CXIII – St Joes Point to Saul Creek

Sunday December 07, 2014
Sorry it has been a bit since I blogged about our little jaunt. My trusty laptop has failed. It just won’t start. In our last crossing it was bumpy and something spilled on the back of the computer. This has happened before and nothing other than a new processor would fix it.
I have dried it, hit it, heated it, rubbed it, whispered sweet nothings to it and hit it again with the rubber hammer. Nothing seems to help. My IPAD continues however. I have cobbled up this bluetooth keyboard to work with me.
I think we were in Grande Lagoon when you last heard from us. That was a nice anchorage and we enjoyed the relatively quiet night we had there. When I woke up you could not see a thing outside the boat. The fog was the heaviest we have seen. The air was saturated and my glasses got wet just looking in the gentle breeze. So, we waited.
We spent the entire morning waiting. Our next destination was Port St. Joe or somewhere near there.
The fog started to clear and the breeze seemed dryer…so we decided to leave. It was only a three hour sail and we had time. We did not have a friendly wind. What wind we had was on our nose and was diminishing as the fog appeared to be clearing. We could clearly see blue sky above. AND THEN the fog got worse. Our visibility went down to 50 yards then 10 yards. We were strictly IFR (instrument floating rules). Our goal not to be hit and not to hit anything else.
This generation of instruments makes sailing a boat a video game. Accuracy of the GPS is feet and inches. Provided the nav aids are as advertised. Provided that nothing was out there that might have a cloaking device. My radar will even pick up inflatable boats but you have to trust it.
Its not as easy as you might think to travel for hours instruments only while straining to see what might be lurking off the bow.
Did I mention that it was starting to get dark? I know I mentioned that we would have to anchor in the fog and now the dark. Just to get oriented we slithered in close enough to a nav aid to get visual confirmation. Did I mention that our autopilot was failing and dropping out about every two or five minutes. The only thing going in our favor was the wind was dropping.
Our radar overlay was perfect and I knew where Fracas was. We decided to anchor behind St. Joes Point hoping the point would provide us some shelter from the north winds. We anchored oblivious to where we might actually have been but trusting our instruments. We could hear the swells on the shore but could see nothing.
We set in 13 feet and laid out more than enough chain. Just when we were having some comfort in our location I picked up a vessel moving on radar. This vessel was identified as a threat albeit a slow threat. We could hear youthful voices. We lit up FRACAS with her spreader lights and I flashed them with our 14 billion power spot light. We heard and instrument watched them back away a bit and drop anchor. Then they turned on their AIS. We watched for a bit then went to bed, hoping that the fog might dissipate overnight.
In the morning the fog was indeed gone. The coast guard cutter Seahawk anchored behind us was very clearly visible. JEEZUZ nothing like flashing lights and stuff at the coast guard.

When I looked around we were nicely anchored 200 feet from shallow water ahead and to port. Safe enough, thank you instruments.
We decided to take a jaunt up the five mile canal to rejoin the ICW on the way to the Gulf. We will meet up with Mango and any others waiting to sail across the Gulf
The anchorage at Saul Creek is about 5 nm from Apalachicola. It is a very cool anchorage up an alligator river with no gators.

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