Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Gulf Rim Route: Done!

Tuesday, March 15- Well, we're "over" the Gulf! We left Dunedin on Saturday the 12th thinking we had a good shot at doing our three legs of the trip in three consecutive days. The first day out was great: smooth waters by the end of the day as we made our way into the Cross Florida Barge Canal to anchor. The Canal runs alongside a greenway now, and there were several people out fishing from the banks as we found our spots in the middle of the canal. We saw only a couple of fishing boats that evening and found it to be a very nice anchorage. The next morning we were treated to a gorgeous sunrise.

Day 2, Sunday, March 13, we left the canal and went 80+ miles to Steinhatchee and River Haven Marina. We left Yankeetown around 8 AM and got to Steinhatchee by 5:30PM. Again, good water for the day.

Day 3, Monday, March 14, saw us leaving Steinhatchee around 7:45 AM in the fog. Last Dragon led and it was a tense experience for all of us. The fog didn't lift until we were out of the channel that leads into Steinhatchee...about 5 miles. From then until noon the water was fine. We thought we were drawing the best 3 days in this spring for our passage. So much for thinking. Around noon the waves picked up and before we knew it we were being pushed on our beam, rocking us sideways. Not comfortable! We tried various alterations in our course to see if we could take the waves better...and some worked pretty well for a while. Nothing, though, was a solid winner. We ended up going back to our original course and pretty much gutting it out through the rest of the trip. This is the third time we've come through this section of water and every time the waves have been coming from all directions.

We anchored last night in the Shipping Cove at Dog Island. What a gorgeous anchorage on a night when winds were low and from the south. We took Lucy into shore and she romped up and down the beach. (She'd heard talk of dog island for a few days now and was surprised to be the only mutt there.) We took her sandy body back to the boat and gave her a quick shower afterwards. The evening was calm and clear and we woke up early to a spray of stars across the sky.

Today we came to Apalacicola and the Water Street Hotel and Marina. We have stayed at Scipio Creek Marina the other times passing through, but decided the paved parking lot here would keep Lucy cleaner than the powdery lot at Scipio. We had concerns about the depth of the slips, so did bow in (which is better for our view since we're looking at the marshy grassed area behind the boat).

Thursday, March 17 - St. Patrick's Day

We're leaving Apalachicola today for a short 20+ mile run to White City and the free city dock there. Apalachicola is one of our favorite spots in Florida and the weather here these two days has been perfect...springtime in Apalachicola.

As I was looking through my last download of photos I spotted a few to add to the Dunedin experience. The first is of Jack, the troubadour.

According to a local, Jack (who seems to be of Italian heritage) lives in a retirement home right by the Dunedin Municipal Marina. Several times a day he would walk down to the pier and...when he found a pretty lady...break into song. He would end by blowing a kiss...and with a flourish, wish her godspeed. It was interesting to watch the reaction of the people being serenaded. One time he approached a car that was parked nearby and ended up singing to the couple inside.

The other photos are of a Great Egret that stayed on a pole by our boat during our stay at Dunedin. I read up a little on the bird and it seems that the feathery plumes and green lores (area between the beak and eye) mark it as a breeding bird.

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