Today is the day.
Today we cross from Carrabelle through the Gulf of Mexico over to Tarpon Springs.
At about 4:45 p.m., we take off down the channel.
I would have loved to stay in Carrabelle a little longer but we had to move when the weather window was open.
It’s “Go Time!”
Our excitement was high as we cruised along.
We did pass some familiar sights.
Like Fathoms where we enjoyed live music and seafood last night.
Then out of nowhere was this dreadful sight.
I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.
We have a very long way to go.
So, Sam blasted some motivational music to get us in the mood.
All you could hear when we passed by was “Ride of the Valkyries” from Apocalypse Now.
Wouldn’t you be pumped up after that???
There was very little traffic as we left Carrabelle.
Fishermen coming in from the Gulf.
Fishermen harvesting their crab pots.
And those looper boats going out to tackle the crossing.
Now I love crab.
Don’t get me wrong.
But it seems like there should be more rules around where to place them and what colors they should be.
We saw a few leaving the channel and they are the reason that we have to cross the Gulf slowly so we will have daylight to spot the crab pots hours before reaching Tarpon Springs.
Out in the Gulf
We were really excited to make it out to the Gulf.
The ride was smooth and we were hoping that the entire would be like this.
We came to Dog Island.
Some loopers were going to get to this point earlier in the day and anchor out waiting for their time to cross.
We saw a few houses here.
Looks lovely but lonely.
When you are traveling at night a monumental event is the sunset.
No more daylight to show the way.
Only the Garmin would be there to help us find our way.
See you tomorrow.
How’s that for optimism?
I went to the store before we left and bought chips and cookies and decided that I would treat the crossing like a giant slumber party.
We would eat junk food, tell stories, watch movies and stay up all night long.
I had downloaded some Netflix movies to help pass the time away.
I had also planned to do some cooking and work on some videos.
You know, stuff I like to do.
I had it all planned out.
After we traveled in complete darkness for a couple of hours, the moon rose.
It was a welcome site.
Sam said there would be 97% illumination.
I needed more.
It just seemed so dark.
We started out great and excited to finally be doing the crossing.
But after a few hours, the waves started rocking us around more than a little bit.
So much for cooking.
I never get seasick but I did.
So much for working on videos.
In the pitch black night, Sam suggested that I try to take a nap.
I laid down and the waves tried to roll me right off the bench.
Well, that wasn’t going to work.
So I started watching the movies that I had downloaded and really, that was a lifesaver.
The hours whittled away one movie at a time.
During the bumpy ride, Sam tried turning the boat 30 degrees into the waves but all that did was tumble our two tables, my laptop and me right into the floor.
I was not having a good time.
It was a long, sometimes difficult (for me) ride.
Sam the Super Hero
I don’t know how he did it.
Sam was on adrenaline the entire time.
He drove the entire trip.
I gave him food.
He took a few bathroom breaks but that was it.
He was at the helm.
It’s no wonder that he was a U-2 pilot that had to stay up there over 9 hours.
I saw the determination to see this mission through.
And finally, the sky started to show us the promise of morning.
We need you.
There it is.
And it has never been so beautiful.
We were going to be ok.
Dodging Crab Pots and People
A couple of hours after the sun came up, we started seeing those floating bobbers in the water that mean crab pots are around.
In this area, crab pots are set in a line so when you see one look to the right or left to see the others.
We dodged crab pots for about 3 hours.
It was exhausting.
As we got closer to Tarpon Springs, we started seeing the weekend traffic.
It was Sunday morning and everyone seemed to be out there having a good time.
We were just trying to get to Point Tarpon Marina.
And we finally did around 12: 05 p.m. just after noon.
The Crossing ended up taking us 19 hours.
We took a 2-hour nap and then got up to try to act normal.
When we finally saw the sunset in Tarpon Springs we felt successful.
Point Tarpon Marina
We were going to stay a couple of nights at Point Tarpon Marina but we got a great deal on a weekly stay so we took it.
Plus, we needed some recovery time.
We were worn out!
Also, we found out that we needed to have the raw water pump on the Starboard engine.
And we found a canvas guy to do a project that we wanted done way back in Mobile.
So, we got canvas attached to the sliding doors on the back of the aft cabin.
It certainly keeps the room nice and cool now.
We didn’t have a car but we met Mike and Terri, who have a boat at the marina where we stayed.
Mike took us to Walmart to provision in Tarpon Springs and also, the four of us went eat at Rusty Bellies.
We enjoyed it very much.
Tarpon Springs has a strong Greek influence and their culture is evident.
To get around the area one day we took the Jolley Trolley to Dunedin and Clearwater and then back to Tarpon Springs.
You can ride the trolley all day for $5 (under 65) or $2.50 (over 65).
It’s great deal.
We ate lunch in Clearwater Beach at Frenchy’s.
Check out those Crab Garlic Fries.
We got on and off the trolley when we wanted.
Dunedin was a fun town.
I could have spent all day here.
Looked like Santa had some real estate to sell.
Back in Tarpon Springs, we walked past the Tarpon Springs City Marina.
We didn’t get to stay here because there was no room in the inn.
But we did get to go t Spongeorama!
Tarpon Springs is famous for sponges.
The sponge boats are lined up ready to go out again.
We ended the day with some baklava since we were in Greek country.
Never have I been so anxious for a trip to be over.
The crossing was long and hard but we made it.
And we will certainly never forget it!