Above, sunrise over Apalachicola FL. Where final planning is often done to cross the Gulf of Mexico… Looking at maps like this one.
There are some odd looking looper boats around here.
Pelicans outnumber Herring Gulls!
This guy had a big lunch.
Robert Hayes is a great person! The entrance to his boatyard is pictured above.
I started a [200 hour] oil and filter change on out CAT 3126 today. The “tourniquet” trick I used last time to spin off the filter did not work this time around. I needed the right tool for the job. I called around to the local boat yards, and Robert Hayes (up to his elbows in a different job) not only took my call, he dug out two filter wrenches for me!!! Unbelievable!
Another fellow, who picked me up in a golf cart, said Robert was a great guy. Come to find out the golf cart guy (John Swan) was a land surveyor I wrote some business a few decades ago back in Maine! Amazing! Small world.
Be forewarned, this town is famous for people just passing through who become full time residents. So, y’all be careful.
Where to stay:
We got a slip at Water Street Hotel & Marina. $2+$2 per foot to stay aboard (ouch), if you are good at dickering, we found there is some wiggle room once you are actually tied up and going in to pay, (depending on who is working the desk).
In your negotiations, be sure to mention the advertised 10% Boat US discount. They may do even better than that for ya.
We are close enough to walk to a local (really good food) “hot spot” named Half Shell Dockside! But far enough away to not be bothered by the hooting and hollering that I can hear up on the bridge tonight … while fiddling with the chart plotter route planning for tomorrow.
There are two Loopers anchored out nearby, one whom we’ve met in his dinghy earlier tonight. Anchoring looks like a good option here too, given the tight availability of slips.
The bigger decision is to decide where to start your crossing from, IMO.
Crowdsourcing seems to say “Go to Carrabelle”, adding 20 miles.
Lots seem to want to stay clear of the “government cut”, the much more direct route to Tarpon Springs from here.
My observation is that all the posts saying “Don’t do it!” are ten+ years old! MANY storms and hurricanes ago.
So, I am more likely to go by the latest aerial photography which seems to corroborate the AquaMap USGS bathymetry contours.
We also suspect waiting out there for a local boat to pass will be more efficient than the 20 mile detour.
There are lots of similar places in Great South Bay, Long Island (our home port) where seasonal shoaling would cause lots of buoy re-location changes. Risk management.
We’ll see what we do when the time comes. The tide is [high] in our favor for a mid-day pass tomorrow at this spot for setting us up for our crossing.
Conversely, growing up in Maine w/ 8ft-11ft tides we always said, “If you are gonna go aground, do it at low tide ‘n’ comin’!”
Meaning: tide coming up or “coming in” adding water beneath your keel.
Stay tuned, we’ll record our track, and let you know how we make out.
As for getting dockage “on the other side,” in Tarpon Springs or the other ports nearby, best of luck to you!
There is a seafood festival ensuring zero slips open in Tarpon Springs this weekend. Dockmasters tell me it is “hit-or-miss” even after this festival. Some weekdays may equate to an opening or two. But they were not predicting a lot of openings for the dozens of Loopers coming up behind us in the weeks ahead.
Get the spider webs off your anchor rode!
The good news is: There are lots of good anchorages coming up, (but none that have good shore power hook ups).