Monday, February 22, 2016

Gulf Crossing To Clearwater

Clearwater Baby! Picture taken by our new friends Robbie and Julia


Porch at C-Quarters Marina

We left Carrabelle with mixed emotions. It was sad to see all the empty rocking chairs. Lots of fond memories of the people who quickly became our friends while whiling away the hours.

Well the big scary crossing is now a thing of the past. We were a bit on edge about crossing the Gulf of Mexico after our rough previous experience. It turned out to be a beautiful and easy event. The waves went from reasonable 2-3 footers to dead flat with just a few hours of a rolling swell to add interest to the trip.

Brenda bundled up!

We motor sailed for four hours with all three sails up making great time out of Carrabelle. Once the wind died off to less than 5 knots the sails came down and our trusty old 22 h.p. Yanmar kept us moving. Other than another four hour motorsail when we turned slightly eastward into Clearwater the Yanmar did all the work. The little fella putted along happily for 32.5 straight hours using up a whopping 16 gallons of diesel. Our new boating friends Ronnie and Julia aboard Tranquilo II (44 foot Carver power boat) said that wouldn't even fill their fuel filters. Some of those power boats suck up 30 or more gallons an hour! Robbie cruises at a slower speed to keep his fuel consumption more reasonable. Not easy to do when he has twin 400 h.p. power plants.

Mid crossing diesel top-off.

The sunset was glorious and a nearly full moon came up to light the night sky. The stars and moon are incredible out there in the middle of the Gulf. Sailing along 70 miles from anything the moon seems like a friendly companion.

As we motored the last 15 miles into Clearwater the warm sun had us peeling off coats, sweatshirts, gloves and cockpit blankets. By the time we entered Clearwater Pass we were down to T-shirts. A large group of dolphins came to usher us in as we worked our way around all the lousy crab pots strewn everywhere. Brenda was literally dancing up on the bow watching the show and trying to take pictures. That girl sure loves her dolphins.

We rented a slip at Clearwater Beach Municipal Marina which we entered without looking like rookies. What a relief to turn off that Yanmar and tidy up the boat. We got cleaned up and slept pretty much forever.

The next day Robbie and Julia took the water taxi over from the Clearwater Harbor Marina to stroll the beach area and share a cold drink at a local bar/restaurant. They plan on exploring the area a bit before deciding where they want to go next. What a fun life we cruisers have. "Where do you want to go next dear?"


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