|Charlie hanging out at the Carrabelle PD|
This boat life seems to be anything but leisure sometimes…but I’m not complaining!! When I last updated we were at Parkers Bayou on the panhandle of Florida. We received word of a possible weather window for an overnight crossing the Gulf of Mexico on Monday March 5. We decided it would be worth the added miles/hours to push toward Carrabelle – 87 miles AND we changed time zones (central to eastern). We arrived at C Quarters Marina at 5:05PM capping an 11 hour travel day!
We topped off with fuel, tied up in our slip and I put my feet on solid ground for the first time in 3 days. Soon we saw Gary & Coleen from Calypso Poet & they wanted to meet for dinner. The Fisherman’s Wife was an excellent choice and we closed the place down!! (they close at 8)
During dinner it was decided we would embark on the highly anticipated Gulf Crossing on Monday – all research & valued opinions seemed to indicate if we didn’t do it Monday it might take another week or longer to have the right weather. Here we go!!
Monday morning (7AM) brought a list of easy errands for me! As I was leaving the boat, I met Kenny & Sherry from Blue Moon! They are new loopers – started in Pensacola – and we talked with them via VHF radio a few days earlier. They wanted to do the crossing with us! YAY – 3 boats going together – I was happy!
By 2:00PM we slipped off the lines and headed toward East Pass arriving at 2:40. We expected “rolling” or “lumpy” (depending on the professional description) seas in the beginning. Apparently the first 7 hours are “the beginning”. Up the wave, down the wave; or up the wave, fall off the back of the wave; or just plow right through the wave & duck before the salt spray gets you!!
|Our favorite coffee mug tried to jump overboard - and failed|
Sunset came and according to others “the water really laid down”..hmmm – where’s my peppermint oil? At 8:30PM, I went below deck for a nap. Napping is quite different while underway, I wash my face, brush my teeth and lay in bed completely ready to stand at attention if necessary!! It’s amazing how well one can sleep wearing a complete outfit, shoes and a life jacket! Hey, it was a nap!! By 11:30 I was back on the fly bridge and the water was FLAT, no wind, no clouds and the almost full moon was breath-taking…spiritual. I was in awe!
|Look at this moon!|
Charlie shared that we met 2 boats earlier (Bucket List & San Soucy) crossing from east to west. Then suddenly we saw Nearly Perfect on the radar headed toward Carrabelle too. It was nice to know we weren’t the only folks out there. Then Charlie headed below deck for his break and I had the BEST time!
I turned on the satellite radio (nothing else had a signal) to The Message and simply had church right there in the moonlight 90 miles off shore on the Gulf of Mexico. As I was listening to Chris Tomlin sing Indescribable I felt like that song was written for the very moment I was living. We take so much for granted in this world and this universe is truly indescribable. I don’t have the words (or space) to share everything I thought, saw or felt on that fly bridge – but if you’ve ever felt you could reach out & touch the stars you know what I’m saying!! God is so very good even when I’m sometimes “ungood”.
By 4:00AM Charlie was back on the bridge, the Coast Guard was keeping everyone on alert regarding a red flare sighting & capsized small vessel (60 miles north of us). The moon was stepping aside as we were preparing for dawn! A new day with good water! By 6:30AM we were happy to see daylight and looking forward to seeing land in a couple hours!
Calypso Poet and Blue Moon were headed to Tarpon Springs and we were headed to Dunedin (south of Tarpon). Shortly after sunrise we said our thank you’s & good byes, adjusted course and continued south staying in the Gulf. Once we reached Hurricane Pass (the inlet to Marker 1), it was low tide and not enough water for us to attempt. We adjusted course, headed further south toward Clearwater, channeled over to the ICW and turned NORTH toward Dunedin! There’s nothing like a 12 mile detour at the end of the journey. In hindsight, we should have stayed with our group & turned on the ICW at Tarpon Springs…oh well!! After 22 ½ HOURS and 186 MILES we are in Dunedin, tied safely to the dock. Did I mention there’s a small craft advisory?
I don’t know how long we will be here I just know that since the crossing is over we can now start taking our time to figure out what we are going to do! Of course, we need a little nap first!
Thank you for coming along with us on this adventure! We are so blessed to have opportunities in this life to share good news & good times with so many people…then sometimes in the most unexpected places we are reminded of the only Good News that matters. God loves us. You placed the stars in the sky and You know them by name. You are amazing God.