From Tarpon Springs to Carrabelle, FL there is no ICW or any other connected inland waterway, so to transit the "big bend" you have to go out into the Gulf. There are two basic methods for doing this; one is to take a straight path which is about 160 miles of open water. On a slow boat that means driving all night and all day. The second method is to boat shorter day trips, stopping at intervals along the way and anchoring at night in inland waters. This route takes longer, but avoids the overnighter and keeps you a little closer to shore. We had decided on option 2, and planned to stop at Cedar Key, Steinhatchee, and Carrabelle.
We pulled anchor early and arrived outside Cedar Key early in the afternoon, only to be greeted by ominous looking thunderstorms onshore. We quickly decided to switch plans and head across the Gulf for Carrabelle. We had to travel another 30 minutes to get close enough to shore to send a text message to our son, so our family would know about our altered plans. Then we headed for Carrabelle, a 105 miles to the Northwest. The daylight hours were fun as the weather was perfect. However, after dark electrical storms surrounded us and made for a long, long, miserable night. By the time we got tied up at the marina in Carrabelle, I felt like I needed about a two day nap! A fishing tournament at the marina provided entertainment in the evening as everyone brought their trophies to be weighed.
It's good to have the Gulf crossing behind us, and we are looking forward to the rest of the trip.
So here we go. We got up Friday morning and were on our way by a little after 6am. The water was perfect!!! The entertainment for the day were the numerous flying fish. They looked like little ski doos scooting across the water. Multiple Dolphins decided to play with us for a while, riding along in the bow wake and occasionally tilting their heads and looking at me as I stood on the bow and watched. Without human training their gracefully coreagraphed dance with each other and with us was perfect. Just doing what God made them to do!
We arrived before 3 at Cedar Key and were watching with concern as thunderstorms appeared to be building onshore. We decided this was the time with the water so calm and the breeze so nice just to do the overnight and get on across the gulf. Common sense told us thunderstorms usually move north east so rather than anchor and fight storms we moved further out into the calm blue skies of the gulf and left the inland thunderstorms behind ( or so we thought.) For the rest of the day the weather was perfect! The water was perfect! We made about 30 easy miles before dark. The sunset was beautiful. We could see the thunderstorms in the far distance near the shoreline and I imagined a moonlight boat ride across the gulf, looking at the stars and smooching.
This was going to be great. I decided to lay down about 9:30 so I could take a turn at the wheel later in the night. By 11 I was awakened by rolling waves and Tom yelling for me to batten down the hatches. I quickly assumed my post to assist the captain. It was really strange, there were stars directly above us but all around us were dark ominous clouds filled with lightening but we did not hear thunder.
The wind was tossing the waves on all sides. It was like being in the middle of a washing machine. I offered words of assurance and confidence as Tom clung to the wheel. By 1:30 am I knew it would not be helpful for Tom if I started throwing up on him, so I'm ashamed to say I deserted him. I stumbled down to the cabin with Daisy and threw myself in the bed. Where I stayed trying to keep my stomach inside my body until almost dawn. We never got any rain or thunder, just the wind and waves and that continued all the way until 9 or so this morning(Saturday.) We arrived in Carrabelle around 11 with Tom having no sleep and me having very little. We are at C Quarters marina. We had an excellent lunch at The Fisherman's Wife restaurant.