Champ III: Going Places

The adventure starts here.

Turtle Cove Marina, Tarpon Springs, FL

Day started a later as I slept a little later and after feeding Candy I decided to check emails before her walk. Lo and behold the weather guru wanted to know why you were not on the water making a crossing to Tarpon Springs. His previous days words were that the 1st weather window might be Thanksgiving and Friday. I walked Candy, woke Lenore and started making preparations. We left the dock about 7:45 in a cloudless sky with temps in the low 50’s. The water was pretty good for the first 20 miles as we had protection from the panhandle but as we got out into the Gulf the waves were 3′ with the occassional 4′ thrown in for good measure. The wind was out of the north and we were traveling southeast so we had the waves on the left stern and we were able to stay on plane at speed. The crossing in total was 178 miles dock to dock. By halfway the waves were 2′ to 3′ and they even got own to 1′ to 2′ for the last 40 miles.
We dodged crab trap floats for the last 30 mile of open water. The crabbers put their traps down with a float on the surface. It is a small plastic ball, maybe 8″ in diameter. They are spaced about 80′ to 100′ on center with the crab trap lines running north-south. You do not want to run over the floats because the lines will wrap themselves around the shaft and the prop and you have to go under with a knife and cut them off. We both were standing looking out the windshield trying to spot the floats as we were traveling at about 25 mph and they are hard to see in the waves. Fortunately we missed them all.
We enjoyed our time in Carrabelle and the people at C Quarters were really friendly. Candy and I spent a lot of time with them in front of the store just talking and soaking up the local charm. We even saw them loading ice into a fishing boats one morning with their adapted concrete truck chute. It worked perfect and did the job of loading several hundred pounds of ice into the boat. All the pictures today are from Carrabelle and the time we spent there. There is one of a boat that came into the river one night and missed a marker and went aground. The next morning the tide was out and the boat was high and dry and they waited for the tide to come back in before they could pull them off. There was no damage to the boat. How lucky can someone get.
Another picture is when one of the C Quarter’s staff was smoking fish one day and everybody was standing around. They also smoked a turkey and a boston butt. For Thanksgiving they are doing another smoked turkey and deep frying a ham. It would have been nice to be there for that if we could have counted on Friday for the crossing with certainty. One day they also cooked hot dogs and hamburgers for anybody that was around. Nothing fancy but good old southern hospitality.
We will stay in Tarpon Springs for 3 or 4 days for some of the greek charm and then start to work our way down to the Sanibell Island area near Fort Myers. We have friends, Peggy and Ken that completed the loop a couple of years ago and they are coming down to spend the winter in Florida and the Bahamas. We will visit with them before they leave for the Bahamas on their boat.