This was our view in every direction on our way to Tarpon Springs. It looked fake, like a painting. Shallow the entire way, we were at the edge of our seats hoping no large rocks were planted in our path.
Crystal River to Tarpon Springs was the last trip we had to take in unprotected waters before re-entering the intra-coastal. We left on a rainy morning knowing there were chances of thunderstorms the entire day. Katie was ready to tough it out, and a with a little convincing she got me in my rain gear. With many miles to cover that day, we left at sun up. Unfortunately this also meant leaving at low tide. Exiting the Crystal River channel, we scraped the bottom endless times and somehow avoided putting a hole in our house.
About 12 miles off shore we finally had enough depth for a straight shot to Tarpon. Completely surrounded by black clouds, it looked like rain would pour at any moment. Somehow the seas were dead calm, glassy, with only 9 feet of water beneath us the entire way. Freaky. Ten hours of “calm before the storm” without ever being hit by one. Almost. It was absolutely beautiful out there, and stayed that way until our final 8 mile stretch. The wind picked up, quicker than either of us had ever experienced. We motor-sailed with the head sail cruising just over 7 knots. With the wind behind us, Louise was hauling. The wind was so strong that we experienced 5 minutes of hell just trying to roll up our genoa.. Just about horizontal, rail in the water, items down below being thrown from all corners. For just a moment, everything turned to slow-motion. Me, trying to avoid a mine field of crap traps, Katie using all her strength to roll up the head sail, holding on for dear life as the wind whipped us uncontrollably in circles. Of course we figured it out, because if we didn’t I wouldn’t be around to write about it. I openly admit both of us need some work when it comes to high seas and high wind sailing. But man… that motor-boatin thing, we got it down.
Thankfully we found an anchorage safely protected from high winds that evening, and made it there just after dark. It’s not fun anchoring in the dark and I do not recommended trying it. Sometimes you can’t make it before the sun goes down and YA JUST HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT. It was my fault having to anchor in the dark, because I was the one dragging my feet that morning. Either way, I am thankful we crossed over to Tarpon that day, for the following day called for excessively high winds . No thanks. Would have been like our last hour, but for 50 miles instead of 8.
We often find ourselves losing sanity nearing the end of a 12 hour day. So we sing Disney songs. This piece of wood is actually a make-shift door we made to keep Bird out of the V-berth. When we left Michigan, we neglected to bring the real door that came with the boat because we thought it would just get in the way. Big mistake, Bird figured out how to get through any kind of barrier, even this one.