Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A summer day at Ft. De Soto

A fun summer day at Ft. De Soto. With massive Red Tide just a few miles south of us we're enjoying the area before it all gets wiped out.

A strong ebb and a bit of summer breeze carried us swiftly out Bunces Pass.

Stopped for lunch on the ever growing shoal just south of Bunces. The beach on the horizon is part of the shoal.

After lunch, we sailed north along Shell Key and, for the first time, entered the new pass which was created by hurricane Irma. This used to be all marsh and sand. The old pass on the northern tip of the island filled in completely so now this is the only cut north of Bunces pass. As a result, the current whips through here at an impressive clip. We had enough wind to slowly make way against the current right up the the narrowest part but had to give up and beached for a break.

I could just barely stand against the current at thigh deep. 

Minor calamity as a result of a wind shift due to the building sea breeze and a tangled sheet. I think the crew were complaining at this point that I'm taking phots instead of helping right the boat. 

It's really rough out there.

Looking out the pass into the Gulf.

We took advantage of the sea breeze and reached all the way to the northern tip of Shell Key and into Pass-a-Grille channel where we were hoping to portage back over the old cut and continue our circumnavigation of the island. No chance. I had not realized the extent to which the inlet filled in. There is no sign of it and we'd have to carry the boat 75 yards through the dunes. 

We beat out of Pass-a-Grille channel against a 13-18 knot breeze. I rarely sail with 4 people which is the maximum you can reasonably fit so wasn't sure how the boat would do against the chop. We once took a bit of green water over the bow but the boat handled great and we made good progress into the chop. Once clear of the inlet we turned south and a close reach got us quickly back into Bunces Pass which was still ebbing slightly. We sailed a few feet off the north shore to stay out of the main current and easily got back through. 

A stop for one last cool-off soak at the inside shoal, now exposed by the falling tide. 

Red track going out, pink returning.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Bit of Spirited Sailing at Cedar Key

The big small boat gathering at Cedar Key was another success. We had fantastic winds for those who wanted to go bonkers. A bit too much on Saturday kept many boats form launching. Those who did launch had a great time. I finally got the yard cam aimed right and captured some of the fun. Winds on Thursday were gusting to near 30mph. Some of the clips in this video are on that day and the others are in 18-22 mph winds. We had one reef in the sail and it was about right. Full sail is really a blast in these conditions but I didn't feel like capsizing.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Chesapeake Light Craft Demo Day in St Pete

I always look forward to seeing what the wizards at CLC bring for us to play with. My absolutely favorite kayak is the stitch and glue Night Heron. I love how it paddles and I really like it's unique look. This year CLC brought the strip built Night Heron. It's a beautiful boat and wonderful to paddle but I think I like the puzzle boat better.

Here's Kristi paddling the S&G Night Heron. This was a few years ago. 

Lots of art to paddle. 

I could get used to having this gorgeous bow always in view.

The CLC van full of fun.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Lake Tarpon

The blog's not dead! Life's been busy and we've not gotten out on the water much. A little bit of kayak exploring on Lake Tarpon.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

A good day at Ft. De Soto.

Mark from Sweden and Morgan from Minnesota visited and we did a bit of December sailing. 

Shell Key.

Came in as the sun went down.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hanging out in Cedar Key

The November WCTSS trip to Cedar Key is growing every year. One trip per year is clearly not enough. The town is still recovering from flood damage due to Hurricane Hermine. A lot has been repaired but they still have work to do to get back to 100%. As has become a tradition, we stayed at Sunset Isle campground. They have already done many repairs and others are ongoing. The little docks we liked so much are gone.

View from our campsite. Remnants of the dock at low tide.

Tide's in; time to go sail. Where's the wind? 

Eventually got a decent breeze. Cruising by the beach at Atsena Otie.

Atsena Otie.

Meade Gougeon was out in "Woodwind".

Goat spent Friday night in marsh grass. Got crabs.

You meet the most interesting people at Cedar Key. Ida Little and Michael Walsh authors of "Beach Cruising and Coastal Camping".

Ida took this cool picture of me.

All too soon, it was time to row under the bridge and go home. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Ft De Soto Sailing Season Opener Daysail with WCTSS

It's been a long, hot summer with not much interesting sailing going on.  It's still hot but good sailing weather is coming up real fast so I dusted off Goat and joined the WCTSS for an easy daysail at Ft Desoto, a 20 minute drive from our house.

Approaching the fleet anchored at the giant shoal off North beach at Ft DeSoto park. This shoal has been growing recently and is now very large with some interesting features to explore. 

From the shoal.

I rigged the GoPro to the tip of the yard.

And got some fun shots.

There was no wind before 2pm and most folks bailed out. Dimitri and I waited it out and got rewarded with a decent sea breeze. 

We explored the shoal but Dimitri, with his Wind Rider's deep 18" draft, just could not hang with Goat's ridiculous shoal water ability. I routinely skim over shoals where the gulls are walking. Off the wind, board and rudder up I need maybe 4", maybe less if it's blowing hard enough to scrape over the sand. 

A mid afternoon snack. 

Walked around for a while. Lots of wildlife on the flats.

Delicate sand dollars survived the sail back nestled in the bow.

Time to hoist sail and head back home. 

Gerry with his neat outrigger sailing canoe conversion was coming back in as I sailed back to the launch site. 

Another day in paradise comes to a close. Time to pack up and head home.