Tuesday 8/12: Long Boat Key to Pelican Bay
We awoke just before eight. After a quick check of the weather, we decided to weigh anchor and head out into the gulf to make our way to Pelican Bay. In my admittedly small number of coastal passages, I have found passageweather.com to be a wonderful aid in planning trips. According to Passage Weather, we could expect 5-10 knot breezes out of the southwest, and 1-2 foot waves from the west. With this information in hand, we decided to venture out into the gulf instead of staying inside the ICW. The gulf makes for a much more relaxing day underway for me, as I don’t have to constantly be paying attention to the chart plotter, day markers, and depth meter. Those things make for a level of stress which is missing when out in the gulf. Once in the gulf, we set our course and turn on the autopilot for the most part.
We decided to exit the ICW through Longboat Key pass. We had never entered or exited through this channel before, so we were somewhat apprehensive. The bridge is a bascule bridge which has only 45 feet of horizontal clearance. Our 25 foot beam made this passage a little more challenging. We would also meet with another challenge just before we hit the deep 25-30 foot water of the gulf. I could see a sand bar in front of us which was not marked on the chart. What to do? It was low tide, but I decided to proceed ahead with caution anyway. Beatitude gently kissed the sandy bottom a few times as the waves lifted us up and let us down while the depth meter read 3 1/2 feet. But seconds, later we were successfully past the bar and into the gulf.
Nine hours after weighing anchor we dropped anchor again in Pelican Bay off Cayo Costa State Park. Our ship’s log totaled 59.48 nautical miles (68.4 statute miles). We averaged around seven knots motor sailing through the gulf. The winds remained light, reaching no higher than about 11-12 knots and most of the time in the 7-8 knot range. The wind and waves came from the direction of our starboard bow the entire day. Passageweather was reliable once again. I handled the gulf passage well, but Cindy felt a little nauseated throughout the morning. Finally, around 2:20 in the afternoon she “lost her cookies” over the starboard aft quarter. After a quick nap, she was ready to go again.
Our entry into Pelican bay was uneventful. We dropped anchor in 5.5 ft of water around 5:30 p.m.. We put a few things away and Cindy began preparing a delicious cheesy chicken pot pie for dinner. Shortly thereafter the bugs came out en masse and we retreated into the cozy confines of our salon to watch “Bucket List” while we live out ours.