Swing Set

Oct 12, 201204:50 PM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Tampa Bay to Longboat Key

Rosie met Lorraine at 7 a.m. on Tuesday morning for her trip to the clinic, where Lorraine is the medical director. She couldn't resist a tear or two as she placed Holly in a travel crate marked "animal rescue." No telling what was going through Holly's mind. Lorraine said she barked for a couple of blocks and then she was quiet for the rest of the day.

For my part, I mixed up the mold eliminator that I had bought at Home Depot and brushed it on the dinghy according to the directions. I let it set for the directed three hours, and during this time I could tell it was going to work. I rinsed it off with the hose at the required time, and all the mold spots had disappeared!

Rosie and I had lunch and then took a dinghy ride around the "neighborhood," a series of canals just east of the Apollo Beach Harbor. It was sad to see how many of the homes were in disrepair, but some of them were kept up and very nice. The layout of the neighborhood is basically a subdivision with a canal in back instead of alleys. I decided long ago that I was not "subdivision material," the type that would not take too well to a neighbor who lets their property go to ruin. It has since been determined over the years that I am also not "condo material." I guess this is why we live on a boat. If we don't like the neighborhood, we pull up anchor and git.

The much anticipated call from Lorraine came, and she said Holly was doing fine. She had three puppy teeth that had to be pulled, which is what we figured. At 7 p.m.,  Lorraine returned with our buddy, a little out of sorts, but all in one piece. During her initial examination, Lorraine found out that Holly has "trick knees" on her hind legs. What that means is they become "dislocated" very easily, but will pop back in place on their own. We suspected some issue with her legs, as twice she has yelped and then favored a hind leg. We figured she was just being a baby, but now we know. We'll have to keep an eye on her and see how much of a problem this is going to be. I suspect it won't be much of one due to the fact that we hardly let her on the ground anyway, carrying her wherever she goes.

On Wednesday morning, I removed the remainder of the hardware for our old Weaver davit. The stand-off rods laid on top of the transom, and we had stopped using them on our current setup because they weren't effective. I had eight 1/8" holes to patch, so I mixed up some gelcoat and applied it after filling the holes with some pop rivets. I only put the rivets in halfway and then cut the heads off with my dremel tool. Then, I tapped them in so they were just below the surface, plus provided a good hold for the patch. The directions say you can sand the repair within an hour, but I decided to let it set until the next day.

On Wednesday night, we were invited to a surprise birthday party at a local Japanese restaurant. We had met John and Mary Jane back in 1989 at a resort in Florida, and they had introduced us to Doug and Jeanne, along with Ed and Peggy Wingo way back then. It was Mary Jane's birthday, and the whole gang who moved down from Ohio over the years showed up. We knew most of them. Doug and Jeanne picked us up in their motorhome, along with several others in the group, and we all arrived at the same time in style.

Here we are with Ed and Peggy. They are the couple we met back up in Tarpon Springs after they drove over from their home in Land O' Lakes. There were 14 of us at the restaurant, meaning we had to sit at two different tables, which we didn't like, but outside of sitting on the floor, we had no option. After dinner, we said our goodbyes after promising to meet Ed and Peggy later in Fort Meyers for Ed's birthday in December. This is doable. Doug and Jeanne visit Fort Meyers, too, plus go to Key West occasionally, so we know we'll see them all down the road.

Jeanne tried to entice us to stay for the weekend, but the weather report was predicting some wind coming in from the north, which would increase the waves in Tampa Bay to an uncomfortable height, so we had already decided to leave Apollo Beach on Thursday morning.

I wanted to leave at high tide because the entrance to Apollo Beach Harbor was a bit skinny at low tide, so I had time to sand and buff my gelcoat repair Thursday morning before we left. By 10 a.m., we were headed down the bay.

Here's the dinghy all trussed up for the ride, looking shiny and new. At the bottom of the photo, you can see the top of the transom with the stand-off rods removed. My repair is going to need some touch up, but it looks good in the photo. I have the rods if anyone needs them, free.

 

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!

Add your comment:
Bookmark and Share Email this page Email Print this page Print Feed Feed