I’m going to come right out and say it:  Nikki is way cooler than me.

I mean, did you see her cruise outta that tight marina at Harbour Towne or dock our 43 foot catamaran into a 40 foot spot in our sailing school series?  She kept cool even when things got hairy.  I would have freaked out at the helm…shoot I was freaking out while running around with the roving fender!

I get nervous (a lot more than Nikki) and sometimes I let my nerves get the best of me.  Day 3 of our first solo sailing trip is no exception, and rather than try to explain myself I think it shows pretty well in the video.

Let me start by apologizing (again) to Nikki for making her wake up 2 hours early.  If I would have been more patient we could have slept in and saved diesel fuel because the winds really picked up in the afternoon (i.e. no motorboating, just sailing).  I’d like to say “lesson learned” but I know myself too well, so for now I’ll say “point noted.”

After watching the video, you might be wondering why I was so nervous, it’s due to sites like floridaocean.org that print statements like these about the St. Lucie Inlet: The St. Lucie Inlet has a reputation for being one of the most treacherous in Florida. Sinking or severe damaging of vessels, injuries, and even deaths have occurred here.  The article goes on to describe more horrible stuff and situational errors people have made in this inlet.

As a newbie sailor, at first glance we said “ah hell no!”  However, our sailing friends Greg and Cole, whom we were heading north to meet, assured us it wouldn’t be a problem.  They assured us: come in at high tide, when there is no major weather, and you’ll slip in without an issue.  They were 100% correct, I guess that’s what the books mean when they say enter the port with “local knowledge.” Check out the super calm shots of this deadly inlet, it’s amazingly calm.

sailing florida

learning to sail our catamaran

Our friends just moved to Florida.  Greg’s a captain and is currently working for tow boat US. Cole is a freelancer who wears many hats but has a big passion for sailing.  She has worked as head chef on several yachts and tall ships and they are both simply the nicest people.  Unfortunately, they too are new to the waters (and fish) of Florida, so when we caught a barracuda and mis-identified it as a king mackerel, none of us knew any better.  What’s even crazier, we were boarded by the US Coast Guard at the same time we brought the fish up.  You think they would have said “you might not want to eat that” or something.  Geeze.

Jason wynn looking like panama jack

While we were busy answering questions with the coast guard, Greg and Cole were filleting up the fish.  The coast guard guys were cool and happy to answer a few of our questions as well.  We were pretty excited to have them on board. Why?!? I don’t know, but we were. I guess it’s one of those first big things to happen on our boat.

boarded by coast guard

catching baracuda while sailing

coast guard boarded our catamaran

The good news is, our barracuda was not laced with Ciguatera, so we survived our unforgettable dinner at sea.  At least we all walked away with a good story to share.  Thanks to all the fishermen (and women) on Facebook and Instagram that are looking out for us and helping us learn how to identify our fish.

We ended up not filming our sail with Greg and Cole. We decided to take a break since we’re so behind on editing and really wanted to spend the time getting to know them and practice sailing. In fact we were such poor journalists we completely forget to get a photo with them!  We stayed at Manatee Pocket for a few days to edit video before returning south to Just Catamarans to finish up our boat projects.  The trip north was a great break from the dock to remind us why we bought a sailboat in the first place, but more than anything it was a GIANT confidence booster for both Nikki and me.

On a side note, day 2 didn’t go as planned but it gave us a glimpse of what it’ll be like going ashore for provisions and exploring islands. One day in the future i’m sure it’ll be second nature, but the Lake Worth Inlet was the perfect place for us to “cut our teeth.” Downtown West Palm Beach is a couple miles south for coffee shops, restaurants and nightlife. The Loggerhead Marina to the north has fuel and grocery store literally behind the marina (make sure you call first, they only let us leave the dingy because we purchased fuel and it was closing time). It’s a short motor from the anchorage to Peanut Island for history, exercise and some of the most clear snorkeling water you’ll find in Florida short of The Keys.

exploring peanut island

As for all the boats anchored out near Peanut Island it’s pretty crazy. From the derelict to the disgustingly trashed out, but my favorite by far are the little pontoon float eateries and party rafts. Seems crazy to us people are allowed to keep their boats here indefiniely but it makes for a colorful dinghy ride.

tiny house boat

tiki party boat peanut island

We truly hope you’ve enjoyed hanging with us these past few days as we sailed along solo for the first time.  We have loads of discoverys ahead, mistakes to be made and way more to learn as our adventure is just in it’s infancy.

If there’s a newbie learning story, or any nerve induced mistakes of your own you would like to share, we’d love to hear it.  Maybe you ate some barracuda mistakenly too? No…just us?

Extras you may have noticed:

Equipment used to film this video:

Sailing Report

Date: 7/12-13/2016
Weather: Sunshine and t-storms in the evening
Wind:  South to southeast 5-10 knots
Route: Lake Worth (West Palm Beach, FL) to Manatee Pocket (Stuart, FL).
Anchorage: Manatee Pocket