Monday, March 21, 2016

Off in a cloud of dust - sort of!

March 21, 2016

Our plan was to leave Regatta Pointe on Monday March 14, spend the night at "Hulk Harbor" and take off early Tuesday morning.  Taking our pick up truck to storage took a little longer than planned as did a few other errands and the winds were blowing over 20 knots out of the south making departing and anchoring out seem a little less appealing.  So we stayed one more night at the marina and headed out at 9:00am the next morning.

Our last C dock party.

Farewell C dock friends - we'll miss you!


Farewell Regatta Pointe Marina - we'll miss you too!

An hour later things started getting foggy and by the time we arrived at Tampa Bay the fog was as thick as pea soup! Even the Sunshine Bridge had been closed to all traffic due to fog. Channel markers were virtually invisible until we were right upon them.  We debated turning back but decided that out in the Gulf it might get better, but even if not, there would be very little boat traffic.  There is normally very little anyhow. So onward we went.  We had planned to stop overnight at Venice, (FL) but they were totally socked in also and since we had never been there, the safest and most reasonable option to us was to sail overnight and arrive at Ft. Myers in the morning where clear skies were predicted.

The picture does not do the claustrophobic fog justice

 It was a long and uncomfortable night.  Our electronics including radar worked fine, the engine with assist from the mainsail kept us at 5 knots plus or minus, but we were uneasy.  The waves were 3 to 5 feet on the beam - perfect for an unpleasant rolling motion.  It ended up taking us 24 hours and we saw only one other boat the whole time.  It was not the most auspicious beginning to our travels, but as someone pointed out, it is all part of the adventure.  Really??

The dawn of a new day as we arrived at Ft. Myers

We did learn some things for future use:

Food. I prepare food for longer trips and keep it in the cockpit so that I do not have to go below.  Not having planned on sailing all night I didn't have enough "real" food. Snacks, yes, but meals no. 

Fog. For us at least fog is a perfect environment for getting seasick. (not to mention the rolling motion)  Apparently without an horizon it is hard for the eyes and ears to sort things out. So we both were queasy - most unusual for Jim, not so much for me.  I wore the wrist bands and finally took Bonine.  That seemed to work except I felt awful the whole next day - not sure if I can blame Bonine for that.  

Sleep.  We have not done a lot of overnight trips, but when we have, we take shifts - not as rigid as some but enough so that we each get sleep.  We usually stay in the cockpit, but this trip neither of us slept well there. I tried going below and I slept a little better, but I think we were too much on "alert" for what lurked beyond the fog bank. 

Entertainment. Somehow it never occurred to us that we needed to entertain ourselves.  There were a lot of hours to do nothing other than contemplate the instruments, the fog and our own musings.  

Next time we will be better prepared!

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