We left on Wednesday, March 1st on a long voyage. Our first offshore trip, too. Eileen took the helm and steered the through the first 5 hours and about half the time we sailed. Charlie enjoyed the ride and messing with boat stuff.
It started shaky! When the anchor was pulled up came an old anchor rode probably 50' in length and covered with barnacles and yuk. Quickly the boat was put in neutral to not foul the junk. It took a bit to get it all on board. Thankfully, I had gloves! Sorry no photos. After a short delay...off we went.
No draw bridges to go thru it was a short 30m trip to the gulf through the North Channel at Pass-a-grill. Another place we've seen so many times by water as we've stayed in the area at the Bon-Aire Motel many times. My the channel seems wider when you are in it.
The wind was on the nose of course so we motored the first 24nm but took the opportunity to go between Egmont Key and Port De Soto. We looked at this passage when we had the weather delay earlier. It looked bigger too. Everything looks bigger on the TARDIS when you're on the inside!
The wind shifted to the South and we hoisted sails for the FIRST TIME on our adventure. The wind lasted for 4 hours until sunset before it shut off and enjoyed a great sail close hauled on starboard tack. Took turns driving and reading until the moon set.
Here's our current books. Excellent reading!
Started the motor at sunset, left the main up and motor sailed at 6 knots till we anchored. The moon was a sliver and set about 10pm. Boy is it dark out there but the stars are awesome! Charlie drove while Eileen tried to sleep after the moon set. We happened upon some reefs and got to watch two large shrimpers working them. Bright lights and man do they move fast. Both turned on their AIS signals when we approached and we could watch their progress on the chartplotter while we stayed clear.
Boca Grande Pass into Charlotte Harbor was hit at 1:30am. The lights in the channel did not match our Navionics. Quite stressful! But we made it thanks to Eileen picking out the right blinking lights and proper channel. We anchored just north of the pass at Boca Grande Pass in 12' of water. We thought we were with a bunch of boats anchored most of which were houseboats. That's odd as it's not mentioned in the cruising guides.
We woke up at 7am and Charlie panicked, thinking we moved during the night because there were no anchored boats. We didn't move it was an optical illusion!
Pulled anchor and headed across the pass to Pelican Bay and are anchored here now. The wind started blowing hard at 4am as predicted and we're in for 20+ knots wind first from the NE then E until Tuesday. Should be interesting.
Before dark another T37, SOLE MATES, parked next to us. Funny thing is Tom Nugent who is staying on the ICW from ECSC sent us a photo of this boat, #26 passing his house a week ago. Hoping to meet them soon!
All is good aboard the good ship TARDIS! Happy March everyone.