We left Calidesi Island after three nights. Low on gas, we sailed down the channel a couple miles to a city marina. The guidebook said gas was “available.” Funny word that, “available.” A nice local Coast Guard Auxiliary explained it to us. It meant hauling your gas cans a few blocks down the road to a regular gas station. While not exactly pumps on the water, it wasn't too bad.
Once again, the wind was against us. We tacked as much as we could, but the channel got too narrow to maneuver in. The only thing left to do was to fire up the iron sail and motor to our next stop.
To get out of the contrary wind, we sailed up the Anclote River and stayed at the first marina we came to. We were just in time for dinner at Vicky's on the River. It's behind my lovely wife on the left.
On the right you'll see racks of boats in storage. I'd never seen this sort of operation close up before. When someone wants to take their boat out on the water, a huge forklift picks it out of the rack and launches it. The operation is pretty fast and efficient.
Dinner was pretty decent -as far as funky burger, beer, and seafood places go. Live entertainment started just as dinner was served. Good times.
The next day the wind was against us once more. We spent the whole day sailing against the wind in 2 – 4 foot seas. As the day wore on, we decided to start the motor once more. My dad was supposed to meet us at the boat ramp and I wanted to get there before it got too dark.
That was the plan, anyway. Things worked out a bit different. In my defense, I must say I'm not all that experienced with outboards. I can do basic maintenance, start and run them. However, with this sailboat I've used the motor as little as possible. On my way south, I tried to figure out how many miles I could travel with the gas on board. To be safe, I took my figures for gas usage on our southbound trip and added a 30% safety factor. Should have been 40%. Pounding into the wind, with a bit of current and tide against me, the gas fell a wee bit short. The motor sputtered dry halfway down the channel. My lovely wife was very unimpressed.
By then it was dark, the channel markers hard to find, the tide going out, and the wind uncooperative. Fortunately, a passing fishing boat gave us a tow the last 1.5 mile. If they hadn't come by, we could have anchored until conditions improved. We still had a cell phone and two marine radios. There was little real danger, but those fishermen who gave us a tow did much for my marriage.
I offered them money, but they wanted to keep 100% of the good karma. They said the same thing happened to them last year and they are just passing it on. Nice guys. I hope they caught a lot of fish.
Once the boat was loaded up, I treated the crew to an all you can eat Chinese buffet. That hit the spot.
We bit of more than we could chew that last day. I could have changed my pickup spot to one closer. Heck, we could have even stayed in the marina until conditions were more favorable to a northernly sail. From now on I'll pay closer attention to the motor's gas usage. One last thing will be the purchase of a more powerful spotlight. We found the channel markers too far away for the lights we have now.
Even with the little difficulty the last day, I had a marvelous time. Time on the water makes me a happy man.