Friday, March 13, 2015

We Fought The Waves and The Waves Won (Reposted)

I have some catching up to do.  The days since my last post have not leant themselves to blogging (as you will see).  So, without further ado, here it is.
Hey, No Fishing In The Marina!
Sarasota At Night
   So we left the Manatee River without seeing a single manatee. Bill said that the water was probably still too cold for them and they were further up the river in warmer waters.  Our next stop was Sarasota.  We were moored there for a couple of days and spent our time checking out the town, relaxing, and doing some minor repairs.  We found an ice cream shop that had 31 flavors but, wasn't a Baskin Robins; a quaint but, pricey cheese shop; and a Whole Foods with great produce but, extremely pricey meats.  Are you detecting a theme here?  As you might have guessed, the mooring field wasn't that cheap either.  Sarasota was a nice place to be for a little while but, we couldn't afford to stay any longer.  So, as soon as the weather allowed, we headed out.

Can You Guess Which Famous
Photo This Is From?
Shells . . . Floridian Gravel


Cheese Shop

Pretty Coastline
More Coastline
   Traveling on the ICW (Inter-Coastal Waterway), we made our way to Fort Myers.  The scenery was nice and we actually had a calm ride until the we got into speed boat territory.  We couldn't believe the outrageous number of power boaters and the speeds these boats were allowed to go.  It was rare if a boat passed us and didn't come as close as they possibly could, going way too fast, leaving a tremendous wake for us to deal with.  These wakes were made worse when, on many occasions, we had multiple boats passing us on both sides at the same time.  We even saw police and coast guard boats doing this. Amazing.  There was one particular boater who, when I motioned for him to move over, deliberately moved even closer, buzzing not only us but, our buddy boat (Raindog).  Not to be corny and quote a 90s child star but, "How rude!".

This Is The ONLY Police Boat Anyone Stopped For

Boats Everywhere!

We are 51 ft. Tall.  Almost Didn't
Make It.

Street View
   Once we actually arrived in Fort Myers, we had a pleasant stay for a few days.  There are lots of little shops and restaurants to check out.  A town trolley will pick up and drop off people at various points of interest, though we only used it for the grocery store.  There was even an art festival on Friday night.  Everything from paintings to jewelry to flowers was displayed.  There were even several street musicians showing off their talents and adding to the flare of the evening.
Us And Raindog Out To Dinner

Walking Down Town

Sunset In Fort Myers

We Put Out Our "Tent" Near The Bow
Silas Likes The Cooling The Tent

Flower Art

Installation Outside The Art Museum

   On Saturday morning we pulled out of the marina and into the mooring field for the night; leaving Raindog behind.  Brian and Erika have family coming.  So, we will meet up with them when they are ready to head out of Fort Myers. After the night in the mooring field, we made a short 15 mile jump to an anchorage.  This allowed us to shave some time off of the trip to the Keys that we were to start on Sunday.  Sunday morning, we left the anchorage expecting a smooth overnight trip of 28 hours, arriving in Marathon Key by mid Monday morning.  What we expected and what we got were two very different things.  The weather, yet again, turned our plan on its ear.

This Dinghy Almost Hit The Power Boat.  The Dinghy
Guys Weren't Looking.
   The early hours of our trip toward Marathon were fine.  The weather was calm, the channel was deep, and (apart from a few, shall we say aloof boaters) the other boats weren't a problem either.  By the afternoon, the waves and wind had significantly picked up.  By nightfall, things had gotten so bad I was forced downstairs with a bad bout of seasickness.  I hated leaving Bill up there by himself to fight the storm but, I was really no use to him in that condition. 

   The waves, wind, and swells (I have no earthly idea why they call them swells!  Swells are not "swell".) were horrible; 10 ft. waves, 25 kt. winds, and 6 to 8 ft. swells.  If you have trouble visualizing this, think of being on the boat as it slides up and down the waves, taking water over the bow and rocking hard side to side all at the same time.  If this makes you sick thinking about it, well, try being there. (We DID read multiple forecasts and charts.  This storm was nowhere to be found).

   At 2 a.m., things got worse.  I heard Bill rev the engine.  Hard.  Then he slowed it down.  Again, he ran the engine hard and slowed.  This was not normal.  Something was definitely wrong.  I dragged myself out of bed, navigated the hallway, climbed the stairs, and asked what was going on.  Bill's response . . . "The waves are attacking us, the throttle is broken, and we're going to die!". . . Ok . . . I have to admit that a little freaking out in these conditions was understandable but, we were not going to die.  No throttle meant no power.  No power meant the engine was useless.  So, we managed to unfurl the Genoa (the big sail in the front of our boat) and ride the winds (VERY uncomfortable but, it worked). 
   With only the wind to push us, we had to go where the winds were going.  The winds had no plans to go to Marathon but, they were headed toward Key West.  So, Key West it was.  By sunrise, the weather was starting to behave itself and Bill decided to see if he could fix the throttle from the cockpit. No luck.  The problem wasn't in the cockpit.  It had to be somewhere inside the boat.  Bill needed a steady place to work.  A marina seemed like the best solution.  After calling around, we found a marina that didn't have a slip for us but, did have a place in their mooring field.  Beggars can't be choosers.  We took it. Then there was the problem of actually getting there.  We couldn't sail all the way there (the channel was too narrow).  A tow boat was the answer.  Luckily, we're Boat U.S. members.  So, getting a tow wasn't a problem.
Being Towed
   The tow guy got to us pretty quickly.  He had us hooked up and going in no time.  The ride was (surprise, surprise) rough but, he seemed to know exactly where we were going and we arrived without issue.  Once we were on the mooring ball, Bill set to work on the throttle.  He actually got it fixed in a matter of minutes. Turns out, it was just a loose nut on the arm that allows the throttle to run.  He replaced and tightened the nut and, voila!  The throttle worked!

   So, here we are.  Safe and sound again.  The cats are fed, comfortable, and happy.  We have both showered, eaten, and are planning on making it an early night and turning in early.  Thanks to the strong winds, we'll probably be here through Sunday.  This means that we are going to get as many projects done and as much provisioning done as possible in town and on the Navy base (of course).  We didn't make it to Marathon but, that's just fine with me.  I have had my fill of big waves and swells for quite a while.
   Note: I had every intention of posting this last night but, Oliver (graceful boat cat that he is) managed to knock the laptop on the floor and break the mouse receiver before I could get the pictures in.  We bought a new mouse today and are keeping it far away from him.  Sorry for the added delay.

Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments. (If no one has commented yet, there will be a "No Comments" link near the bottom of the post. If someone has already commented, there will be a number and the word "comments" beside it. Just click whichever of these is there, click, "add comment" when the window opens, and type away.)

1 comment:

  1. This is for Pat. As you will see, I had to repost my most recent post because of an issue with the computer (it was accidentally deleted). I did see and respond to your comment but, in case you didn't see it before it was deleted (when a post goes away, so do the comments). I said that it did make me feel a little bit better to know that we were no the only ones having problems out there and that at least we were upright and above water.


Please let us know what you think. Feel free to ask questions and leave nice comments.