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Thursday, November 4, 2021

Steinhatchee to Anclote Key, anchor

The red means we did
over 10 knots.
It starts at the reef,
when things got bad,
we put the spurs to her!
Growing tired of these crazy long days. But a big chunk of the Gulf travel is now behind us.

Left in nearly darkness again. This time it was an interesting challenge since, unlike the Apalachicola channel which is straight, this one twists and turns, and any wrong move puts you on the call list for Sea Tow.

The day ahead was 10 hours long. It broke down into chunks like this:

7am to 8am: getting out of the channel. Mild winds, calm waters

8am to 10am: The further we got from land the more wind we encountered, the more wild the waters. They were supposed to be NE winds, but they tuned out more easterly, which made for some uncomfortable beam sea. We abandon the Navionics route and head more inland, which made the waters wonderful.

10am to 11am: Waters are so good we believed the winds have died down for the afternoon (which was predicted). We realize there is a reef coming up, near Cedar Key. Rather than deal with the shallows we decide to head west, around a lighted marker. THAT was a mistake.

Sunset on the key
11am to 1pm: We managed to get around the marker but winds have increased and water became rougher. Not the worst we'd ever been in, but not comfortable either. We head back inland, hoping to decrease the wind's fetch. It's supposed to become a north wind, which would be perfect for us. Then we could turn due south and take the following seas. We love that.

1pm to 2pm: Wind turns north. Seas calm, and we're off! Woo hoo!

2pm to 4pm: While we thought it would be smooth sailing from here on out, we did not get a chance to relax. For whatever reason this section of water was riddled with crab traps (we call 'em crab pots). The time was spent dodging and weaving in between and around hundreds of these things.

Dolphin off the bow
4pm to 6pm: Few traps, more wind, but all on our stern. But the day was getting long and we were looking forward to a quiet anchorage. After dropping the hook (sandy bottoms make for easy, easy anchoring) Russ took Lizzie on a tender ride to the island while I started some dinner.

Why the long day? Weather, of course. We know we're going to be stuck someplace starting tomorrow afternoon for possibly several days. We'd like that to be within striking distance of Longboat Key, rather than know we have more gulf days ahead. So, we pushed.

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