Wednesday, June 2, 2010
After Monday’s long crossing of the Big Bend of Florida - 200 miles from Carrabelle to Clearwater - Tuesday was a shorter trip between Clearwater and Sarasota. I used the afternoon to do laundry, clean the boat and plan today's trip to Fort Meyers. The thing about 75-125 miles a day is that I tend to overrun my planning if I don't spend time with the charts each night. The 250 hp Yamaha has a way of doing that. I can still pause when I like and make up time when necessary.
The intercoastal on the west side of Florida is beautiful with "passes to the Gulf,” homes with boats outside, occasional white-sand beaches, stretches of "no wake" zones due to the Manatees of which I've gotten a glimpse, and unpopulated Mangrove swamps. Also, since beginning the trip I've seen osprey, eagles, seagulls of course, dolphins, egrets, and pelicans. Stopped last week to photograph a snake crossing the Tombigbee River but he dove when I approached. The lady at Bobby's Fish Camp said it must have been a Water Moccasin as most other snakes like rattle snakes can swim but can't dive. I was hoping he didn't find a way up under and onto my boat!
The weather has been in my favor so I keep moving. Today enroute to Ft. Meyers I spent some time around Sanibel Island. While drifting a mile from shore in the bay I noticed I was about to ground in shallow water. I actually got out and guided the boat to deep water - weird with miles of water all around me. As Fred and others have advised, at least when underway, follow the channel markers to the letter. This is a land of shallow water, often 4-10 ft. even in the channels. This will hold all the way to the Hudson River whenever in the intercoastal.
Tomorrow I will depart for Stuart, FL. (about 135 miles) across Lake Okeechobee to the Pirates’ Cove Resort where I'll have scheduled maintenance done on the Yamaha by a technician who Fred knows. Hopefully that will be Friday and a day off before the weekend.
The oil problem seems to be expanding. When I came through Pensacola there was no talk of oil approaching Florida but the winds shifted to the east and now there is an oil sheen on the water 10 miles off the coast there. Sadly, the threat is growing for western Florida. There are now some Gulf sport fishing restrictions off Pensacola - that is not good for tourism or the Captains.
A great trip so far - going solo keeps you very busy. There is no one to blame if something goes awry or you leave the phone charger behind! And so it goes.
Photos: Buoy in Tampa Bay; inches to spare; murals; bridge opening; our perfect house!