18 January 2011 | Sarasota Bay
It's been a week since we left Port St. Joe, Fl, and traveled via the ICWW for a 5 hour trip to Apalachicola. Our 2 and 1/2 day stay in Apalachicola was plenty enough to see the small town, do some laundry and eat some of the biggest and best oysters ever. Due to the bitter cold, much of our time was spent hunkered down below with our heater going, cooking, reading, planning and movie watching. Timing and weather would be crucial for the next leg of the trip.
Friday morning around 8:30 we cranked up the motor and due to mechanical issues it took about an hour to get going. This happened leaving Port St. Joe too and since we haven't had any problems before or since, I believe the boat just does not want to leave in temperatures below 32 degrees..... like me.
Once underway we made it through St. George Island Government Cut with no problems and we were back in blue water. With NE winds @ 10-15 knots and 2-4 ft seas, we were able to sail all the way to the Tampa Bay entrance channel. We found our destination anchorage of Egmont Key to be inadequate protection from the strong NE winds so we traveled a little further south via the ICWW to Longboat Key where we anchored for the night.
After 33 hrs of traveling we were exhausted and I was a bit banged up. Even with the boat sailng as beautifully as she did, at 6-7 kts when healed 20 degrees, maneuvering around the boat is never easy. You do get used to it but by then muscles come into play that haven't been used in way too long.
The next morning (Sunday) we pulled up anchor and headed back into the Gulf for Venice. We were sailing close to shore, enjoying the warmth and view of South Florida when the phone rang. It was a friend who lives in the Osprey/Sarasota area who convinced us to come into Sarasota Bay. We hadn't planned on it as most of the guide books don't recommend entering thru the Gulf.
And so we did... and after just one brief run in with the ground we were back in the channel and soon anchored in Sarasota Bay. Our friend Paul and his wife Sue joined us on the boat for cocktails and sunset then showed us around downtown Sarasota. We had a great evening enjoying burgers, beer and good company.
Monday morning I was awakened by Dave calling for help. The winds had picked up to around 15 knots and we were dragging anchor. After about an hour ordeal which included be sweared at by a dude who has taken up permanent residence on his dilapadated boat in the bay (Picture the guy you see pushing their shopping carts/bicycles around with all of their worldly possessions) we were set again. There are a few of those type boats here in the bay with people on them going nowhere. After this I went down below and slept to 2:30! It was a dreary day and we got some much needed lazing around and picking up/organizing around the boat done. I also managed to cook a pot of Jambalaya.
Today we will get picked up around noon by our friend Paul for what I'm sure will be an adventerous day and we will later have dinner at his home and get to do some laundry. Laundry has become quite the pain, but hopefully as the weather gets warmer it will be less so.
Thursday or Friday we'll head toward Naples with a stop in Venice maybe.
We're in Sarasota Bay. We're the boat still flying the Saints Flag. Come by and have a drink.