then in the evening the wind picked up quite a bit. Now I know why we put the harnesses on when we are on deck! I woke up in the middle of the night in 20 knots of wind ahead of the beam which is a bit more than what the boat needs. It was then that I realized the importance of doing the dishes and storing things properly before going to bed at sea! I found a skillet a couple of days later under the nav station. When I crawled my way up on deck and got harnessed in I noticed the sky was so brightly filled with stars. Being away from all the city lights the stars shine a lot brighter and you see a lot more of them. I saw my first shooting star, actually my first seven! Staring up at the sky kept me up for my 4 hour watch, although I think I forgot to check for other boats and to watch the instruments! But, thanks to the gps and autopilot we only got a 1/2 mile off course. We anchored North of Christmas Tree Island in Key West for New Years.
Our first order of business was to buy a new outboard motor. We ordered the motor and a couple of days later we would pick it up in Marathon. While we were in Key we did the touristy things of taking a picture of the southernmost point, walking down Duval street and visiting Mallory Square. A couple of days later we picked up the new Tahatsu motor in Marathon then sailed up to Snake Creek to wait for the fronts to pass and the north winds to go away so we could cross the Gulf Stream.