Saturday, March 19, 2011

End of Leg III



I have been in touch with Dan and Peggy Bowers from Ill. They have CD 25, Lake Effect, c-brat miafun1. They have been traveling the East Coast of Florida and the Keys for a couple of months. I missed them when I headed on down to Key West but have now caught back up with them at the end of the day on the 13th. They were at Peck Lake.

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Traveled with Lake Effect to Vero Beach. Since I don’t have a dingy Dan was kind enough to offer to dingy me to shore so I signed up for a mooring ball. That was good deal for $14. It came with showers and internet access. I also took advantage of the Vero Beach free buss service. I made a run to the grocery store and West Marine. When I got back I visited with Dan and Peggy for a while. I hope to see them again in a couple of months when they come to Pensacola.



It was glass calm again this morning. I could now resist traveling at high speed. At 4100 rpm I was making 23 mph. For two hours there was not a ripple on the water. All I could hear was the engine running. It was like I was riding on a magic carpet. At 1427 my trip meter rolled over the 1,000 mile mark. I was at the north end of Merritt Island. Some day I’m going to come down here and watch a rocket launch. This would be a perfect spot to do it.


I pulled into New Smyrna Beach in time to carouse the old down town and find a good old Irish Pub that was packed. They were just getting warmed up for St. Patty’s day. I left right after they had a sing/dance along where they also pass around a 4 liter glass mug in the shape of a boot. Every one takes a drink and passes it along until it’s all gone.


0715 Underway

Stopped in Ormond Beach to get 6 gal of gas to make sure I would make it to St. Augustine.

1520 St. Augustine 1125 miles , 193 gal gas, $711.



Decided to stop in St Augustine because there was a Budget car rental within walking distance of the dock. I was on plan C on getting my Jeep and trailer from Pensacola. I called the local agent on the phone yesterday to see if he had a car I could rent one way to Pensacola. He said he might have one but I’d just have to check when I got here.

After I docked I started calling him. I never could get an answer so I just decided to go ahead and take the 2.4 mile walk to the Wal-Mart where he was located. It was actually good that he didn’t answer the phone because he would have told me he was out of cars. That’s what he told me when I got there. He said that I should be able to get one tomorrow. After talking to him some I found out that he was suppose to have a return at the end of the day(He closes at 6pm and it was 4pm now) and two more in the morning. I suggested that I just hang around Wal-Mart and see if the car was returned tonight. That worked out. The car was back at 4:30. From the beginning I was quoted a price for the one way rental of $125 plus tax. During the discussion on getting the car today the young man kept saying “I’m going to take care of you.” After punching around on the computer for 10 min he printed the contract and slid it in front of me for my approval. Total cost with tax $57.

I returned to the Marina and joined in on the Pot Luck that the locals were having. I brought a bucket of chicken wings. Turned in at 9pm.


0300 Got up and drove to Pensacola. Took a nap for an hour turned in the rental and drove back to St. Augustine.

3-18-11 Returned to Pensacola

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Atlantic ICW



The weather forecast 20k from the north today and tomorrow. If I stay close to shore on the Atlantic side all should be well. As the day went on the weather got much better. At Tavernier I crossed back onto the Florida Bay side to pick up ICW mile marker 1150. The water was like glass on into Biscayne Bay. At Elliott Key Harbor there is a very nice federal park with boat docks, showers, picnic tables and camping site.


With Golden Age card dockage is only $7.50 for the night. Their was a group of about 10 people that had come in to spend the week-end camping and fishing. The place is only accessible by water.



Underway at 0730. By 1030 the Miami skyline was well in view.


I continued on until Pompano Beach and settled in at the Houston Restaurant right on the ICW. This is a up scale place with very good food and two full time dock boys that did nothing but assist boaters. While I was there a 90 footer came in for dinner. This thing had a full time crew of five. Captain, first mate, steward, chef and engineer. There was a 2 hour wait to get served but that was fine with me because I was enjoying their dock.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Key West II



Anchored out behind Wisteria Island.  It gave good protection from the wind and a fantastic sunset.

