Monday, May 31, 2010
On our second attempt Fred Martin and I made the Gulf crossing today from Carrabelle, FL to Clearwater, a distance of over 150 miles. We tried Sunday morning but seas were too high. We had waves coming under the front gate of the boat and could only make about 5 mph so would not have reached even a 70-mile intermediate position at Steinhatchee. The trip today was grueling due to getting underway at 6:00 AM and the nature of constant wind, sun and pounding from the waves. The bimini supports temporarily failed and we traveled the remainder of the day in the sun. We were at least 20 miles offshore most the time. I almost misjudged the fuel consumption and we had to stop in Tarpon Springs, a short distance north of Clearwater, to gas up. That was after we emptied my two, 6-gallon, government-mandated gas cans. Don't buy these cans if you can avoid it - they make life more dangerous, not safer. It has to do with a spring loaded cap that must continually be pressed while emptying the can. Try that leaning over the side of a boat in the Gulf with waves rocking the boat and gnats swarming on you. Sounds like the work of another bureaucrat with too much time on his hands and not much life experience. After fueling we then spent the better part of two hours looking for a marina and hotel. A long but satisfying day; not sure I could have done the crossing without Fred's help. Wonder if a pontoon boat ever made this crossing?
Carrabelle is an interesting town of 1,500. A former prison guard who is in charge of the marina, saved us after we arrived from Panama City on Friday [Memorial Day weekend] and couldn't find lodging. Via his co-worker's sister-in-law we had a nice place to stay Friday night and last night a room at the marina motel close to the boat for an early start.
I was talking to a local resident at the boat dock and he said there used to be a T-shirt going around with the words, "Carrabelle, a Nice Little Drinking Village with a Fishing Problem.” Yes, there is an obsession with fishing in these parts.
Am sorry to see Fred leave tomorrow as his companionship for the past 3 days has been a break from the solo days. His boating expertise and sage advice are going to prove very helpful for the remainder of my trip. Hopefully he can join me again later.
Photo: Lyn taken by Fred. A picture of Fred will appear in the next posting