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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Cayo Costa anchorage...3/30

I woke up this morning to sheets flapping in the wind.  The last three days had been mild winds and I had to motor sail most of the last two days.  The wind was already around 20 knots and the waves at the coast were 3 feet soon to be 4 by the time I could pull the anchor.  I decided to go around the island and wait out the day touring the state park, Cayo Costa.  The course would require going two miles off shore to clear the shoals at Boca Grande channel before rounding the island.

While checking the charts to verify the entrance and route, I ran across a crab pot and stalled the motor.  The float was cut off right away but the line and the crab box with 10 pounds of concrete were still attached to the prop.  I tried to pull up the line with the boat hook, no luck...with the gaff, no luck.  The seas were now 4-6ft and the winds around 30 knots.  I had no motor, the sails were reefed and a "sea anchor" was attached to the stern.  Worst case would be the waves would break over the stern faster than I could clear the cockpit, the outboard would be submerged, or possibly worse (shh don't even say it).  With 6 foot seas I made the decision to take Boo Boo Tin Tin (my dinghy) out with a tether and myself clipped in too.  I used the gaff to pull the line up out behind the boat and cut it free.  It was a good choice to stay tethered because when the line was cut Gemini Dreams took off in the 30 plus winds dragging Boo Boo Tin Tin behind.  I could not even get near the prop to try and untangle the line.  My only choice was to get back on board and sail to safety.  Getting on board proved to be more challenging than I expected.  I could not pull the dinghy up near the rail and it kept turning sideways to Gemini Dreams.  Finally I had to make a "jump" when I was close enough to get two hands on rails.

Once on board I had to navigate the channel and then enter the anchorage by sail only, UP WIND!  After 4-5 tacks I was close enough to the anchorage to see I could not enter on the tack, I COULD ONLY ENTER DUE NORTH!  The wind was from DUE SOUTH! I had no motor so I conceded and tossed over the anchor outside the anchorage.  The seas in the bay were now almost as bad as in the gulf an hour before.  Back into the dinghy and both hands shoulder deep trying not to get hammered by the motor on the way up and down the waves.  Turning the prop with one hand and pulling the rope with the other I finally had the line free!  Back on Gemini Dreams I was so relieved when the motor started!

Now the decision of trying to make it across the bay and into the inter-coastal for safety or riding it out on the Cayo Costa anchorage.   First I started to get out of the bay but after the first 1/4 mile I made the decision to ride it out at Cayo Costa.  Motoring into the anchorage was a wet ride with waves crashing across the bow and spray all the way back past the cockpit.  Once anchored and rested and finally, I rowed in for ice cream, sodas, and ice (I wanted a margarita!).  As the day continued the wind died down and I had my margarita from the hammock as I fished the sunset!  I caught the first catfish and trout of the trip and something kept eating my plastic Terror Eyes, bitting them in half!

Just another day in paradise, Learning to sail!

That line now adorns the bow of Gemini Dreams as a warning to other crab pots!

1 comment:

  1. wow! quite an adventure! glad you are ok!
    You tell those crab pots who is boss!!!