The wind of course is forecast to be 18-20 again but from the North.  I was going to start heading North.  I'’ll just have to wait and see.  I should be able to go in the Atlantic side and stay close to shore.  I really want to go ahead and work my way up the Keys.  There is a big bad weather front due here tomorrow afternoon.  It’s the same one that came through Pensacola yesterday.  Mary Jo said that it was really bad. 


0600 Up and weather good.  Wind SSE at 8.  Under way by 0630.  At 0730 passes by the tourist attraction of the Southern most point in Florida.


I have the landside picture from our 2007 RV trip.

The weatherman was putting the front getting to Marathon at around 1600 so I went my slow pace until about 1100.  I could see the edge of the front over Florida Bay side.  It is going to get here sooner rather than later.  I put her in high gear and headed to Marathon.  I almost made it.  I was 2.3 miles out when it hit.  And it hit with a furry.  Before you could say ol crap, I was in a blinding rain and the wind was howling.  I was trying to get a course to the channel marker but the rain was so hard that the radar could not “see” through the rain.  Luckily the GPS plotter did a good job and the buoy was right where it was suppose to be.  I was able to follow the buoy’s in one by on.  Good thing because outside the buoy line the water was only one foot deep.  The radio went wild with distress calls.  The Coast Guard put out that there were three people in the water at the bridge right where is was located.  Some other boats had busted off their mooring.anchor and were pushing aground.  I was glad when I was able to put a line around a post at the marina. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011



Key West

Key West is the Florida Keys. It is my kind of place. I’m just too late getting here. Forty years ago would have probably been just about right. Laid back, Famous for it’s attitude of any thing goes. It’s still close enough that you can get the feeling.

You’ve gotta love a place where chickens roam free. They were brought in by early pioneers and Cuban cockfighters and are part of the island's quirky charm.


Of course now they are a source of controversy. Those that hate them say the flock has grown beyond charm. It seems that the population is now over two thousand. They never sleep and crow all the time. So the chicken war goes on.

Conchs, Key West natives, are an independent bunch. In the 1980’s when federal agents tried to blockade US1 to curb smuggling, residents succeeded and formed the Conch Republic. The mayor declared war on the USA. Then surrendered and demanded $1 billion in foreign aid. The blue Conch Flag still flies over many houses and businesses.

I roamed the streets all day just enjoying people watching. I found two public boat launches. One is like down town at the end of Simonton Street. It is a sand ramp be a boat could be launched from there. Parking might be a problem. There are only about a dozen trailer spaces. All were empty when I was there.

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The other is in Garrison Bight. It is a nice paved ramp. $5 to launch and $6 a day to park. I actually went there by water and stayed on the outside of the dock for about an hour while I walked a short distance to a grocery store.


I also had to do a tourist thing or two. I did enjoy into the Mel Fisher museum ($12). Man that’s a lot of silver. Bought 5 pieces of eight to give to the kids. Not the real ones of course. You can buy some of the real stuff.

Found some commercial fishing guys unloading their boat and a conversation with them.


And a charter boat that had just come in. He had a couple of black fin tuna and several small king mackerel .



Spent the whole evening at the Schooner Wharf Bar. The prices were good there as most of the patrons were locals.

Monday/ Tuesday


Got up again around sunrise. I checked with the search and rescue group. They had plenty of manpower. They had brought in people, boats, dogs and aircraft from all over. Sounded like they were going to go all out today and then just stop looking.

The people on the Rosborough 246 were up and about by around 0700. The night before they said that they were going to head out early in the morning and head for Long Key. I had told them that the weather was looking good to me to just take a straight shot to Key West. The winds should be on my back. They had decided that they would just take the same route as me.

