We are Cruising!

Finally we are CRUISING! We left St Petersburg on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning and headed out into Tampa Bay. Even more exciting, we were actually able to use the sails – just. We had spent most of last year running the engines due to lack of wind, so it was great to be able to sail. Only 10-15 knots of wind but in the right direction for a change. We sailed under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and out towards the Gulf of Mexico. We then joined the Intra Coastal Waterway system at Anna Maria Island and followed the channel down to Long Boat Key where we moored in a small bay very close to a great seafood restaurant called Moore’s, a favourite of many cruisers. We made good time and found a pretty good anchorage. However being Saturday the bay was fairly crowded. It was lovely to sit up front in the warm sunshine and enjoy the peace, watch the boats go by and of course have a nice sundowner. For the first time this year, we were able to eat our dinner outside. Oh how things can change in a few hours! Around midnight we were woken by the wind picking up. We got up to take a look, and found we were getting pretty close to the guy next to us. He was up on deck also so we started the engines and moved forward, unfortunately loosening the grip on the anchor. A rather large gust of wind hit us and pushed us right back into our neighbour! Fortunately there was only minor cosmetic damage to either of us but very unnerving to say the least. We then had to pull the anchor in and here we were at 1.00am circling around dodging boats and crab pots, trying to find a secure anchorage! Thank goodness it was nearly a full moon. I don’t think either of us slept that night! There was a group of five boats rafted together and they broke loose and skidded across the bay. If it wasn’t so serious, it would have been quite amusing to see a line of boats gliding along together, all lit up. Fortunately no harm came to anyone. Sunday morning dawned calm but overcast then the next front came in and we had thunder and lightning and incredibly heavy rain. Around 6.00pm just when I was serving an early dinner the wind got up and blew like crazy for a couple of hours. Everyone was out on the back of their boats just watching to see if anyone was dragging and waiting out the weather. We held fast and by 8.00pm it was all over. Before we knew it the sea was calm and virtually no wind. Today, Monday, we have a strong Northerly which has brought the temperatures down a bit, but at least the sun is trying to shine. Oh when will spring finally arrive??
One of our neighbours came over in their dinghy this morning to introduce themselves and brought me some daffodils, how nice was that? So I guess spring is somewhere. They are coming back later this afternoon for a drink. In the short time we spoke this morning we discovered they know Rob and Margaret from the Bay of Islands, in New Zealand, Gail Davies brother-in-law and his wife. How small is this world?

Kayaking on Big Bayo, St Petersburg

The Calm before the Storm! Anna Maria Island

Moores Stone Crab Restaurant, Anna Maria Island

Moores, taken from our boat.

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One Response to “We are Cruising!”

  1. Shane, Janet, Emma and Ben Says:

    Hi Guys,

    It great that you are finally away and getting some decent (if a little unsettled) weather. We are all well and I’m looking forward to heading back to Auckland for Easter.

    Take Care.

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