Sunday, April 19, 2015

Lost at Sea


Cudjoe Key, Florida


Between strong winds and being sick, we’ve been landlocked for weeks.

The wind finally died down and we were feeling better yesterday, so we decided to take the boat out for a short cruise.

By the time, we had lunch and got motivated, we didn’t get on the water until  3:45 pm.

We wanted to head out to the Atlantic side but it was pretty choppy, so we decided to head to the gulf or back country side of the islands.

The waters in the lower Keys are pretty shallow, so you have to be really careful not to run aground.  There are navigational markers on the Atlantic side to get you offshore and into deeper waters, but on the backcountry side, you have to rely on your GPS.

We headed under the Kemp Channel Bridge and straight offshore through familiar waters.  Our Rv site is just left and down from the bridge.

Map picture


We  cruised around enjoying being on the water and found some nice fishing spots. We had never gone out quite this far before and we cruised over to Content Key.

Our marine GPS shows our tracks, so we use them to find our way back and to stay in the deeper water.  We ended up in the next channel to the right of the red pushpin, with a big shoal between the two.

Map picture


It looked like the water was deep enough to cross over to our channel,  but we never could find the right spot.

The tide was going out, the sun was going down and we couldn’t get back to the correct channel because of the shallow water. When the sun gets low on the water, it makes it difficult to see how deep the water is.  The previous tracks our GPS was showing were now too shallow to follow so  we couldn’t just follow the way we had come.

It was 6:30. The sun was setting, and if we didn’t get to our channel, we would be spending the night in the boat.   I was mentally preparing for a night offshore.

After several unsuccessful attempts to cross the shoal, we finally decided we needed to head offshore to get back to the entrance of the channel since there didn’t appear to be a way to cross the shoal with such a low tide.

Thank goodness for the blimp which is always flying in the air on Cudjoe Key, as it gave us our bearings.

Once we headed offshore, the water got deeper and we finally found a cut where we could get back over to the correct channel.  Soon we were heading in the right direction.

I was hesitant to breathe a sigh of relief until we got home, but I was sure happy to see this bridge in the distance.


We were in deeper water and heading home.  Our Rv site is on the other side of the bridge, but first we had to navigate through some narrow channels.  At least there were navigational signs again.


The sun was getting pretty low.  Our last two channel markers we needed to find were facing right into the blinding sun, so we had a difficult time finding them.


Al finally spotted the channel markers and we got back to the marina at 7:45 pm…..  

It was nice to be home and NOT lost at sea.



  1. Don't think I'd like that kind of adventure. Glad you found your way home.

  2. That is a little unnerving to get in that situation! I always worry about that going out alone in my kayak so I hardly ever do! Nice to hear you are back home safe and sound. :-)

  3. Glad you made it back in safe and sound.
    I had a boat years ago but only used it in the Great Lakes. You didn't have to worry about tide changes and shoals up there.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  4. That's scary -- I think I'd be freaking out. Glad you made it safely back home!

  5. I have a funny campfire story about being lost at you're not the only one. ;c)

  6. Sounds scary to me too although a night on a boat in GOOD weather would be great I think. So glad you didn't run aground. Guess you'd better start out earlier if you want to go exploring. :-) Glad you are both feeling better.


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