I topped off my fuel tanks and we got underway. I was making my usual 6-7 mph. They were going about 10-12. After a couple of hours they called on the radio and said that they were going to go faster and we would get together in Key West. The winds were a little stronger than forecast and more on the beam. A short time later they called and said they were going to divert back to plan A and go to Long Key. I said I was going to just chug along. After a short silence they replied that if I could do it they could do it. I picked up to 3600 rpm to come closer to their speed.

After another 30 min. they said they were diverting again to the closest Key. It was getting a little more bumpy by then and I said that I would do the same. Buy this point we had passed Marathon which is the last easy place to go. Beyond Marathon Keys and shoals extend out 10 miles or so in a patchwork pattern. Without going back to far Big Pine Key was where we headed. We turned South to navigate our way. This did put the seas on our stern. I came across a couple a large patches of floating seagrass. I was going alone fine the engine revved up. I stopped and raised the motor to inspect. It was fouled with the seagrass. I reversed my engine and it cleared. But I could not get on plane without the prop spinning. I concluded that the hub was spun. All was fine at slow speed but not at high rpm. I went back to my 1500 rpm 6 mph speed. I made it into Spanish Harbor by early after noon.

I have a spare prop and can just swap but I want to get this won fixed. With the help of Bob Austin (c-brat: thataway) I found two prop shops. One is back in Marathon and the other in Key West. The one in Marathon said if I got it in today they would have it back tomorrow. The Prop Dr. in Key West actually he is on Stock Island said if I brought it in he could fix it in about 20 minutes. I continued on to Stock Island. I got there after dark so pulled into a marina that was in walking distance of the Prop Dr. The next morning I removed the prop and took it to the shop. He tested it at 4000 psi and it did not slip. He said if it was spun it would do it at 400 to 500 psi. He said put it back on and go out in the channel and put a load on it. I did and it worked just fine. This is the fist time I have used this prop with a heavy following sea. The conclusion is that the prop is not spun but in those conditions it is cavitating( sucking air).

I headed out into the Atlantic and put out my trolling rods for the rest of the trip to Key West. By noon I landed at the Schooner Warf Bar at Key West Blight.

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sunday 3-6-2011

Spent Sat morning kicking back and exploring Everglades City some more. They have a pretty good little museum. I didn’t realize that Everglades City was the county seat for Collier County until about 1960. Hurricane ? came through and wiped the place out. It was then they decided to move to Naples. The settlement began after the Civil War when Union sympathizers that had farmed Cape Sable to supply Key West moved up the west coast of the peninsula. George Storter got a post office their in 1895. He also entertained northern tourists who came to fish and hunt. His house became the Rod and Gun Club. It has been visited by the likes of Presidents and movie stars. There have been several movies filmed there. The one I remember is “Gone Fishing”.

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During the 1970 and 1980 the area was the center for marijuana smuggling. Airplanes would land on the only road to town to pick up loads.

I picked up a load of ice and few things from the grocery and got underway late afternoon and made my way toward the Gulf of Mexico. I found a nice little area just off the main channel that was protected on all sides. I had 3.3 feet of water. I set the hook and enjoyed a nice home cooked meal. The tide table said the tide should be coming in. Not the case. By 2100 I was high and dry in the mud in about 10 inches of water. Not to worry I got in here. When the tide does come in I can get out the same way I got in. The wind had calmed to nothing. The only reason I knew that I was aground was something kept smacking the side of the boat. Thud, thud, thud. I stepped in the cockpit and put my spot light on the water. Then all hell broke loose. There were fish everywhere. They were good size. Maybe a pound 14 to 16 inches. The water was so shallow they had the mud all stirred up and they were so quick I couldn’t really get a good look at them. The may have been mullet but didn’t look broad enough. I guess they were attracted by my anchor light. Anyway I turned the like out and they went away.



