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Cruising With The Chilbergs: Buddha, Boating and Barometers (BLOG)

I have a confession to make: I was going to write a blog on the rumor that weathermen used an old Magic 8 Ball and a dartboard to predict weather. But! They got this week right, so I am changing the blog until they blow it in the future!

“When I hear somebody sigh, “Life is hard.” I ask, “Compared to what?”

—Sydney J. Harris

I have a confession to make. I was going to write a blog on the rumor that weathermen used an old Magic 8 Ball (that black ball where the answer floated to the top, that we had as kids) and a dartboard with varied wind speeds, direction, and wave heights scattered over the board with which to predict weather. But! They got this week right, so I am changing the blog until they blow it in the future!

As we pulled into the beautiful Field Club in Sarasota on Valentine’s Day, Lee and I listened to the weather report.


It was to be in the mid 70s for the next two or three days and calm, before a huge ‘Norther’ was to blow in with 20-30 knot winds and seas approaching 6 feet in the shallow Florida Bay between Marco Island and Marathon in the Florida Keys. So after a delightful dinner, we began planning a more rapid cruise south. Remember an itinerary is an illusion to shut up control freaks!

We filled up with diesel (at only $2.58 a gallon versus $4.05 there a year ago!) and headed south in warm beautiful weather. We felt a little like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid looking over their shoulders at the sheriff on their tail. The ‘Norther’ was back there, but we could not see it!

We anchored off Cabbage Key south of Venice and treated ourselves to a hamburger at the old historic Cabbage Key Lodge built in 1929.

This is exactly why we love boating.

This is exactly why we love boating.

They claim, as dozens of others do, that Jimmy Buffet wrote "Cheeseburgers in Pasadise" there. It is paradise and the hamburgers are superb!

As the weatherman kept repeating that the weather would turn in a few days, we passed the St. Charles Yacht Club in Cape Coral and headed under the San Carlos Bridge straight to Marco Island. Dozens of dolphin joined us surfing and jumping along our wake, as Baci barked and growled to scare them to no avail!

Perfect Seas … “Butch, do you see the Norther?”

Perfect Seas … “Butch, do you see the Norther?”

Then at daybreak we departed across the Florida Bay to Marathon. Winds were 0 to 5 knots across a calm sea with sun and temps in the mid 70s – glorious!

As Buddha said in his First Noble Truth, “Nothing is permanent.” Few know that Buddha was a lifelong yachtsman, I suppose. The Marathon Yacht Club had one slip available … 15’7” wide slip for our 15’5” beam Grand Banks … no exaggeration!

I put an old rug between the piling and our rub rail on one side and compressed an old fender along the dock on the other side. Fortunately, it was dead calm as I backed in, to my insurance agent’s relief.

Tuesday night the barometer free fell and all hell broke loose. Winds rose to 20 knots with gusts over 25 knots in a pouring thunderstorm. Wednesday and today the gusts have topped 30 knots and seas out in the Gulf are huge!

30 knot Winds … “Yeah Butch, I see the Norther.”

30 knot Winds … “Yeah Butch, I see the Norther.”

We sit snuggly tied up at the dock and are enjoying the rest. The winds are significantly higher than the bands from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Wow.

In the next few days the winds will die down as both Buddha and the weatherman predicted and we will proceed up the East Coast ICW and be on our way to the Bahamas … did I see the Weatherman in a Lotus Position on the 6 O’Clock News?

Happy (late) Valentine's day!

Happy (late) Valentine's day!