The Long and Winding Road

January 6

Arrived in St. Pete on Friday with a departure planned for Saturday. Winds and seas had a different plan. All of the forecasts said stay in port. Dave and I were discussing approaching our hosts, Mike and Leann to request an additional night of lodging when Mike shows up at the boat and makes that suggestion. Great news. Dave and I walked a mile to a Enterprise renta car and our choices were a truck, a bigger truck and a Mustang ragtop. Chose the convertible. Due to the wind and the temps in the area we had the top down for about 20 minutes, swallowed our pride and put the top back up.

We went to the West Marine store to look for a new lens for my anchor light which fell off when I bumped it while covering the dinghy. Didn’t float. No success, but one of the clerks at the store recommended a place called Don’s Marine Salvage. That place was probably 10 acres of all manner of marine stuff.

They even had goats.

After a few hours browsing this marine graveyard we went downtown to the water and had lunch at a restaurant that was right on the water. Located next to the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. We tried to get in there but since neither of us were wearing our ascots, no luck. Check out this 40′ Sea Ray. See the piling in the left side of the photo? See the concrete sea wall in front of the boat. How the hell…

Coupla shots of downtown St. Pete and the marina.

Woke up at 6:30 (still dark) to prepare for the long journey ahead today. I must interject at this point. As gracious as Mike and Leann were in allowing us to stay 2 nights at their dock providing us with electricity and water I must say I was a wee bit dissapointed. Upon rising from our slumber yesterday morning there were no fresh fruit and croissants nor any espresso to be seen. Not only that, hell they didn’t even place chocolates on our pillows prior to retiring for the night! I posted this info on the AGLCA forum last night (with tongue in cheek) and VOILA, first thing this morning they showed up at the boat with chocolate lobsters!

I’ll make proper concierge’s of them yet!

Underway for 30 minutes when the sun peaks over the horizon.

Look at how narrow the channel is in these photo’s.

This sign says DANGER shallow water. DUH!

Coupla shots of the Tampa Bay bridge

Learned something new today. In a much earlier post I explained channel markers. If returning from the sea the red marker is on the right side of the channel and the green is on the left. When traveling on the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) the green is always on the right and the red is always on the left. But if there were a channel leaving the ICW with red and green markers how would one know if he/she were still on the ICW? See the little square above the number “57”? That square tells us we are on the ICW. It is absent on all other markers. Thanks Captain Dave for that important tidbit of info. Can’t make a good pot of coffee but he’s good to have around.

Passing Sarasota…

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Great video of a draw bridge:

Larry and Marney, forget about the house on the Tennessee River, BUY THIS ONE!!!

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Small flotilla of boats follwing us between bridge openings…

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This is Wine Speed. He is a Gold Looper in that he bought fuel TWICE to do the Loop.

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What a great looking little tug boat, right?

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Okay, there are courteous boat captains and then there are  SOME Sea Ray captains that simply think they are the only ones on the water. Saw this 40+ footer approaching us at a high rate of speed throwing a HUGE wake (waves). The proper thing to do in this instance is to slow down to a minimal wake speed so you don’t knock the hell out of other boats in your immediate vicinity. Not this guy. He comes on full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes.

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This guy obviously has a large boat and a small…

In earlier posts I had commented on how shallow the water is in SW Florida.

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Look at the photo below. Do you see the bridge? Neither did we. Until we got a bit closer.

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This swing bridge blended in with the backround so well that we were within 200 yards before we saw it.

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The operator must walk out to the middle of the bridge to operate it. That’s fine on a pretty day like this but not so much on nasty weather days.

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Saw these signs all day and decided to run in open water so we could make better time. Also burn a helluva lot of fuel!

When we passed Siesta Key my friend and all around fantastic guy from our church, Steve Minsterketter came out with some buddies to greet us.

Steve is easy to spot. Bony legs.

There is a little island at the inlet to Venice Beach. Great party spot.

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This is where we entered the Gulf of Mexico.

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Wide open seas.

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When we got into open water the wind and wave action was on our stern. When we run fast the boat travels about 18 miles per hour on flat seas. What we experienced was very interesting and I had not encountered this before. We were running faster than the waves so we would climb over the top and then run down the other side of the wave. When we would “climb” a wave, swell is a better term, we would slow down to about 15 MPH. On the “down”side of the wave we would speed up to 20MPH!

This is the tip of Boca Grande and the entrance to Charlotte Harbor. Almost home!

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See those little bumps in the photo? They are the tower condo’s in Burnt Store Marina. Striking distance!

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This is the Burnt Store Webcam as Whisky Business finally, after 5 months, 2400 miles and I don’t want to know how many gallons of fuel arrives.

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Our arrival at our dock…

This video needs a little explanation. The dock that runs along side our slip is rather short. I would have prefered to pull bow in so while sitting on the aft deck we would have had a better view of the marina. As you can see a number of our friends showed up to greet us. When I determined I would have to back the boat into the slip it occured to me that I really did not want an audience for this. Fortunately all of the pilings are still in place and there are no new scratches on the boat.

Great shot of Whisky Business heading for the north basin of the marina.

These are the great folks who came out to greet us on our arrival. L to R: Betty Netherton, Linda McDonnell, one handsome bastard, Christine Kuchma, Rhonda Begin behind her and Trish Murray. There may have been others in the photo but they are not as entertaining to behold as this fine bevy of lovely ladies.

What’s next for Whisky Business and crew? On the 10th of this month I am taking the boat to River Forest boat yard for a haul out and bottom painting. After that we have plans to take the boat to Marathon Key for a few days with Bob and Pam Shircliff and a few other boats. Beyond that? A whole bunch of cleaning, washing, waxing… it never ends.

A great big shout out to my great friend Dave Heilman and my favorite big brother (he’s my only brother) Jim Rogers. They weren’t the able bodied crew Debbie is but their assistance sufficed. I could not have done ANY of this without Debbie. Thanks babe, for letting me follow this dream. I miss you terribly. Getcherass to Burnt Store soon!

Future posts will be infrequent at best until we start the next stage of our Great Loop Adventure in April when we head to the Bahama’s

See ya then!

One thought on “The Long and Winding Road”

  1. Looks like a great trip.

    Our 900 mile trip down the Mississippi, the navigable channel was the same width, but add barges, current and turns!

    We all know that home port for the intercoastal waterway is Corpus Christi, TX, right?

    Like

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