Greetings from Clearwater Beach Marina, as I am looking at the causeway, and that rediculas red piriate boat as it sails
by ever so often. I have been without internet
for the past so many days, so a little update.
I left Crystal River, I think 3 days ago. Captain
Shelly came over and tied her dingy to my boat and rode
with me to the entrance of the Crystal River Channel in the Gulf the morning I left. We said our goodbyes, and as she was motoring away, the engine
died, sputtered, died again. I could hear her hollering, " YOURE DRIFTING OUT OF THE CHANNEL"....I CANT GET THE MOTOR
TO STAY RUNNING, I hollered back. She pulled up with her dingy to the starboard side of my boat, like a little tugboat, and was easing me back into the channel. I went below to look at the engine(like I would know WTF to do), then I saw it! On top of what appears to be the cut out of a tin can, was a toggle switch, and written in magic marker was the words, "Fuel Pump". I flipped it to the ON position and the engine
can to life! Ok, we good to go now. I waved BYE again and motored out into the gulf. So far, I have found sailing to be a strain on my nerve, punctuated by little disasters along the way.
I made it out to my left turn south, heading for Anclote Key sandbar. As I motored along with the jib
out all the way, I was thinking of what I left behind in Crytal River, all those tremendous people, and civilization. I was making @ 5 knots, and staring at a calm sea and crab pots in all directions. Dont know why I studied out the route
so much, all one has to do is follow the crab pots, they go all the way to Anclote Key. I checked my bearing and location on the chart, and marked where I was and the time I was at that location. I was making for St Martin's red flashing beacon. I nailed it within a 100 yards. Now it was getting dark, the sun had set about an hour ago. Now I made my bearing to the next red flashing beacon at the northeast side of Anclote Key. I could see the lights of civilization dead ahead, but I was still 10 to 12 miles out. Now it was dark, and the wind
was picking up out of the northwest. The worst thing I hate about sailing is being on the ocean, alone, in the darkness moving at 5 knots. Ok, so here I am, getting close, just saw a crabpot bouy past down my port side within feet. Damn! More crabpot bouys! So I went into netrual, the engine down to idle, and just depended on the jib
for speed. There I was blazing along at 2 knots, but figured hell, its dark, crabpot bouys, and I am in no hurry. I sailed along till close to midnight at 2 knots. Decided, I would just drop an anchor
for the night, soon as I got into some 8 ft depths, which I knew would be soon according to my charts
. I found a spot, scanned the area, didnt see anything, spoosh went the danforth. I put out about 50' of scope
, then went to 70 ft, just in case. Anchor
all tied off, and I am ready for a little chow and beddybye time. As I was walking back to the cockpit
, out of the corner of my eye I saw a bouy!!!!!!!! Dnamit dnamit dnamit,,,**** **** sit...I said to myself...there it was as big as a tennis ball, and crabpot bouy, 3 feet off my port amidship. I guestimated my location, the wind
direction, and the tide, and surmized, I had just dropped my anchor ontop of a string of crabpots. I scrammabled to the bow, and started tugging on the anchor, pulled in a few feet, and there it went sliding back into the water
through my fingers. Hmmm...I willl pull up what I can, tied it off, pull up some more and tied it off, untied the previous pull and pull in some more to tie off. The wind was at about 10knots, right into my face, couldnt pull in anymore. Ok I thought, put the motor in gear
foreward, went back to the cockpit
, but didnt see the bouy at first, then I saw it 2 feet off the center stern!!! Now I thought, if I put this thing in gear
and wrap the prop, I would be in worse shape that I was. Nothing to do but sit there till daylight, and what a long night it was. Daylight came, and I was still in the same spot, in the same situation. Ok, I thought...I will use the winch
at the bottom of the mast
, wrap what I can and winch
myself out. I wrapped what I could on the winch and started to tug, that didnt work either. I couldnt move the boat around using the engine for fear I would get the prop caught, so as a last resort, I called TowBoat US. They showed up about an hour later, and tried to tow me off, but I was held fast. Those crabpot bouys are usually attached to a string or 6 to 8 crabpots, each weighing about 90 pounds a piece. After about 30 minutes for pulling me around half the gulf, I was finially broken free, and able to get my anchor up. I was cold, I was tired, I was hungry and I wanted LAND again. Damn I hate sailiing I thought all the way up the Anclote River. I went past Anclote Key, where I had hoped to spend the day on the beach, but now I was ready for some land.
