My Hero...

Hello to all! The Capt and I were fortunate enough to have a few days off this past week-end. I'm sure no one will have a hard time figuring out what we did with our rare but very appreciated free time... WE WENT SAILING!! YEAH BABY!

We had a great 3 day sail down the coast of FL. A quick over view of our trip to follow in the next couple of posts:

Day One... Plan was to awaken early and get out of St Pete as quickly as possible so we could make our way to Punta Gorda in our guesstimate time of 13-14 hours. Well.... first we over slept..which may or may not have been planned :) We then had a leisurely breakfast and showers to find that we under estimated the amount of time it would take us to prepare Mary for the journey. We have learned.. slowly but surely how important it is to buckle down the hatches prior to sailing off. Capt. Don prepared the top side which included giving the deck a good swab down, securing any loose objects and removing the air conditioning. My job as Admiral..was to secure all items below deck. Clean the galley and prepare GPS for our adventure. Finally after 3 1/2 hours we are ready to shove off... so much for our early morning departure.

We were motoring out in the bay for just a short time when the engine alarm started to sound. Now since these alarms are new to us we are not accustom to the sounds of these alarms yet. We both hear the alarm... the Capt looks at me and yells, "turn down the squelch!" Ohhh OK! At last he realizes that was a big oops. With a bit of fine tuning to the alarm settings all was well and off we went again.

The day was beautiful..sunny, 88 degrees, fresh squid on ice for fishing and a nice 15-20 mph breeze. Ahh life is good!

Then at approx 1030am dark ominous clouds began building behind us. After careful observation we came to the conclusion they were moving away from us. Whewww! A short time later prior to crossing beneath the Sunshine Bridge we noted another set of building dark clouds ahead of us. It was obvious that our luck was about to run out. Within minutes the clouds formed into a black wall that engulfed the bridge. Now for those of you who have seen the Sunshine Bridge.. engulfing it is not a minor task. Visibility dropped to zero.. and here we were in the middle of a large shipping lane!! Mighty frightening not being able to see what is in front of you and hearing the reduced visibility horns on huge shipping freighters! Like a scene out a Steven Spielberg movie! Capt Don found his way to an area northeast of the Sunshine Bridge via out trusty GPS. This area is reserved for anchorage for ships carrying explosives. Luckily there were no ships at anchor... Huge fine for entering this area when there are ships at anchor. This area provided us refuge from the fast approaching storm. It provided an area large enough to circle in with adequate depths and a clear magenta line. As Capt Don guides Mary in graceful circles I head down below to verify that everything is buckled down .. I say a quick prayer, then assume my duties standing in the companion way to man the GPS. The wind began to increase in strength... 25 mph .. 30 mph..40 mph... Mary began to heel over slightly and continued to playfully dance through the choppy water... Yeah.. this is fun huh??!! Then the rain began... just a drizzle in the beginning, then a sprinkle, turning into a steady down pour.. at last ending with a gushing down pour as well as 50 mph winds that turned the rain into what felt like shot gun pellets beating the poor Capt into shreds! Times like this make me thankful to be but a mere Admiral. The winds topped out at 54 mph.. with approximately 3 inches of rain. Woohooo that was an experience... good experience, a challenging experience, a scary experience.. but all the same an experience that we will need to be comfortable in before we set off on our long distant sailing adventure. Mary handled very well in these gale forced winds.. she stood tall, maintained her integrity as she danced through the water. She eliminated any doubts in my mind if we would be safe sailing the high seas with her. The Capt as well stood strong showed no fear and made secure, unwavering decisions. I am blessed to have him as my Captain and instructor~~he is truly my hero.
The rest of the day was without incident... we sailed south till we came to Anna Marie Island. Here we dropped anchor and spent a beautiful evening relaxing and watching the sunset.. closing yet another day.
This anchorage is special to us.. this was our last anchorage during our original move from Amelia Island. That nite was a bitter sweet nite.. we knew the next day we would reach our final destination and Mary would be tied to a dock as we began the restoration process.. it was the end of our journey. This time was different... it symbolized the beginning of new journey... soon Mary will be free as we sail across the deep blue in search of whatever adventures will come our way.
The day closes peacefully... another marble out of the jar.. a new memory in our hearts.
Peace to all!