3-15-2014: Anchored out in the beautiful, clear blue water by Manjack Cay, Abaco, Bahamas

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Saturday the 27th, Cape Haze, FL, anchorage

Saturday, 12-27-2014: Low tide was at 11:15 this morning so we got going about 09:00 to get ahead of it. We had 9 bridges today but only had to have 3 of them opened. It saves us a lot of time by putting our large antenna down so we can make it under 22' bridge clearances rather than 29'. It was a beautiful, sunny day and 75 degrees. Being a Saturday, it brought a lot of weekend boaters out and the waterway was pretty busy. Keith did most of the driving because of all the traffic and also the water was really shallow most of the day. I get too stressed out when the depth alarm keeps going off. Thank you Keith for driving all day.

We got to our anchorage by 14:00, put out 50 feet of anchor rode in about 4 to 5' of water.. We have stopped here many times in the past and were always alone in this anchorage. Today there was another boat anchored already; a Gold Looper from Punta Gorda. About an hour later, another boater came in, this one was in the process of doing the loop and was from Portsmouth, NH. During the afternoon, several day boaters came in and out of the anchorage.

CO's comment: Here we are in a 54' boat, drawing 5' of water with only 2' under the keel. People are waving at us to get out of the channel so they can drive their 16' boats down the center; unbelievable. I was ready to use my horn several times but I knew the XO would get upset so I didn’t. I guess they do not know that larger vessels have the right-of-way?. Once, several years ago, we said we would never travel on the weekend; guess that went by the wayside.

12-27-2014: Cape Haze anchorage, a busy place today.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Friday, December 26, Sarasota, FL

Friday, 12-26-2014: We had a 5 hours day planned with at least 5 bridge opening so after staying a second day at Longboat Key we got going this morning by 10:00. The tide was just starting to come up and we had some very skinny water for a while. Sarasota Bay had a light chop and was shallow; 4 to 5 feet most the way. By 11:30 we decided to stop early as we were in no hurry. This way we would not have to worry about getting to our anchorage before dark. We anchored by the Ringling Causeway bridge in Sarasota in about 6' of water just adjacent to the Bait Shop. We tried this anchorage last spring for the first time and it worked well for just an over night.

CO's comment:  The only downside to this anchorage is all the boat traffic; it is rock and roll all afternoon.

12-25-2014: Kim Jo IV at Longboat Key

12-25-2014: Moore’s restaurant

12-25-2014: Sun Set at Longboat Key

12-26-2014:  Our Sarasota anchorage; lots of building going on here, Ringling Causeway Bridge, and the Bate Shop

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

December 23 and 24, 2014=Maderia Beach to Longboat Key, FL

Tuesday, 12-23-2014: Low tide was about 07:30 so we waited until 10:45 before leaving to have some water under our boat. We made a quick stop at Clearwater Municipal at 11:45 and picked up our mail and were back on the water by 12:00. There are a lot of bridges on this part of the ICW so it was kind of slow going but we were doing pretty good. We got to the Welch Bridge in Madeira Beach and called the bridge tender for an opening and he told us it was temporarily out of order and he did not have an estimated time of opening. We pulled over to the side of the ICW and dropped anchor; by this time it was 13:30. We waited and we could hear them trying to open the bridge without success, it was stuck in the down position. The bridge tender would give us periodic updates. Finally by 15:30 we decided to stay put for the night as we would not have enough daylight to get to our planned destination so we let the bridge tender know.

By 20:00 the bridge was still out of order. We will see if it ready in the morning. It was a nice evening but a little windy. We sat out on the front of the boat and listened to live music coming from the American Legion Christmas party. We sat for a good hour or so, they were playing music from the 60's and 70's and I knew all the songs. It was an enjoyable evening.

12-23-2014: Our make shift anchorage at Mile 122.5.

12-23-2014: American Legion to our port.

12-23-2014: Closed Welch Causeway Bridge

Wednesday, 12-24-2014: Merry Christmas

We got going by 07:30. The bridge still was not working but we had low tide so we slowly drove under the bridge with barely enough room. We had 5 bridges today and made it under 4 without having an opening.  I guess low tide is good for something. Cortez Bridge was the last one of the day and only had 18' clearance so we called for an opening.  

We crossed Tampa Bay this morning. It started out with a light chop, then went to a light chop with 3' waves, and we ended up with 6' waves on our bow; it got very rough there for a while. It was 10:30 and we were almost across the Bay and we were trying to open the front window. We obviously were not paying attention and we went aground to our port side. We were only a foot or so out of the channel but that was enough to get us stuck. We tried to get ourselves off without success so we called "Tow Boat US". While Keith was on the phone, a man and his son who were out fishing nearby, asked if they could help us so we said OK. He took our anchor with lots of chain out and dropped it in the channel, then we brought the anchor chain up with the windless and it pulled us off the ground and back to the channel. We were back on our way by 11:30. We thanks the man and his son, gave him some money, and wished them a Merry Christmas. Thank goodness they came along because who knows how long it would have taken "Tow Boat US" to get there. As far as we can tell the boat is OK. We may have a little damage to our pride, but we can handle that. We got to our tie up for the night at Moore’s Stonecrab Restaurant, Longboat Key, FL, Mile 85.0 by 12:30. After we got settled in we went to the bar for a few drinks and lunch. Everyone at the bar commented on how beautiful they thought our boat was. This one older lady came up to us and said she was in awe that just the two of us could handle such a large ship. That made us feel good. We had dinner at the restaurant this evening. It started to rain some while we were eating but it was still warm in the 70's. Glad we are tied up.

CO's comment:  Remember the old adage; "Fly the plane". Outside the channel, it doesn’t get shallow gradually, it just drops off. We went from 10 feet in the channel to 4 feet and with a 5 foot draft, that isn’t good.

12-24-2014: Tied up at Moore's Stonecrab Restaurant

Monday, December 22, 2014

Still at Dunedin, Non-travel days, December 21 and 22-2014:

Sunday, Dec. 21st: Spent a quiet day. Went for a walk around Dunedin this morning and watched the Packer game this afternoon; they won 20-3, GO PACKERS! This evening I finally had time to do our Christmas cards, both by regular mail and e-cards. That is always a relief to finish that task. Our good weather has ended for a while; started to rain about 15:30 and rained on and off the rest of the night. Clearwater must have had there Christmas Boat Parade tonight because our neighbor boat that was so decorated with lights left just before sun down and returned after dark. Then about 21:00 we could see fireworks coming from the Clearwater direction. Very pretty from a distance.

Monday, Dec. 22nd: Called Clearwater Municipal to check on our mail and it is not here yet so we will spend another day here and hope that it comes in this afternoons mail. The office secretary said she would call us if it comes. Note to self; never plan on getting mail right before Christmas unless we know we will be at a marina for a week or more. The sun came out again this afternoon but it is still very windy. We just got a call from Clearwater and our mail is in. We already paid for the night so we will leave in the morning to get mail and be on our way south.

12-22-2014: Kim Jo IV at Marker 1 Marina dock