Thursday, 12 January 2017

DAY 63 - CARRABELLE TO CLEARWATER (186 mi.)




Wednesday, January 11, 2017 ~ I was up at 5:15 am to get ready.  This is our day to cross the Gulf of Mexico to Clearwater.  We disconnected the power and the lines at 6:45 am.  As we leave the marina Conductance is right behind us.  The channel is long and narrow and slow going.  By the time we are through the sun is rising in the horizon.  Since the winds are from the SSE the biggest waves will be as soon as we are heading into the East Pass just south of Dog Island.  We are going about 17 knots and still crashing every 5 - 7 waves.  At 30 miles south of Carrablle, 9:10 am after I come up from the galley, the boat rocks just as I am about to sit and I fall.  I hurt a rib but that is all.  Three minutes later both engines stop!  HMMMM!  We are stumped.  We call in a Pan Pan to the Coast Guard.  It will take 2.5 hours for the towboat to get to us.  We tell Conductance to keep going.  We are fine but put on our life jackets just for safety.  The boat is not moving much and the waves are not too bad.  As we sit and wait, I am brainstorming.  At 11:15 am I have Frans check the DC breakers underneath the stairs and sure enough when I fell I touched the EMERGENCY STOP/STOP toggle.  The ignition breakers had tripped.  Frans corrects them and both engines start right up.  It is 11:38 am and we still have one hundred and thirty miles to go.  For the next thirty miles the gulf is just so-so, but then it flattens right out.  We are now doing 20 - 25 miles per hour with our ETA about 5:30 pm into Clearwater which means it will still be light.  At 3:00 pm I spot a boat ahead of us.  At 4:00 pm Conductance calls us on the radio wondering if it is us behind them.  We caught up.  Finally we are only 12 miles from the entrance, but now we have to start watching out for crab pots.  All you can see in the water is a floating ball which is attached to a chain which is attached to a metal container which collects the crabs.  I am relieved once we call the marina and slip into our dock.  On the bright side, we had a beautiful sunny day, I spotted a lot of dolphins, the Gulf of Mexico waters were more than great and we got in safe and sound.  
Sunrise at the East Pass into the Gulf of Mexico

Look at how calm the Gulf of Mexico is!

A tour boat just leaving the Clearwater Channel

Sunset from our dock in Clearwater Harbour Marina





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