How to ground / unground, ground / unground, ground, bump, bump, ground / unground, bump, ground and unground, all in one day.
My wife and I were moving our 40’ Endeavour
from Clearwater Beach to a marina in St. Petersburg Florida
. (20 miles) We chose a Saturday, as it was her day off of work, the beginning of the month to coincide with the ending of one lease
, and the beginning of another; it was a pretty day as well. It was severe clear, but a bit windy with small craft advisories issued. We decided to take the ICW
down, as we have never been on this portion of the ICW
before. We would get to see some new sights, learn this part of the route
, travel in fairly smooth waters (compared to the Gulf) and just have a relaxing voyage south. The old Perkins
needed a good work out anyhow.
was a steady 15 kts with gusts to 20 out of the East as we traveled south. We departed Clearwater at 0830, tide outbound with a little extra low arriving around 1330 in the region. We were on our way.
Everything was just ducky until about 1030 when we were crossing the channel to John’s Pass. I saw a narrow part on the south side of the pass, which appeared to be about 50 feet wide. I was in 6’ of water in the center of the ICW. My boat draws 4’8” when I’m on my diet. Well, here comes a big powerboat north bound. I ease to the right side of the channel at day marker 3 to give the powerboat plenty of room to whiz by. His wake, combined with the easterly wind
was enough to lift
me gently up onto the shoal and bring us to a sudden stop. During the first few moments of ‘less than church type language’, another powerboat wake sealed our doom.
I had previously wondered if the $100.00 unlimited towing I had signed up for earlier in the year was worth it. Well, I’m about to find out if the advertising was accurate.
I called Boat US on Ch 7, gave them my position, relevant information and member
number. The towboat arrived within 15 minutes, hooked up and pulled me off the shoal and back into the channel. I confirmed with the Captain
that this was a tow and not salvage
; I’ve read some horror stories. The Captain
told me that he had never seen the channel this low before. It must have been due to the extra low tide, and easterly wind shoving all the water out into the Gulf.
I believed him, and yes, the hundred bucks was well worth it.
We were escorted through a couple of equally narrow spots for the next 10 minutes, signed our paperwork and were on our way, into what the charts
described as ‘The Narrows’. Wonderful.
Yep, they were narrow.
As we eased up onto the next little bit of shoaling on the right (west) side of the channel I kept the power to her. The next powerboat wake gave back what the last two took. Just enough rise to hop us back off and into the channel.
With the wind blowing briskly as I was waiting for the next drawbridge opening, things were getting interesting again. I had to time my circles, oblong as they were, to stay inside the channel, without hitting the masses of little powerboats while waiting for my turn at the bridge. I had a small boat overtake me while on the upwind side of my circle and had to delay my crosswind turn just a moment or two. This was just enough to go bump bump and grind to a halt on the east side of the channel, pointing north.
Come on big fast heavy powerboats. Never though I would be begging for a good boat-rocking wake.
Between the wind and the requested wake, we were free once again. The journey seemed to be getting a bit better when we got to the Corey Causeway in St. Pete. They had a big hunk of 8’ deep water on the south side of the channel, out of everybody’s way, for me to hover about while waiting for the bridge.
We continue south and began our entry into the marina channel at day marker 38. I followed the hand written directions to our new home very precisely, as I had enough with being grounded for one day.
Day marker 4, bump, grind, bump, power, wiggle rudder
, bump, whew, that was close.
Hey, look 1330. Low tide. Imagine that.
Day marker 8. Channel about 15’wide. My guess is that we are now about 3” taller as we grind to a halt. No need in getting frustrated. The good news is that the tide should be coming in sometime in the very near future. I’m figuring I need about 4” of extra water at this point to change my current
status from debris to vessel. There is this fellow and his wife in a small fishing
boat off my starboard. He was on the outward side of the channel and was preparing to leave. My wife suggested that I should have gone to the starboard side of the day marker; it looks deeper now to her than it did a few minutes ago. I was vindicated when he had to tilt his motor
up to get his 10” draft free. HA!
Honey, time to fix your Captain some lunch and a cold beer
please. The Marina is 1,500’ further down the channel, and golly, were not going anywhere for a while.
Just a few minutes before lunch was served I feel us easing off the sand being pushed by the wind. I get the engine
started again to get us moving and keep us off the other side of the channel. Home free. Here comes the marina.
Were now stuck, in the entrance of the marina. While stuck in the entrance we meet several of our new neighbors and get acquainted. I swear I saw some money
change hands as some won, and some lost
, as to weather or not we would clear the entrance.
10 minutes later were finished the last 75 yards to our new home. Much wiser, and believe it or not, much happier.
Larry and Sheree