Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Panama City to Clearwater

Our planed early dawn departure for Friday 4/2 was delayed due to VERY heavy FOG, could not see the front of the boat from the back so we were not going anywhere. As we were waiting for the fog to lift the forward head decided to stop working, so the time was put to good use as Steve fixed the head. It takes till 10:30 for the fog to finally lift BUT Steve was still working on the head. By noon the head is working again so we clean up and put everything back into the forward storage area (where Steve had to go to fix the head) and by 1 we are headed back to Panama City Marina so Steve can make a quick post office run. The nice lady from the marina lets Steve use her truck to go to the post office where he gets the SS radio part mailed off. By 2 pm we are sailing out the bay towards the gulf. The land breeze does not last long so sails rolled back up and beating into small 1-2 foot waves with the light wind on our nose. We are on our way to Clearwater BUT are in no hurry now as due to our late departure we need a slow passage, so we do not get there in the night, as we will not go into an unfamiliar channel at night. Another beautiful afternoon and evening on the water. At 4 pm we start the 2 hours on / 4 off rotation watch schedule. At night with the stars out, before the moon rises, our wake is causing a phosphorescent glow off the stern of the boat. It is almost hypnotizing watching the "glowing" water - it looks like white does under a black light. A dolphin splash near by leaves a glowing halo. It is such a beautiful sight. Later the moon shine lights our way but there is very little to see, nothing in every direction just water sky stars & moon very peaceful. Saturday morning sun coming up to another beautiful day - we sure have lucked out with the weather so far, just the one morning of fog, the winds could have been a little stronger & at a different angle at times . But all in all a great crossing. By 11 AM we alter course a little to be able to sail and turn the motor off. The quiet sounds SO wonderful. We literally have time to kill as we do not want to get to Clearwater before daybreak Sunday morning. At 5 PM we are back on course, nice slow motor sailing, able to have a nice dinner on board with the calm seas. We arive at the Clearwater channel entrance just at daybreak and watch the sunrise as we come in the channel Easter Sunday morning. As we come in we hear 24 Karat calling the marina, and think wow, there's another boat with that name. As we back into the slip, docked in the slip right next to us IS 24 Karat. They bought the boat from the Pleasants in Kemah about a month ago, and have been traveling the ICW down to Clearwater since then. Talk about a small world. We get docked and crew Carl Hallock treats us to a farewell breakfast, as his sister Sandy will be coming to pick him up this morning. Carl will remain in the Tampa area outfitting his sail boat for his own future crusing plans. Sunday afternoon is spent cleaning the boat and doing laundry. HOPE to be able to put our thermals & warm clothes away!! Weather is getting much warmer now and we should not have to do any more overnight passages. We get in touch with Steve's sister Shiela who is down at Anna Maria Island on vacation from Chicago with her family & make arraingments for them to come up Monday to visit & go for a day sail. Sunday evening we walk down to the beach & out onto Pier 60 to watch the sunset. A lot of people still in the water !! Water & air temp. still way too cold for me. Walk down & find a nice place for dinner at Clearwater Beach side cafe. It is spring break so most places are packed, but not too long of a wait. Walk back home to the boat at the end of another wonderful day.

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