Swing Set

Oct 12, 201204:50 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Tampa Bay to Longboat Key

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We had the wind at our backs, and with the tide still coming in, we had some rollers to negotiate. I bumped up the throttles enough to stay ahead of the waves, and it wasn't a bad ride. We did have to share the channel with some other vessels (above).

We made a large turn at the mouth of Tampa Bay to check out Passage Key, but as we had expected, there were too many waves for anyone to be on the beach, so we made our turn to the east and endured some beam seas until we got into the shelter of the Intracoastal Waterway at Anna Maria Sound.

We had no plan for an anchorage, as usual, but we had cruised 36 miles and it was mid-afternoon. We checked our Waterway Guide and found an anchorage behind Jewfish Key, which is at the entrance to Longboat Pass, just north of Longboat Key.

There were several boats pulled up to the low tide island, and the water was finally what we have been waiting for, clear enough to see the bottom and check out our running gear. I donned my mask and checked our props for barnacle growth. The props were spotted with gnat-sized bumps that will easily scrub off with a brush. Worse were the piston bodies for the trim tabs. For some reason, the barnacles attached themselves there first. They'll scrub off, too, but I'll need to use the snorkel system for them. More disconcerting is the dime-sized spots on the hull where our bottom paint is flaking off. I'll have more on that later.

I intended to address some of the bottom work right then, but because we were so close to the pass, the tidal current was fairly swift. I'm used to dealing with fast currents but not when I'm underwater, trying to scrub with one hand and holding onto the boat with another. I'll find a calmer spot to clean the bottom; Rome wasn't built in a day.

What concerned me more was the holding power of our anchor. I knew the current would shift several times, and the wind was forecasted to pick up during the night, so I deployed our new stern anchor for piece of mind. I just hope I can retrieve it when we go to leave. At least it's in shallow water clear enough to dive down to.

For the rest of the afternoon, Rosie and I enjoyed the view and listened to the broadcast of the baseball NLDS against the Cardinals and the Nationals. Since I can't get the game on the radio, I signed up on MLB.com and can listen to the local broadcast from St. Louis using our iPhone or iPad. It only costs $3.99 for the year. Mike Shannon was a neighbor back in St. Louis, and we like listening to his broadcast, always did, especially when he was with Jack Buck.

The game didn't have the outcome that we desired, but that means we get to listen again tonight during game five. We had a great dinner of ribeye steaks and salad as the sun set over Longboat Pass. We had a fairly quiet night and the temperatures are dipping into the high 60s at night, making for wonderful sleeping.

This would probably be an interesting place to spend the weekend, but we are just a little too exposed here for my liking; not only for the wind, but for the current. I have it in my mind to get our bottom scrubbed and our waterline cleaned and waxed, so we'll look for a calmer spot to spend the next day or two.

Go Cardinals!

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