I found the little mooring
area at the little campground, Captain
Shelly told me about. There were about 6 sailboats in there, with only one couple I saw on a 28' erickson named Rainbow Ends. I waved, they waved. Now understand, this was my first anchoring
around other sailboats, the wind was pushing me as I tried to manuver in-between them. I found a spot, but just barely missed the bow of another sailboat by inches with my dingy hanging off my davits
. Doesnt count unless ya touch I always say. Pulled up and dropped the danforth again reluctantly I must say. I have yet to deploy that anchor and not have problem getting it back up again. But I was tired and was like, " I'll worry about that tomorrow". That night there was some very stong winds blowing in, they had predicted gale force, so Like what else is new. I tried to sleep, but a sailboat can be as noisey as grand central station, with all the creeks, moans, bumps, grinds, and shutters. No yanks this time, I learned how to do a snubber line. Couldnt sleep at all, but at least I wasnt hungry.
The winds had died down the next morning, but I was totally spent, and didnt feel like getting out of bed
, and I was COLD too. I fired up the stove to knock the chill out of the air, and take a piss. Made some coffee and smoked a couple cigs...then went back underneath my blankets. Spent all day in bed
, sick and tired of sailing, or at least what of it I have experienced this past month. The next day was better, but still cold, but warming a bit. I decided I would ride my folding bicycle into Tarpon Springs and check out the place, and while I was in town I would look for an inverter
, and some binoculars. The greek part was nice, but touristy in my opinion, so off I went looking for the other stuff. Got directions to a walmart, a couple of miles away. Now, a couple of miles when givin directions usually mean double that, and double that is was, or at least felt like it. My legs were killing me, but good excersize I thought. I found a walmart, and a west marine
a stones throw from each other. BONUS, I thought. Went into west marine
, yall got some binoculars I asked, yes sir, right over there. OMG, 500 bucks for binoculars? I will go to Walmart. At walmart, yall got some binoculars? Nope sure dont....ya got an inverter
, yes sir we do. Ok, great, I got the inverter. I put the inverter in my backpack, left the store, got on my bike, and peddled away in search for the binoculars. As I rode
my bike off a sidewalk curb, the handlebars broke, and over the top I went and then on the ground, landing on my ass...of course there were many witnesses to this event. I think I brusied a rib
, and skint my left knee, and twisted my wrist. NOW...how the heck am I gonna get back to my boat with this busted up bicycle. Looked up at a Big Lots sign, and said ZIP TIES. I bought a pack of the long ones, and put enough on to make the bike ridable within reason. I headed back to the boat. Saw a Advanced Auto, and stopped there and bought some washers, nuts and bolts, and fixed the handlebars. On folding bikes, the handlebars fold down, the part the keeps them from folding down when riding is the part that broke. So with a good size bolt, washers, nuts, and they let me used some tools, and I was off again, but with no binoculars. I got to where I needed to turn left to get back to the campground and my boat, there was an antique store, I stopped in and asked them, do yall have any binoculars, The lady behind the counter said they might and went into the backroom and came out with these old binoculars. These are very old Baush & Lombs for 100 dollars. They were old all right, real old and didnt work good. Sorry I said, I am looking for some for my sailboat, these, as nice as they are, would only get tore up even more. A younger lady also behind the counter, said, wait a sec. She dissappeared towards the back of the store, and retuned in a couple of minutes, with a small camo bag in hand. How about these she said, and took them out of the bag. They were camo binoculars, like new, with night vison stamped on the side of one lens. How much I asked? 20 bucks she said. Fine I willl take em. Mission accomplished, now for the long ride back to the boat, chest, back, legs, wrist, and knee feeling sore. I made it back to the boat, put the bike in the dingy, rowed back to the boat. Went to bed.
Got up this morning, early. Got the boat ready to go, fired off the motor, and pulled the anchor, and I was on my way to Clearwater. So, here I sit in Clearwater, at the Clearwater Beach Marina, at 76 bucks a night!!!!! But I got internet, I got SHOWER! and I got a REAL BATHROOM to take a dump in the morning. Tomorrow, I am off again south, but there is weather
coming in, dont know how far I will get, but I will get somewhere.
ps. Dont know when I will have internet again, but will update this when I can.
pss. Sailing still sucks, but gonna give it a little longer.
psss. For those of you who dream about sailing and the ocean and all that crap you see on TV with a fast sailboat skimming across the blue clear water, with dolphins
dancing in front of the boat....its bullshit. Its done in a marina, with trained actor dolphins
. Sailing people are great, the ones I have met so far, but the sailing part is really sucking for me. Sailing alone is lonely, slow, and boring....especially at night and ya cant see civilization.