CXVI & CXVII Crossing the Gulf

Wednesday December 10th and Thursday December 11th, 2014

crab pots
A collection of colorful crab pot markers. I did not see any brightly colored ones. These were likely removed from the prop and shaft of a loopah entering during the dark

Our jump off point for the crossing was Apalachicola. The typical route for the straight across route is to go through the East Pass and end up at or near Tarpon Springs. That meant that we would have to do 168.1 nautical miles, 193.5 old time miles or 270 kilometers. Last Mango and Fracas would likely average 6 nm per hour, this would mean that from dock to dock we would be a minimum or 28 hours on the water. As it turned out we left Apalachicola at 09:30 on Wednesday and arrived at Marker 1 Marina at 2:30 on Thursday or 30 hours later. We were a little slower. We arrived in ‘Crab Pot alley’ in daylight and that was a good thing. There were floats everywhere. The crab pot markers are about 10 cm in diameter and are camouflaged. I have yet to see one that is orange or yellow. They are drab, beat up and sometimes even blue…

We had hoped for some wind to make it a sail. The wind was there but so was the chop and the swells, each of which contributed to the slop that defeated any chance the wind had of helping us with the crossing. FRACAS doesn’t sail well dead down. Turning off to sail would have meant more hours. We did have the moon. Although I was having a catnap, both Mary Lynn and John (from Mango) were actually startled by the sudden appearance of the big orange orb that is the moon rising at sea.

Dolphins are everywhere. You would hear them breach near the boat at all hours. They love to play at the bow of the boat riding the push of the hull. As sleek as FRACAS is there is a bit of a bow wave. No T.I.C. here FRACAS plows but does so gracefully. Where was I? Dolphins are not fish they are marine mammals. They breath air. The sound when they breach is their rapid exhalation and inhalation. A dolphin breath takes a fraction of a second. They are able to stay submerged for several minutes or more. The dolphins we see are the Bottlenose Dolphin or  Tursiops truncatus. They are great companions at sea.

I didn’t have much trouble with staying awake at the wheel. Mary Lynn was a great help letting me get a short nap or two that can get you through a one night crossing. We continue to have problems with Ferd. An intervention may be in order. Ferd is out autopilot. The system is all new Garmin equipment…except the pump. We have hydraulic steering and the pump was working so why change it. More on this later as today I will dig into the wayward Ferd.

Today we find ourselves in a nice marina here in Dunedin. We will tourist some today, travel to Tarpon Springs on the Jolly Trolly (can’t wait).

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.