38 miles to Cabbage Key

We returned to the boat last night at Fishermans Wharf in Venice after being in Pensacola for a short visit.  Pura Vida was sure ready to hit the GIWW today, conditions were great.  Sunny with a light north east wind and a little cold but by afternoon it was 70 and still beautiful.  lots of no wake Manatee areas and the dolphin activity on the way here was great, every pod we would come to would follow us for a mile or so and show off then disappear.  Jacob made some great home made guacamole  and fixed a awesome lunch for the ride.  In 1936 Alan Rinehart and Gratia Houghton Rinehart bought the island for $14,500 and invested $125,000 on the amenedities which exist today.   Cabbage Key is One hundred acres of tropical vegetation surround a historic restaurant, inn and cottages. A panoramic view of Pine Island Sound is seen from the front of the restraunt and the marina is pretty well protected. There are no cars here, not even a paved road. You will find winding nature trails, picturesque views, gopher tortoise’s  and a private island feel.  Tomorrow our goal is to get to Marco Island

 

70 miles to Venice

Feb, 3rd I departed Clearwater Marina at 8am for a 65 mile trip to Venice Fl going through both Tampa and Sarasota Bay, east winds had the gulf looking smooth so I ran outside starting from Clearwater Pass, because the south wind was building I went in at Tampa Pass.  Tampa Bay had some big waves, just like John and Sue my great loop pals had said it would be.  Pura Vida chugged through these 3-4′ waves for about 40 min.  once inside the GIWW from Tampa Bay to Venice it was beautiful, lots of mangroves and manatee zones where you had to go slow.  slow is the best, gives you time to look around you not just ahead of you.  We had 7 bridges to go under, and needed to have 3 bridges open because they were below my 18′ height requirement these bridges open on signal using VHF channel 9.  In Sarasota I actually saw where the tornado’s went through and did some damage to mangroves and totally destroyed homes.  My trip ended up being 70 miles because I went on the gulf side for a couple of hours.  This probably didn’t save me any time it just was nice that I didn’t have to slow down for smaller boats or no wake zones.  I was able to dock at Venice Yacht Club for two nights because the Pensacola Yacht Club is a member of The Florida Council of Yacht Clubs and so is the Venice Yacht Club.  This means I can stay one night free and the other nights 1/2 the price of normal.  No cash is exchanged here they bill it to my PYC account.  Venice Yacht Club rolled out the red carpet it felt like.  everything was ready for my boat upon arrival thanks to the awesome Dock masters Ted and Jim.  I met a bunch of boaters eating dinner at VYC they were all excited to hear about my trip.  Something about Venice Beach from what the locals told me was it’s really easy to find shark teeth on this beach, especially after a big storm, I wonder why this is.  My next three stops are Cabbage Key, Marco Island, and Key West.  VYC sold me a Council of Yacht Clubs book so I can keep in touch with all the right clubs that offer reciprocal privileges.  From here i will go home for a couple days get a few things I need and head back with my friend Jacob so he can ride and assist me to Key West.  Have a great weekend and thanks for reading.

22 miles to Clearwater Beach

Turtle Cove Marina in Tarpon Springs was a very nice facility. The staff was so friendly and the amenities were nice and new. I met some great people in Tarpon Springs, ate great food and could smell the fresh baked goods as they were cooked in a bakery up the river from the Marina every morning, Hellas Bakery to be exact. Their sweet bread is great. A few slips down from me were two boats the Rhino and BaoBab, I made 5 new friends on those two boats. A veteran looper Lynn, she and her husband Dan did the loop and it took them 12 years to do so and I think that’s so cool. Stopping spots along the way for as long as they wanted. While still running all over the country with their super cool haulers moving goods for people to cover travel expenses and visit friends. She used to live in Pensacola so we had a ton in common. Whitney and Ray were aboard the “Rhino”. A super cool 46′ crab boat that was converted to a trawler. With a single NA8v92. It’s a sweet pilot house trawler. I love the lines. Michelle and Blue on the “Baobab” were awesome to get to know and live on a beautiful pilot house cruiser as well. I really hope I can spend more time hanging out with them when I run into them again down the road.
The trip to Clearwater was short and a beautiful ride. I didn’t go far today only 22 miles, I got a later start leaving because I wanted to leave on a high tide because of some shallow spots in the Marina. The water was super green and felt like home but just on another coastline. Clearwater Beachside Marina is a great facility as well. We were docked by 6pm

