We left Clearwater Bay headed for Venice, FL this morning. Everything seemed great. The east wind was propelling us out of the Bay and we planned on turning slightly SE and heading down the coast. Funny thing about this East wind, it seemed to be a little SSE. By the time we factored our drift, perceived wind angle, and comfort factor we could only head due south. If you know much about the west coast of Florida you will know that due south doesn't end up in the US. Well you could happen to hit the Dry Tortugas but if you miss you are slightly west of Havana Cuba.
Sunset, sunrise, sunset
So we spent the next 36 hours banging our head against the wall. First with the due south heading we were farther offshore than I wanted when we passed Tampa Bay and Egmont Channel. We could have entered the bay and anchored at the spot I did last year but we chose to keep heading down the disappearing coast. Disappearing since the longer we sailed the farther from shore we got. As we passed not to near Egmont the wind died. Two knots of wind is all we could get no mater how many wind dances or sacrifices to Poseidon we made. Back to decisions, motor in 15+ miles to the anchorage and 15 miles back in the morning? Anchor at Edmont with an east wind (motor about 10 miles)? or just heave to and try to set up the drift for as close to 140 degrees as we could. We chose the 3rd option. When we awoke in the morning (tired from hourly checks) we had drifted a good 10miles due south. With the still not so E east wind this made a tack in the slightly north direction to make it back to the coast and catch Venice.
Last year on the run up the coast I stayed at Fisherman's Warf and the Marker 4 restaurant with some very nice people I had cruised up the intercoastal with. The dock was awesome, floating concrete, connections for water power and a hope for WIFI. Each slip with it's own locking fiberglass dock box for extended stays. Over night dockage of only $1.50 a foot for south west coast of Florida was acceptable too. Now here is the catch... Last year the storm that put high winds blowing across Sunshine Parkway was a motivator to stay at a dock or I would have just anchored somewhere near Tampa Bay. This made the safety factor of staying at a dock without permits and no electricity, water or WIFI all acceptable. Besides I make my own electricity. Other than having to wait on Richard the manager to finally show up all was acceptable and this has great access and will be a great stop to resupply. Of course the water front restaurant was priced like a waterfront restaurant but you could expect that. There are also other restaurants and groceries nearby.
After taking a mostly ENE tack for a couple hours and getting closer to shore... the wind died. So here we were 20 miles from Venice inlet with barely enough wind to fill a spinnaker wanting to run close hauled. After about an hour of hopes and dreams we gave up and fired up the Mercury, yes no idle again but she runs. In just a little over 3 hours we made the channel and for the first time we saw life, I mean fishing life! there were hundreds of fishermen on the jetties! Actually people boating! seriously life. There seems to have been a complete void of other people for so long that until we were surrounded by so many that we haven't noticed.
The entry into Fisherman's Warf is easy just perpendicular to the intercoastal and much better protected than at Crow's nest. The expectation of a good nights sleep, food and fresh groceries was our anticipation.
Gemini Dreams tied up in the nice floating docks...but...
Here is the reality...
The damn permits are still not signed, so there is no water on the dock unless you have enough hose on board to tap into the one hose running part way down the dock from land with a couple of "Y" adapters already in use by other boaters. There are only 50 service boxes no 30 amp not even on the smaller slips! So unless you have a 50-30 amp adapter on board you are screwed for power. Also there is no WIFI on the dock. Richard was AWOL again and at first this heavy set blonde lady was just plain rude. Finally she took our money and gave us the shower code and was only somewhat rude. When asked about a power adapter she went back to being rude full time. When asked about WIFI she said if you sit out side on that table you may get some. This year they also wanted 2 bucks for ice that was complementary last year. Finally we just gave up with her! The next morning we were topping off our ice and finally saw Richard. I shared how we felt about the blonde (his wife as we know now) and the fact that they raised the price from $1.50 to $2.00 and have still not "opened" for business! He just smiled and didn't care. At least he smiled while not giving a damn. So we will not be returning to Fisherman's Warf! or the City of Venice due to the so called Water Nazis that others keep posting about hassling the cruisers. And to top it all off they have NO GAS still so we had to go to Crow's Nest on our way out anyway!
A baby Redfish
The plus side. We met a couple on a small sailboat that gave Tin some shrimp to fish with. They were helping keep the marina clean and were very nice. We offered them some of the fish Tin caught while on the Awesome Dock with no conveniences.