Friday, September 19, 2014

5/30/14-6/3/14: Sarasota to Marco Island to Sarasota: 200 NM

My route to Marco Island

After my month away from sailing, I returned to Sarasota for more.  I had some time to kill before my wife joined me in Sarasota, so I decided to sail down to Marco Island for a couple of days and meet some friends that were going to be there on vacation.  I got some directions for exiting Big Sarasota Pass and it's shifting sands from the dock master and headed out for Marco Island in the morning.
Sailing along peacefully off of Venice Florida
Just after the above pic was taken, a coast guard transmission came over the radio of this storm producing 60 mph winds.  It was headed my way so I decided to motor my way out of harms way.  After cranking the engine and putting her in gear I realized I had no engine thrust, not being able to make more than 2 knots speed.  I decided to anchor out in the gulf in 50 feet of water and check the prop.  Being solo and swimming and diving around the boat untethered with no life jacket 8 miles out in the Gulf with an approaching storm is not much fun.  I found I had a prop that was totally fouled by barnacles.  It took 10 to 15 minutes of furious work to get her cleaned up.  I boarded the boat with bleeding hands from the sharp barnacles but thankful the task was completed and off I went at 6 knots trying to out run the storm, which I did.
Night approaching as I round Sanibel Island
I decided to sail all night instead of spending the extra hours making anchor in Charlotte Harbor.  It turned out to be a very bumpy and uncomfortable night of sailing that is so often the case in the Gulf of Mexico with cross seas and variable winds.
Marco Island Anchorages: the first night after my overnight crossing at Coconut Island and my second night at Smokehouse Bay.
I arrived at Marco around noon on May 31st.  I took a nap while on the hook at Coconut Island before provisioning at the Piggly Wiggly that afternoon.  The next day I picked up the James family at Piggly Wiggly dock and we had a great time sailing in the Gulf.
Captains Pat, Dylan, and John

Maddie and Kristy James

Were on a boat!
The next day I headed back to Sarasota to ready the boat for my next crew member, my wife.  I decided to stop by at Cayo Costa State Park and tour the park and relax.  There was stormy weather all the way from Marco to Cayo Costa.

I did not make the entrance to the anchorage at Cayo Costa due to darkness.  It is a very narrow channel running into Pelican Bay.  I anchored out in Charlotte Harbor and was pounded by wind and waves all night.  The next morning I was up early and motored into Pelican Bay and slept most of the day away.  I toured the park the next day on June 2.  Below are pics of the anchorage and the park.
Pelican Bay and Cayo Costa State Park

After touring the park and spending one more night in Pelican Bay, I headed out for Sarasota the next day on June 3 and had a great sail for most of the trip.  The highlight was some energetic and playful dolphins that  swam alongside for a bit.  

1 comment:

  1. Just read about your Rasmus restoration on; fantastic job!
    I sincerely hope you have time to enjoy the boat.
    We used to have a Rasmus ketch (I think the sloop is better - the ketch makes it awfully crowded aft of the cockpit. Seven years ago we switched to the Hallberg Rassy 41.