Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Big Bend

Our next overnight would take us across the Big Bend area of Florida.  This area is full of very shallow inlets, and since we have 6 ft draft, we were feeling very unwelcome here.  We were a bit dissappointed that we couldn't do more exploring here, but at the same time, a big overnight jump like this would take us to warm weather, finally!

We staged for the jump outside of the town of Carabelle, and actually spent a nice, albeit cool, day on the beach waiting for the strong northerly wind from the last cold front to subside.  As the day went on, our anchorage became more and more rolly, and it seemed that the wind was shifting to the west.  That's ok, I thought, we have protection to the southwest, but where are all these waves coming from?  By 3 pm, it was clear that we needed to move.  The wind was southwest, and we had 2-3 foot whitecaps all around.  So up anchor and head south across St George Sound to Dog Island, where there is just barely southwest protection, but lots of south protection, and the way the wind is shifting, it might be just what we need.  It also turned out that there were three other boats anchored there, so lemmings we became.  I fully expected to be moving back to our prior anchorage at some point in the night, but the wind just faded and we had a good night's rest.

Sunset hiding from the wind at Dog Island

At sunrise, we were up and heading out East Pass toward Clearwater!  In total, the passage would be a little over 150 miles, and at our cruising speed, that would take nearly 30 hours.  So an early start today would get us into Clearwater in the middle of the next day.  We had another beautiful sunset, while a bit cloudy, still showed us some beautiful colors.

Sunset, about 50 miles from shore

By morning, we had lots of fishermen around us and we new the shore wasn't far away.  We also had the welcoming committee greet us about five miles offshore.  A group of 6-8 dolphin enjoyed our bow wave for about about 20 minutes!

I think they are camera shy, not once did they smile for the camera!

Immediately upon entering Clearwater Pass, we knew we weren't in Kansas anymore.  For one, we went from cool morning air, with multiple layers and full foul weather gear to short sleeves!  For another, we passed a boat that looked like a shark.  And then one that looked like a pirate ship.  Welcome to south Florida.  Did I mention that we like that it's warm here?


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