Crossing the Gulf of Mexico, April 15 and 16, 2013:
Monday, Clearwater: We left our slip a little before 10:00 and got fuel and a pump out before heading out Clearwater Pass to start our gulf crossing. We had not made up our minds for sure until that morning after checking the weather. It looked like this was the right time to go as bad weather was predicted for the gulf starting Wednesday and through the rest of the week. We traveled with one other boat; Easy Waters; Skip and Karen from Fairbanks, AK. We both traveled about the same speed so the pairing worked well. We had a beautiful day and night on the gulf. We started out with swells about 3.5 feet high and about 5 seconds between swells but about 15:00 the swells got smaller; about 1 to 2 feet and more seconds between each swell. In the late afternoon and early evening we saw several dolphins playing around the boat and a huge turtle, about 3' in diameter, pretty cool. We had minimal crab pot leaving Clearwater for about 20 miles. They were out to 50 feet of water. We have had a lot worse. This time our driving shifts were 3 hours on and 3 hours off and it seemed to work good.
Tuesday, Apalachicola: We crossed over to Apalachicola, FL, and went through Government Cut for the first time. We planned it so we were about high tide going through the cut and all went well until we got to the inside of the cut. Skip went through without any problem but when we came out of the cut we went soft a ground. We did not stir much of anything up with our props but we were still stuck; it must have been a small mound of sand and after wiggling the boat a little we were able to get off without any problem. A Sport Fisherman was on his way out for the day and he said he has never had a problem and told us to hug the green. He offered to pull us out but by then we were free. We thanked him and headed for the GIWW. We got into Apalachicola about 08:30 and it was such a nice day we decided to go all the way to Panama City. We got here by 15:30; just under 30 hours travel time in all and we were both very tired but glad we were here. We are back in Central time zone again, thank goodness. I never did get used to Eastern time zone.
CO's comments: So far I really like my Perkins Diesels. They just purred for 30 hours without a hiccup. Once you have a diesel on a boat you will never go back to a gasoline engine.
4-13-2013 Aft view from our slip in Clearwater. We do not always have a beautiful view, this time we got to watch all the fishing boats for hire.
4-15-2013 Following Easy Waters on the Gulf of Mexico
4-15-2013 Sun set on the Gulf of Mexico
4-16-2013 Sun rise on the Gulf of Mexico, just outside of Apalachicola, FL
4-16-2013 Government Cut just outside of Apalachicola, FL