Thursday, June 11, 2015

Gulf Shores to the Florida Keys 2015

 Gulf Shores to Marathon Key, via the beautiful coast of West Florida

Port St. Joe





Charlotte Harbor

Pelican Bay, Venice,  Fort Myers

We took a one month trip to the Keys and back.  Can you believe nothing broke!

4/19/2015 Another year, another trip, as long as we can.  One Eighty has a new bottom and all of the mechanicals have been checked out, so we hope we are ready to head out for a 1000 mile cruise from Gulf Shores to the Florida Keys.
4/20/15  0700 hrs. Watching several storms coming from Mobile area out in the Gulf heading our way at 30 knots.   We will not be able to out run it so we will prepare now and get all sails down and get everything ready for a big blow.  Looks like this one has a punch.

0730 hrs.  Storm hits us with fury.  Has 50 to 70 kts wind and horizontal rain.  Tried to steer our course but the wind is spinning the boat counter clockwise and I am afraid we could break a steering cable.  I turn the wheel to go with the flow and we circle around and head into the storm with engine on.  The plan is for us to get through the storm as fast as possible and let things settle down.  We have the dodger up and all the curtains for the cockpit enclosure up.  The wind has blown one of the windows out and has ripped the zippers in others.  However, no further damage and we are lucky we had fore-warning of the severity of the storm and were able to get the sails down.  In this case, I am confident that we would have blown a sail in this tempest.  It only lasted 30 minutes and now things are settling down.  By the way, its my Birthday! 67 years old, and at sea again.
4/21/15  We have spent a day in Port St. Joe and waiting on Weather Window to head South to Key West.  Now that the storms have passed, the wind should clock around from the North, to NE, to East and finally South East.  We need to head out and try to get there before the SE winds get here so we won't be heading up all the last leg.
4/22/15  We got notice from the coast guard that they are doing a gunnery practice about 20 miles off of Sarasota Beach and that is exactly where we are heading.  Don't want to get accidentally bombed by our good ole Navy or Air Force.
4/23/16  We have decided to go in at Antclote Key and anchor out tonight.  Since we will be making a night approach, we would rather go in there than to try and make it into a congested Clearwater Beach harbor in the dark.
4/23/15  Motored 10 miles up to Clearwater Beach Marina and stayed there a day or so until weather permits.
4/25/15 0813hrs  Set sails in the Gulf heading for the Pensacola Ship Channel.  We are going to try to see more of the Florida Coast this trip and plan to spend some time at Egmont Key and then go on to Desota National Park in Bradenton, Fl.
4/27/15  Met General Weatherepp and wife on 42 foot Herrershoff Ketch, "Shenandoah"(green).
4/27/15 On to Sarasota and got a mooring ball.  Stayed one night on ball and then went in to the Marina and stayed 2 nights.  Loved Sarasota.
4/28/15 We moved on to Marathon Florida and stayed on a mooring ball at the Municipal Marina for several days waiting for weather to give us a break so we could head on to Key West and then Dry Tortugas.
When the weather finally did ease up, we saw a pefrfect weather window to head back home so we sailed north to Boca Grande, stayed there two days then went on to Clearwater Beach and spent a few days there.
5/11/15 Arrived Clearwater Harbor Marina.
Departed Clearwater for Panama City Florida.
5/13/15 Arrived Panama City.  Stayed several days waiting for weather window to head on to Pensacola, then Sailboat Bay.
5/18/15 We arrive Sailboat Bay about 1300 hours and tied up to home sweet home.  We just completed a 1000 mile+ trip with no major breakages.  It was a great trip and we were gone exactly one month. 

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