180 miles to Anclote River, Tarpon Springs 

We left the Moorings Sunday afternoon around 5pm, “Pura Vida” took the head of the pack followed by “Thanks Dad” “Cocomo” and “Island Gypsy” what  a beautiful evening watching the sunset, during the middle of the night the seas were around 2′ all was smooth.  At 6am we had a call from one of the boats that they were having fuel filter woes, the engine ended up shutting down and the captain wasn’t able to get it to restart after changing fuel filters.   What made this even more interesting was the boat with the fuel problems was also having electronic power issues and was communicating with a handheld Vhf.  the only way to get a TowBoat to respond from that far away around 50 miles offshore was to ask the coast guard for help getting the message to Boat US. I did this for the stranded vessel as their handheld didn’t have the range that my built in vhf has. By 8:40 we were in contact with Tow Boat Us and they were minutes away from the stranded vessel. Sunrise was amazing out their as well. During this whole engine issue that the other boat was having the seas had to be 3-4′ once we were closer to land around 11am it laid down nicely and we had a beautiful ride up the Anclote River. To Tarpon Springs.  Feels amazing to be on the other side.  Life is good.  So are all the people in it. 
Sunrise at The Moorings, Carrabelle Fl taken by Mandi Singer

Sunset on the Gulf of Mexico Salt Pasture   

Route to Tarpon Springs from Carrabelle 
  

First glimpse of the West Coast of Florida 
  

Shallow green water greeted us at about 10 miles offshore  

line of sight to land is 7miles

Anclote River, Tarpon Springs sponge docks ahead 
  

  

Pura, Coco, and Thanks Dad 

  

Waiting for better weather 

We all tried for a noon crossing but found conditions to be worse than expected.  Anchored untill 4pm off dog island and tried it again.  Still same scenario. Headed back to the Moorings and sitting it out untill Monday/Tuesday most likely. 

The Pura Vida and the two other boats that tried to cross yesterday with us.   

Pura Vida port profile 

 

The way back in, feeling defeated lol not really 

 
Protected Marina the Moorings is a great staging spot Bc it’s so close to East Pass   

 36 monk trawler.  Getting down 

  
  
 “Thanks Dad” and their dingy  

 

Anchored behind dog island  
 Dolphin in the Marina 

    

  

 

30 miles to Carrabelle 

My stay in apalachicola was incredible, the people I met and places I visited just made it feel like home.  Stopping here for as long as I did really did me good, it reminded me that all people are freaking great. And theirs nothing to be afraid of because everyone is willing to help and lend a hand. The people I met here I will never forget. When your “just passing through” in apalachicola be sure to talk to all the locals.  Their a awesome group of people no different than you or me.  Most of them with amazing stories on how they ended up their I can’t wait to come back and see my friends and listen to live music at the Bowery Station.
Apalachicola bay was pretty today with sunshine and plenty of cold wind, still it was awesome.  Lots of markers were way off so following the gps closely was the only way to really be sure you were in good water.  The dredging operation going on in the bay may have also been why some markets were out. This is a pretty stretch. Wide bays pretty shallow water with dangerous sandbars and oyster beds that will destroy a hull.