I was floating again. I got underway and worked my way back to the entrance by following the bread crumb trail on my gps. I got about 100 feet from the channel and I could see that I was blocked by a sand bar. I was in just about the middle of the opening and the water was so muddy you couldn’t see any difference between deep water and shallow water. Then here comes a fast moving, wake making fishing boat down the channel. Usually I have bad words for these guys but this was perfect. His waves broke on the sand bar revealing which way it went and where it stopped. All I had to do was go about 50 feet to the right and I had plenty of water. I was back on track and by 0735 I was back in the Gulf of Mexico.

The wind and sea started calm but within a hour picked up to 15-20 from the south. It wasn’t bad but was a little bumpy. By 1230 I had made my way to the Little Shark River. It was bumpy enough that I had had enough for the day and entered the river. This has always been a place the boaters duck into to get out of weather. It actually winds around and you can get to Flamingo. I decided what the heck, I’ll just take the inside passage and go that way. It is a real jungle tour through the mangroves. It’s about a 25 mile jaunt down the back road but Flamingo is a place that I have never been but wanted to.


It is also a beautiful cruse. However, there is one big problem when you get to the end. You run into a STONE wall. Concrete actually. There is a fixed bridge blocking the way. Vertical clearance 0 ft. Soild concrete.. Now the chart I have, to me is not clear. It the paper chart shows a line but is marked “lift” The new $200 navionics chip I have doesn’t even show the line. It just says “hoist”. Now what the heck I’ve got to back track 25 miles. By the way the marina at Flamingo is very nice. There is a boat ramp and dockage and fuel on both this of the bridge. I’m about to leave when I see this guy in a 28 foot CC, on the other side, getting fuel. Jeff . Jeff is the man of the day. Just to make sure I was seeing what I thought I saw I ask Jeff. “ I guess there is no way to get from this side to that side. He said, “no” there used to be a hoist here and they would lift your boat from one side to the other but not any more. Jeff says “you need me to use my trailer and move you” All I could say was before or after I kiss your feet, wash your boat and truck and give you a few dollars. He said see that boat over there. He did the same thing and I moved him this morning. After the deed was done he wouldn’t take a dime.

I may be sticking around here tomorrow. In talking to a fellow boater I found out that an elderly man staying in the campground with his family has wandered off and has been gone 24 hrs now. They have called off the search for tonight but will start again tomorrow. Having been involved in search and rescue in Pensacola for 40 years I maybe able to be of some assistance.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wed 3-2-2011


Turned on the anchor light on and the circuit breaker would trip. A little investigation and I found the problem. Where the wire goes through the radar arch had rubbed the insulation off the wire letting it short out. I put some electrical tape around the wire and then filled the excess space in the hole with a small piece swimming pool noodle.

Did some house keeping while the Cobb grill did the cooking of some chicken. Fixed a salad to go with it. That made a fine dinner. Sitting in the cockpit watching the sunset.

Waited until 0900. Found a West Marine in Naples that has my chart chip. Got underway around 0915. Worked my way out of the harbor and back on course for the last few miles of the GIWW. At 1200 crossed the GIWW 5 mile marker. 331 miles from Carrabelle 50 hours travel time. Did I say it has been a real PITA having to go back to paper charts. That’s a lot of work.

1530 entered Gordon Pass at Naples. What a beautiful entrance if anything looks like Florida this is it. With the help of my Garmin I found that the West Marine is up Naples Bay and down a canal. I worked up way as close as I could. When I found a dock and ask the dock master the location of West Marine, he pointed across the parking lot. It was about 200 feet away. He said I could tie up to go to WM. I went in to get the chart. He didn’t have it. He said I must have called the other Naples store. He placed the call and sure enough they had it. It was only 2 miles away. I trucked off on foot to the other store to get there before they closed.



It was about 1860 by the time I got back to the boat. By then the marina was closed and everyone gone. Since is was now dark, looked to me like a good place to just stay the night.

Shortly after I got back to the boat Jim C-Brat (jennykatz) gave me a call on the phone. He lives about 15 miles form where I was. Since neither of us had eaten yet he said he would come pick me up and we’d go get a burger some place. He showed up in short and off we went. He gave me the tour of Naples and had a great visit. When we got back to the boat he pointed out some things on the charts.


