Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida
It has begun. I speak of this years northward migration of cruisers. The earliest ones have already left. On the cruiser's net this morning I heard announcements of five departures. The peak of departures will happen in a week or two. By May 1, only a few stragglers will be left in BootKey Harbor (not counting the non-migratory subspecies that stays all year.)
I know the feeling well. Plans be damned. One day you look at the sky and something triggers pulses in the brain stem telling you to get moving. In that respect, I belive that cruisers and birds have the same neurons.
Of course, the timing for departure depends on the destination. For those migrating to the Northeast US, the weather and the water up north is still far too cold. Our rule of thumb on Tarwathie has always been to arrive in New York Harbor no earlier than June 1. But for destinations in the Chesapeake or further south, an earier departure is OK.
The timing formuma for cruisers is pretty simple -- follow temperate weather. That works going both north and south.
For many boaters, there is a second man-made factor. To avoid hurricanes, their insurance companies insist on the boat owners staying north of aribtrary lines of latitude at arbitrary times. There seems to be enormous variations on the latitudes and dates.
What about Tarwathie this summer? We haven't made plans yet. For sure, one way or the other, we'll make it to Vermont and New York.