Last year my lovely wife and I took our dog to the Bonita Beach Dog Beach. This year we sailed down the coast in an attempt to find the same place by water.
All along the beach we saw numerous parasails.
We put in at the Sanibel Causeway Boat Ramp, which is about 12 miles north of Bonita. The weatherman had promised a 15 knot north wind for the day. The weatherman lied. Instead of a nice quick trip down the coast, we experienced light, changeable, and variable winds for most of the day. The wind even died completely, leaving us to bob around in the waves. Had the wind been more favorable, we’d have been at the pass well before dark.
As it was we didn’t get down to the pass until after dark, and low tide. Had we known exactly where we were going, we could have navigated the pass. The darkness and lack of water defeated us. After grounding three times in a row, I gave up and threw out the anchor. Soon there was just enough water to float us off the bottom, but I had given up for the night.
In the morning it was very clear where we had gone wrong. There are two very long sandbars on each side of the pass. At low tide good sections of them are exposed. My boat has a shallow draft, but it doesn’t have wheels. We were within 200 yards of the pass, but lacked the water to get there. The tide was only about half way in before we were able to motor through the pass.
We found the dog beach to be much cleaner than in the previous year. There’s a strong local effort to keep it clean that payed off. Doggie waste bags and disposable containers are now available.
It was easy to anchor right off the beach and wade it. We had such a good time there that we spend the whole day. There were small craft advisories out in the gulf, but we were protected well enough and decided to spend the night right where we were.
After and early lunch the next day we sailed back north. Once again the weather forecast was wrong, but this time in our favor. Instead of light winds from the north, we experienced moderate winds from the Southwest. After tacking out the narrow channel, we had a straight shot up the coast. The sun was out, the wind was right. All in all, it was a fine sailing day.
One the things I like to do is see how close we can get to where we are going without using the motor. With a bit of fancy sail handling from my wife, we were able to sail right up to the boat ramp. Had we no functional motor, we could have pulled the boat along the docks to the ramp. As it was I used it for a hundred yards so we could quickly get the boat clear from a very busy ramp.
It was a great little 3 day trip -probably our last for the season in Florida. We are meeting with friends in St. Augustine on the way north. They don’t sail, so my wife and I will be staying in a campground this time.
I’m told the ice is breaking up off the lake back home. That’s almost three weeks earlier than normal. We we get home, it should be possible to launch the boat right off and do some lake sailing.
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