We begin our trek north with the ultimate goal being Clearwater Fl. by making a run to Marco (Polo)
We then moved over to the east side of Christmas Tree Island and hung out for the afternoon and prepared the boat and ourselves for a night sale. This means rigging jacklines on both sides of the boat, making sure our tethers are ready, checking flashlights, laying in a course on the GPS and so forth. At 6pm, after a spaghetti dinner for our long run, we headed out the northwest channel out of the
We were able to set sail around that buoy and sail our course on a broad reach in about 10 knots of south east wind. We were making between 4 and 5 knots. The sun set was spectacular in a perfectly blue sky followed by even more spectacular sail under the stars. We love sailing at night. We tried to set the autohelm so the helmsperson could sit back at the helm and enjoy the ride and the stars. It ain’t working! I thought I had fixed this some time ago but now it is not getting any signals from the compass at all. Nothing. Hand steering through a long night can get tedious especially for one with a short attention span. Scott! He’s all over the map when he steers. However, sailing north is easy on a clear night because rather than stare down at the compass you can stare at the north star! We found we could position ourselves with respect to the mast so that when the north star was just to the right of the mast we were on our plotted course. Well of course you can do this….this is how most of the planet was discovered! At one point Scott saw a shooting star that looked like the ones they draw in cartoons. It looked like a fiery snow ball and it covered about half the sky.
We took 2-3 hour hunks at the helm depending on how we felt. Around midnight the wind pooped out and we began to motor sail with just the reefed main up. (We always reef the main at night no matter what!) The nearly full moon had come up and as it got high in the sky, washed out many of the stars but we could still see the north star and use it to sail by. It is so good to be on the move again! We love the sound of the boat moving through the water. We love the feeling of aloneness when you look all the way around and only see the horizon. No lights, no boats, no shore. It is a weird and wonderful feeling and we never (yet) tire of it.
Sleep happens in 2-3 hour hunks and is not as sound as when you are on the anchor. Around 7 am we spotted the southern tip of
We came easily up the river now and made our way to the anchorage area. The little Factory bay is surrounded by homes and tall condos. There is room for about 3 boats in the anchorage and we’re number 3.
AHHHHHH…the hook is down. Nothing broke and nobody died. Well nothing new broke anyway. Another great sail and now for a well deserved Budweiser. If only it were Old Style! We also celebrated our anniversary by dingying over to the ‘world famous Snook Inn’ restaurant. Sue called to see if we could park the dingy while eating. The guy said they have plenty of boat slips available. Sue said our dingy isn’t very big. He said their slips weren’t very big either. We had a good dinner but had to endure a karaoke like performer who abused every song he sang. Anyway we still enjoyed our celebration. Getting back into the dingy we found that as the tide went down (about 2 ½ feet) our motor stuck in the mud. So the valiant Captain jumped into the water to free the motor as the princess, or should that be maiden Sue (oh, please) climbed down the steep pier into the boat.
We were definitely ready for a long sleep. But wait. What’s that at 12:30 a.m.? Of course, thunderstorms! Back to our 2 to 3 hour sleep schedule. It turned out not to be very violent storms but Sue kept close watch anyway. Our new hatch covers (remember
Post Note: Well the winds are still strong from the northwest so the current plan is to leave Thursday morning as the wind shifts to the west and sail on through to Clearwater, about a 26 hour sail. Today we'll reprovision a bit in the town of Marco Island and wash clothes with the fresh rain water collected during Tuesday's day long rain.