Jim had pointed out the best (cheapest) place to get fuel. I got to the America Marine Club around 0800 and topped off the tanks. I then motored down to the county dock by Gordon Pass. Jim didn’t have to work today so he met me again. We drove to an ACE hardware where I was able to get some butane for my Kenyon Stove. We then picked up a Cuban sandwich and went to his boat. We went to where my boat was and then he traveled with me partway to Marco. We stopped at a nice place to eat lunch. After lunch Jim headed back to Naples and I continued South.



I putted all the way to Goodland. This is the last inland place to hold up before going outside again. My late afternoon the winds were up again out of the East. I looked like I could be in Goodland for a few days. I checked out the area and ended up at the Calusa Island Marine. I didn’t even get tied up when the dock master showed up and said “that’s a C-Dory. Our Service manager has one of those.” I went to the office and found Susie Keirn. She and her husband Sam own 2002 CD 22. “MUSKRAT” Susie was full of local knowledge and weather interpreter. Like I had observed this morning was good but got bad in the afternoon. It is suppose to be worse tomorrow but if its calm I could make it to Everglades City. She said Everglades was a much better place to hang out. There are many places to walk, several restaurants and even a grocery store. There is none of this in Goodland. She also pointed out a very good anchorage. I went to the area and set the hook. Even back where I was the wind was whipping and my c-dory would swing 180 deg. By midnight the wind started lying down. Looks like I may be able to make a go of it in the morning. The only problem was where I was I could not pick up any WiFi and even the cell signal was very weak. I tried to call Mary Jo but dropped the call three times.


0630 Moved the boat around the corner and was able to pickup a wifi. The wind was calm. Checked the weather on the internet. The morning looked good. Off to Everglades City. Nice cursing. I could see that on many of the islands people had set up tents and were camping for the week-end. I got to the outer marker for Everglades City and followed the well marked channel into town. Once again Garmin helped out it showed me a circle K that was close to a canal. I went to the location and topped off the tanks with 11 gal of gas. I walked the town for a couple of hours. Found the store and public library. I went in used their computer to check email and the weather. Once again the forecast is not good for tomorrow but Sun and Mon look good.

In walking the waterfront I found another C-Dory.


There are too jobs in the place. Commercial fisherman and Airboat tour operator. I have never seen so many in one place. They are everywhere, going along with from 4 to 6 tourists. I also can’t figure out where all the customers are coming from. They must have a central booking place somewhere. Every few min on the marine radio I hear some one calling out how many customers they have and someone answering back with the next departure time.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Tuesday 3-1-11


0815  Underway, Sunny with some breeze.  Things not working.  The hobbs meter is stuck and not showing the engine hours.  That’s not a big deal because the NEMA 2000 network also has engine hours.  Today the the Lowrance NEMA 2000 gps stopped working.  I don’t know what the problem is.  I tried resetting but it is just dead.  The is also not a major problem because the only thing this gps does is connect to the engine gauge network.  It lets me get a fuel flow reading in miles per gal.  That handy for figuring the best rpm’s to run. 


Ran along just enjoying the sights until I got to Cabbage Key.  A friend said this was a good place to stop for a night.  It is well protected and there is a very nice restaurant with docks.  I stopped but I was the only boat there and no one in the restaurant so I went to plan B and just went on a few more miles to Safety Harbor at North Captiva Island.  Now I really liked it here. It is only accessible by boat. There are several houses here a a couple of restaurants.  The best part is, I picked up several strong WiFi connections.  It’s a bit tricky to get into especially because the Navionics chat that I have for my Hummingbird Gps does NOT have detailed charts South of Venice.  I thought it did.  This is going to be a real PITA.  All the electronics now days makes one very lazy.  I do have paper charts.  They show you where a sandbar is but not where you are.  I’ve got to see if I can find a chart chip for the GPS.  It’s too much work trying to figure out where you are.  Navigating a route along the ICW is not too bad but getting off the beaten path is another.