Tomorrow is the 177 mile jump to Tarpon Springs. It looks like a good weather window for the next couple days, my friends John and Sue from Pensacola are headed to the keys and are going to cross with us tomorrow since our boats cruise the same speed

Leaving Water Street Marina

Entrance to the Carrabelle River

These are my friends Ted and Sarah in their Katy Krogen Manatee 37 they bought this boat new in 1987 and have been doing the loop ever since. This is their 26th time!!!  It was amazing meeting so many loopers while I was in apalachicola. Ted and Sarah have such a laid back attitude about boating it’s refreshing and shared some amazing stories with me.  When you loop time after time you really learn the water ways like the back of your hand.     Their flybridge has been enclosed so makes great for all weather cruising.  It’s powered by a single d3 Volvo 130 that sips fuel at 1.8gallons per hour

 Their dingy has to be the coolest one I’ve ever seen with a 90hp it can do anything they need and also help their boat maneuver if for any reason with the push bar

A small work tug  sunk while I was staying on scipio creek and I got to see them swap the locked up 6/71’s for a freshly rebuilt pair         

Scipio Creek 

Apalachicola has been a great place, they have been practicing yoga at the marina I am staying at so I have been going to that on Tuesdays. My good friend Louis Hines made a trip down here this past weekend on his Birthday and we explored Scipio creek.
Sunken shrimp boat and two other commercial style boats are abandoned about a 1/2 mile down the creek, probably a hurricane hideout that ended up not being so safe.

 Pura Vidas aft and a nice downeast style cruiser 
Louis at the tiller of the Twin Vida


Flood waters moved some big debris. Tree wedged against a navigational marker   

Scipio creek tributary that goes through turtle Harbour.  Apalachicola River is the fat one then Scipio is the darker narrow one

Frankly County, City of Apalachicola

This town is rich in old Florida history, it has been a great place to rest relax and explore this week.  In 1849, Apalachicola physician Dr. John Gorrie (1802–1855) discovered the cold-air process of refrigeration and patented an ice machine in 1850. He had experimented to find ways to lower the high temperatures of fever patients. His patent laid the groundwork for development of modern refrigeration and air-conditioning, making Florida and the South more livable year round. The city has a monument to him, and a replica of his ice machine is on display in the John Gorrie Museum. John Gorrie Memorial Bridge, originally built in 1935 and rebuilt in 1988, carries U.S. 98 across Apalachicola Bay to Eastpoint, Florida.

In the late 19th century and early 20th century, the sponge trade, led by Greek immigrants, was a major industry in town.

This was a picture in the Apalachicola Maritime Museum here, I like what it has to say about Florida.  We are all so lucky to be living in this beautiful state, so close to nature.  The Maritime Museum is definitely worth checking out

More than 90% of Florida’s oyster production is harvested from Apalachicola Bay.

  The civil war was 
My amazing parents and sister came to visit me and brought Louie!

72 miles to Apalachicola

We departed St. Andrews Marina today around 7:40am it was cold around 42 so the flybridge isinglass stayed closed most the day, with my little space heater running. today took us through St. Andrews Bay to East Bay and then into the narrow ICW, this was a long stretch because from all the rain the north has had, The river was in flood stage so all the debris in the woods that was flooded floated into the river and caused hazards.  This has been going on for a while so debris was scattered and you just had to dodge occasional big logs. Winding through this low swampy area was fun and being on high alert made it go by fast.  The boat handled well in the heavy currents. Once getting to the Apalachicola River the boat picked up considerable speed and we saw some homes that were getting water inside from the flood.   Our drive took 8 hours today and crossed the Eastern time zone line of demarcation 
  Apalachicola shrimp boat “beachcombers bounty”  
Water Street Hotel slip

  Floating docks are the best 
    
   
  Panama City natives  
 

 

St. Andrews Marina 

Happy 2016 from Panama City, I’ve never really spent much time here even though it’s so close to Pensacola. It’s a interesting quirky place.  My friend Louis  Hines came by last night on his way back from Orlando visiting family and went to dinner with us, he stayed and offered to take us shopping today for some supplies we need  so we look forward to do this and enjoyed his visit,  tomorrow we will head to Apalachicola Florida and we are anticipating good weather. 
Port side to docking is preferred in calm marinas for ease of getting on and off the boat