Monday, March 5, 2012
North Anclote Bar
Three times I’ve sailed past this bit of land, and each time had to pass it by. It was either too dark or too windy. Finally, we arrived early enough to approach the island. Winds were from the south and mostly blocked by Anclote Key.
The beautiful thing about North Anclote Bar is that it doesn’t exist. On the navigation charts, it’s listed as shoaling -not an actual island. On the main key, there are rules. Dogs are not allowed. The state has rules about what goes on there. Locals tell me that the Bar appeared after a major storm one year. Apparently, the state hasn’t gotten around to acknowledging it. That’s the nature of things in Florida. Land appears and disappears after each major storm.
We approached it Thursday afternoon. On the east side of the island, the water was blue. On the west, it was bright green. We anchored close to shore and waded it. It’s a good place to swim and a terrific place to beach comb. Sea birds love this little bit of land. My lovely wife loved it as much as the sea birds.
Locals seem to be the main visitors. A little local knowledge helps getting in and out of the island. Don’t try this with a deep draft vessel. I made the mistake of anchoring on top of a narrow sandbar that dried out later that night. Twenty feet either way, and I’d have had plenty of water. We were grounded for a short while. I knew we were close to shore, but wanted to hug the island to stay out of the wind. Judged it a bit close. There was no harm done. As soon as a bit more water came in, I moved the anchor out slightly deeper.
It was a great place to stop -last bit of land before we crossed the open Gulf of Mexico. When we bought a sailboat, this is the sort of thing I imagined doing with it.