Picture way back in Safety Harbor




Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday 2-28-11


Yesterday was a very easy going pleasant day.  The weather was picture perfect.  I just tooled around day at 5 mph.  That was great for gas mileage.  I got 7.5 mpg.  The week-end boaters all out.  They were going every which way.  All creating 3 foot wakes.  I did a little fishing along the way but the fish were the lucky ones.  I ended the day a Welch Bridge that goes to Madeira.  27  48.542n  82 47.630w.  It is an ideal spot very well protected.  There is a McDonalds and a Publix there.  McDonalds has a very nice floating dock. 

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See the little John boat in the one picture?  There were four or five of these rag tag type boats at the dock.  I couldn’t figure them out.  They were all beat up, obviously being used but not for fishing.  I saw no fishing gear.  Anyway I went in MacD’s and got an order of fries.  I ask the manager about buying a bucket of ice.  The one in Pensacola will.  The lady manager said “no, I always give you guys some.  Bring in your bucket.”  It wasn’t until about 8pm that I figured it out.  The boat’s belong to a flotilla of local homeless.  There are all kinds of little islands around.  These guy’s just pick one out and call in home.  They come into the dock and go to the store for supplies.  They all started coming back to the boat about dark and were all gone by 7:30. 

For my dinner I fired up the grill and had one of the two rib eyes that I brought.  I been putting a little “Slap Ya Mama”  cajun seasoning on mine before cooking.  My o my is that ever good.  

Got up around 6 am took a little walk before casting off for the day.  It started out another nice day with zero wind.  That didn’t last too long.  Sunny but the wind just keep blowing harder and harder. By the time it came to crossing Tampa Bay it was really blowing.  They are doing some dredging at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.  I called the tug on the radio and said the his wind gauge was reading 35 mph.  Even though I was getting bounced around I got a neat picture of a ship coming under the bridge.  I couldn’t get across the channel fast enough so I had wait for him to pass. 


After crossing Tampa Bay I went a few more miles to Longboat Key.  I was given specific instructions by a friend that I must eat at MOORE’S Stone Crab Restaurant.

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

SUNDAY 2-27-11



What another outstanding day. Got up around 6am. A little fog but it burned off as soon as the sun came up. The wind was dead still. I piddled around the boat for awhile trying to get things a little organized. Then fixed me some scrambled eggs and then took one last stroll around the neighborhood before starting the engine hitting the water.

I got off the dock at 0840. I have no plans or destination for today. When I leave Hudson and turn on a southerly course it’s about 9 miles before I pick up mile 150 of the intracoastal waterway at the juncture to Tarpon Springs. clip_image002

Friday, February 25, 2011




It has been just too long since Leg II but that is just life. Too many things going on. It’s hell being retired. You just don’t have time to do anything. Well last week I saw a post on the c-brat forum from some c-brats that were on the way to the keys. It got me motivated. I did some calculations and decided I had to leave like now if I was going to have any time at all for Leg III.

The boat was pretty much ready. A few months back I had done some re-arranging of some of the electronics and mainly dressing up the inevitable rats nets of wires behind the dash. I did add a fluxgate compass that I had retained from previous boats. I cut about a 5 in by 7in access hole in bunk in the v-berth for a place to install the sensor for the compass.

I also overhauled the breaks on the trailer in Sept. It had 13” tires but my cousin gave me an almost new set of 14” trailer tires and I wanted to swap those out. I thought that would be easy enough, just go get some 14” rims at the junk yard for a couple of bucks. Wrong. I spent two days tracking that down. I could find rims with the correct lug pattern but the center hole on a trailer tire needs to be bigger than the rims that fit a car. The with of the rim may also be different but I didn’t get that far. I just ended up buying new rims with new tires. I would have left the 13’s on but the plan is for Mary Jo to drive the two vehicle and trailer to Jacksonville and I would feel better knowing she had new tires.

