Caladesi, Fort De Soto Park's North Beach, Siesta Key - can be found on Dr Beach's top 10 list of the best beaches in the U.S. I really hope and pray that the BP Oil spill will not cause too much damage to the beautiful Florida coastline. Not only Florida’s economy relies on it for tourism and fishing, many shore birds and sea creatures also call it home. What is going to happen to the fisherman’s livelihood and my favorite Appalachicola oysters?
Around this time in 2006, we were cruising the gulf coast of Florida. We were heading up the inland waterway to somewhere in the deep south - Mississippi, Alabama or Tennessee - anywhere to hide from the hurricane.
Caladesi State Park , we moved to Anclote Key (near Tarpon Springs). Here, we waited five days for a good weather window to do an overnight gulf crossing to Dog Island near Carrabelle.
Gulf Crossing, May 15-20, 2006
The next five days found us at Anclote Keys, waiting for a good weather window to cross the big bend to Carrabelle. This is a good 140 miles of open waters in the Gulf of Mexico, so we planned on an overnight trip. It would take Mai Thai about 20 hours traveling at 7 knots. This would be our first experience traveling solo on an overnight passage. On Saturday, May 20, we made the leapt. Half hour into the gulf, forecast of 10 knots wind from the West and 2 foot waves felt more like 10-15 knots wind and 2-4 foot waves. It was uncomfortable, and after several hours, monotonous. Had it not been a pair of dolphins that came to play in our bow wake on two separate occasions, we would have been totally bored. We kept hoping when we get to the latitude of the Suwanee River (weather forecast for that area was better), the sea would be smoother. After the sun set, it actually got worse. Now Mai Thai is being tossed around rolling waves of 3-5 feet. with a bow spray every six or seven wave.
As we came in to the sound, we found we were not alone. A shrimp boat was already at work. By the time our anchor was set in protected Dog Island, it was 4 in the morning. We took showers to wash off the salt, ate chicken soup and hit the sack. We awoke to a beautiful morning, our anchorage facing a long narrow strip of beach with a few simple beach houses on stilts. What a view! We thank our lucky stars to have made the crossing without incident. After lunch, we pumped up our dinghy and went to the beach to see what treasures were in store for us.
|View of Dog Island, Carrabelle, Florida|
|Cruising the gulf coast of Florida: Dog Island to Apalachicola||Memorial Day weekend at Fort McRae Anchorage||Remnants of Hurricane Ida drench the Mid-Atlantic|