07 Jun Leg One: OB to St. Pete
Off we go! We worked our last full day of Work on Wed June 1, and then like that, we set sail at daybreak on Thursday June 2. Setting sail for the adventure of a lifetime. And that is has been so far. I’m going to try to give you a play by play but not boring recap of our 3 day sail. First of all we loved saying bye at the dock to family and friends. Of course that meant tears ensued…but all of that was worth to get to pass through the crystal clear waters of the Pensacola Pass at Ft. Mcrae: first random opportunity seized: a jump and swim to shore with Baxter. Little did we know that that would be his last time of relieving himself of #2 for the next 54 hours.
But Randy is a genius and we did go to Lowes and spend 2.18 on a fresh piece of sod that big boy used for #1 on command the whole trip. Note to others cruisers: great investment for your pup, and it just requires a fresh water rinse after it is used. We had enough wind for several hours of sailing and then boom, winds died, so we fired up the motor for the rest of the trip. We did keep the jib/main up day one and with that and little motor power of about 2000 rpm on the Yanmar Diesel, we burn about 1/2 gallon an hour therefore costing us less than 2.00/hour to run.
Trolling lines are out, and just like that a king mackerel on the hook for dinner day 1. It is quite refreshing and nice to be able to catch fresh fish for your dinner. We had bought salad so healthy eating night one, until I decided on my night watch I needed ice cream to keep me awake. Randy took night watch 12-6 am and I think he snuck into the peanut butter for his energy at 2 am, rightfully needed.
Day 2 at sea: At this point we are both feeling “refreshed,” 24 hours into it and there is still mystery about the sea, trying to figure the ultimate catch of the sail for maximum wind, and relaxation. Tiredness has not set in yet. Peanut butter is now a staple for us. Probably the most versatile food to have on board. I am hoping to nail down my diet with more time to focus on health and nutrition but the perils of sailing actually make it harder. The boat is heeled over, so my first attempt at yoga on board pseudo-failed. I tried and kept falling so back to sitting and being a sloth and reading. And coloring. Game time, you name it, we are now needing things to do. But nature in its raw form is mesmerizing so we are enjoying it while we can.
We have a small freezer and fridge on board so we did load on various meets/fridge stuff prior to departing. Out we pulled chicken and thanks to sweet Robyn who sent us off with some leftover spaghetti, we had an easy dinner for night two. Our stove and oven runs off of propane so all we had to do was fire up the burner to warm the spaghetti and the same for our grill off the aft.
Day 3: Tiredness now has sunk in. That’s when we said lets head for land. The closest port that was South and not back tracking was Clearwater Beach. But still a full day to go. More coloring and game playing with little wind so we are still under motor power with the main up. Baxter has not gone #2 yet so we had a little nervousness also set in with that component. Other than that, having a dog on board has been great. He is a great companion and loves the water too so it is a good fit for a smaller dog that doesn’t require copious amounts of exercise. Other cruisers beware of the channel in Clearwater Beach. There is an auxiliary channel that we veered left in and there’s ground. Not good. The current was so strong it zipped us off and we got right back in the main channel and headed for the marina. Clearwater Beach is a very cool town and we highly recommend Frenchys for the grouper sandwich. Boy did AC and land equally feel amazing.
Day 4: Rise and shine and set sail again. Our original plan had us taking off for another 1-2 day sail to Marathon, FL, but the first monkey wrench in our adventure began: Tropical Storm Colin. So we day sailed down to St. Pete for a 50 mile trek. Our first experience at a storm kicked in right about the Skyway Bridge. Rain so thick we couldn’t see 1 foot in front of us so we circled until it eased up 20 minutes later and safely made it the City of St. Pete Mooring balls. We thought all was well til the storm got even more serious and we were moved to the City docks and we decided to snag a hotel room to be safe. So as the storm was over land last night we sure made the most of the night, beer and pizza. Every time we have come to St. Pete, we enjoy Joey Brooklyns pizza. We are always the only sober one in there but hey, its good stuff.
Storm has officially passed over St. Pete but his effects are still out there in the Gulf. Seas are 7 ft today, predicted to be at 3-4 tomorrow so we are jumping on the public bus to Publix, going to stay here another 2 night then leave for Venice, the shark capital of the WORLD, on Thursday morning. Baxter needs a shark tooth choker. Thanks for following us on this adventure and check out our Facebook and Instagram page if you haven’t already! Cheers-