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I woke up to a very nice day anchored off of Longboat Key and near Moores Crab House. I was still very tired from the overnight trip down but also excited to have John Thomas, a sailor from Little Rock, join me all the way to the Bahamas. I had become so exhausted on the trip that I started to wonder why I was doing it in the first place. Having John on board to share the trip with and the handling of the boat will be nice. We left Longboat Key for Venice Florida via the Gulf of Mexico. The weather slapped us in the face with some confused seas at the start of the trip but calmed down as they day progressed.. We arrived in Venice just before sunset to a wonderful anchorage just inside the passage. We both really like the looks and feel of Venice. The next morning the wind was blowing hard from the south and would make the trip hard if we took the Gulf route so we decided to do the ICW. It turned out to be a great decision. The trip was interesting and relaxing. We had to raise around 7 bridges on our way, all reached on channel 9. The weather built as the day went on.
|Weather builds just before anchoring at Cayo Costa State Park|
|John Thomas enjoying the setting sun|
|I think he is in his element|
|John is approached by big bird|
|We really liked Cayo Costa State Park|
|We fly the spinnaker for the first time on our way to Marco Island|
We arrived at Marco at night and I had to do another night passage through a narrow pass into the harbor. We hooked up around 7:30 pm. We stayed two nights and had time to relax, do some laundry, and fill up on good food at the tiki bar. I tried to order a new prop to replace my damaged one with no luck. It would have to do. The next morning we were headed to Key West on an overnight sail of 87 miles. We had great weather and our first dolphin to ride the bow wave of the boat.
|After a long day of sailing we prepare to sail through the night|
|We prepare the boat for our overnight passage to Key West as the sun sets|
|Nearing Key West|
|We meet the Key West traffic as we hunt for an anchorage|
Our anchorage in Key West turned out to be very bumpy as the wind shifted to the north and rocked the boat all night long. Neither of us got very much sleep that night. We had some decisions to make at this point. My original plans were to sail to Cay Sal Bank and into the Bahamas on the south side of Andros. The weather was not going to let us cross the gulf stream safely for the next three days. So we decided to work our way up the Keys to gain some ground and at the same time give the weather time to change in our favor. So we decided to leave the next morning and head up the keys on the Atlantic side and position ourselves for the crossing over into the Bahama Islands.