The biggest thing I needed before leaving on the trip was a new SPOT tracker. Then came out last year with a Delorme gps/spot combination. That will let you type in short messages to send rather than just the canned OK and or help message. I like the idea of being able to pass on a little detail, especially if I ever had to send a request for HELP. I could tell what the problem is rather than just saying I need some help. I ordered that from AMAZON and it was due to get here on Tuesday. All I would have to do is activate it and I would be ready to leave. Well it got here but it didn’t work so just activated my old unit and sent the new one back.


All of this delayed me being able to get to Carrabelle until Thursday. Now weather is an issue. The first of the week the weather was perfect. Now there are two back to back fronts closing in with not much of window until next week. I took the gamble and Mary Jo and I headed to Carrabelle. I figured she could drop me off and I would just wait it out if need be. Winter weather in the panhandle is a coin toss at best. The initial forecast had some promise for Sat. The Moorings at Carrabelle is a combination Marina and Motel. The have a great deal, you get a free boat slip a room rental. The place is really nice. Well Mary Jo stayed Thursday night and left Friday morning. The wind was blowing just like the weatherman said. Every hour I would put up the weather and track the front. At about 2pm the front came through Carrabelle. About a hour later the winds laid down switched to the west. Now they were saying that by Sat the wind would clock around the East and Southeast at 15 and seas 2-3. This is the worst direction for Carrabelle. Anything with East in it is bad and 2 to 3 there is like 5 to 7 and I’d be going straight into it. It didn’t sound fun. Now looked like the best time. I had a plan. Go across the bay, around the East end of Dog Island, stick my nose out and if I didn’t like what I saw there is a good anchorage on the East end of Dog Island.

I started loading the boat at 1600 and was under way at 1615. I turned to a heading of 100 degree after passing green #1 at the entrance to Carrabelle. At 1750 rpm I was making 6.5k. The wind was still about 15 in the bay but it from the SW and I was riding with it. When I cleared the island the wind was coming a bit more from the south but it wasn’t too bad. At 1900 rpm I was making 6mph. The boat was rolling some but not enough to toss everything on the floor. I figured I could ride the backside of this front all the way. I set a course to the marker off Cedar Key and set George, the autopilot. Distance 90 miles.

All went well. Even after it got dark and was it ever dark. No moon. No lights from shore. You know once it gets dark the weather always seems a little worse than it is but not tonight. The winds and seas just kept laying down. By about 2130 the stars were out in their full glory. What a view. I haven’t seen such a sight for many years. But that was short lived by midnight the fog rolled in. I mean from the back of the boat I couldn’t hardly see the front of the boat but the good thing was the Gulf of Mexico became the Lake of Mexico. Things stayed like this all night. By sunrise I was just off of Cedar Key where I had planned to make a landing, rest and fuel the boat. Even though the fog was still there I could now see well enough to see just how calm it was. The fog did thin some to where I could see about ¼ mile at times. I had plenty of fuel I had only used about 20 gal of my 58 that I had. I decided to take advantage of the calm gulf and run at cruise speed to Hudson which is just north of Tarpon Springs. I have always gone in at Tarpon but my canvass guy told me about Hudson. It is a good find. More about Hudson later. I kicked her up to 1900 rpm and made 20 mph for the 70 mile run. By 0830 the fog had burned off. By 1050 I was in Hudson.


This is a great place. 28 21.704N 82 42.555W. There is a string of canals with houses but at the end of one is a county boat launce. It is very well maintained with clean public rest rooms and a floating dock with enough room for at least 8 boats. There is no electric or water but you can stay here for up to 18 hours. Actually I talked to Marine Patrol officer that told me that in reality unless you were there more than 3 or 4 days they wouldn’t say anything. There are two or three places to eat within a block the best being Ollie’s Oyster Bar. You can also dock your boat at Ollie’s. There is also a couple of marinas with fuel. All in all this is a must stop location.