At Last, the last leg, hopefully

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October 31st 2011
Published: October 31st 2011
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Ready, Set, We’re Gone

Our time at Caladesi State Park was very relaxing. Mary enjoyed a swim on Friday, but Saturday brought much higher seas and possible rip current, so she backed off. We visited in the morning with Phil and Karen, showing them some gunkholes around Charlotte Harbor and they introduced us to a dock at a McDonald’s north of John’s Pass. Mary visited the beach at sunset with a couple of ladies on a fellow boat and then retired to dinner on the PDQ. Quiet night, early bed….the usual
Low tide was at 8:30am, but we were ready to go, so go we did. The only water around was what was just beneath us and that registered under 3 feet. Everywhere we looked we saw we saw sand and weedy shoals. But, we pushed on, hoping the tide was coming in. We stayed on the inside anticipating rough seas in Tampa Bay. Actually, the tide came in ever so slowly. I tried to talk Rog into breakfast at a few coastal dining places, but he feared the shallow waters, so we pressed on.
We moved to the lower helm for the Bay and were pleased with the way the PDQ handled the waves. Our direction was a plus with the worst of the rough water behind us. Rog wouldn’t stop at the dock at McDonalds near John’s Pass claiming it was too shallow. I tried once more to have Rog stop at my very favorite restaurant in Long Boat Key, Moore’s Stone Crab, but he once again refused. You might get the idea that all I think about is eating. Yes, it’s true, I do think constantly about food while on the boat. I finally took matters into my own hands and warmed lasagna which Rog thought was too difficult to eat in the rough seas.
Big Sarasota Bay was rougher than Tampa Bay, mostly because of our direction. The captain altered our course slightly to improve the ride. That brought us by the Ringling Museum and Mansion. Quickly after venturing under the bridge we entered Marina Jack’s and took a slip right next to the restaurant. Rog quickly got us tied up, pumped out and connected to cable. His ulterior motive was the NASCAR Race. We were all tucked in by 2pm having made very good time traveling in most areas at 13 knots except where there were no wake signs. We enjoyed dinner at Jacks and the music of the live band for the rest of the evening.
Up bright and early, eager to make the last leg of the trip, the rain came. As of 9am Monday, our travel plans are up in the air: to go or not to go. We’ll have to play it by ear. Oh, what the H___, we shoot for it.
Within less than three miles out we hear the Coast Guard warning of water spouts south of Sanabelle with very high winds heading to Charlotte Harbor. One of our friends called as we neared Venice to check on us and warned that it was raining cats and dogs in Punta Gorda. So we tread water, moving very slowly southward, checking the weather via the computer every 10 minutes. In the meantime, we pass several places that we may have anchored or taken a slip. At Hurricane Hole, just north of the Boca Grande Bridge we decide to head north thinking the storm has ebbed a bit. The bad news the bridge doesn’t open every 20 minutes and we have to wait more than a half hour. The Bridge is 15 ft and even if the Cap’t drops the instrument pole we are 16ft, so we wait it out (patiently, almost).

We are eager to get home, but with mixed feelings. We’ve had a great time and now have lots of work ahead of us. Opening the house that’s been closed for the summer and cleaning and emptying this boat and getting the sailboat cleaned and ready for sail are daunting tasks. We’ll have to “slide into” this kind of rigorous work.

Thanks for sharing the trip with us. Hope to see youon the water again, some time.

Rog and Mary

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