Day Six (Thursday): Our Best Day of Sailing!
Michelle: Florida was in sight! Cell phone service was spotty, but we were so excited to see hundreds of emails, messages, and FB notifications dinging our phones. We enjoyed not being in touch for a week, but we were ready to check in with everyone and get to St. Pete!
Matt: With almost no diesel left in the tanks except for our reserve, and several more hours until we would make it to our marina, (still 10-15 miles offshore) we were so happy to be able to cut the engines and hoist Big Red (our gennaker.) We had lighter winds when we started, and we were cruising along at 4kts. But as we got into the channel and approached the Skyway bridge, our speed increased to 5.5 and 6 kts.
Michelle: For me, it seemed much easier to cut the engines and sail knowing that we could communicate with the outside world. This was by far the best feeling. Sailing under wind power alone. Watching our wind and sail and making adjustments. Sailing is so much fun!!
Matt: We were passed by a huge tanker on our way toward the bridge. We stayed out of his way and out of the channel so he could pass. From where we were it looked like he was taking up the entire channel.
Michelle: As we approached the bridge, it seemed like everything was in slow motion. I know sailing is slow, but without objects to pass for the past two days, there hasn’t been a real sense of how slowly we were going.
It truly felt like it took FOREVER to get to the bridge and then under it! But it was awesome. Seriously, we were having the best time sailing. I can’t believe we didn’t get to do this for five days in the Gulf, but we were doing it today!
Matt: After we entered Tampa Bay, the winds picked up. We were doing 7 kts! It was crazy. We had to turn north towards our marina, and the winds shifted. We dropped Big Red, and threw up our genoa. But then the winds really kicked up to 25 kts. We ended up furling the genoa and turning on the engines to motor the last two miles to the marina.
Michelle: We arrived at the marina around 1 pm. I hopped off the boat and walked into the marina office to get our paperwork filled out and get our slip information. Matt filled our tanks with diesel while I was inside.
And then…. holy cow… everything started spinning! I had to death grip the marina office counter to keep from falling over. After five days at sea, I lost my land legs!! OMG. This phenomenon is the most bizarre thing. It was like I was land sick because the earth was not moving underneath me. hahaha. I was so dizzy! I felt like everything was spinning all around me. WHAT A COMPLETE FREAK! I started the Gulf crossing being sick, and I was about to end the Gulf crossing by getting sick. Lucky for me, I jumped back on the boat and felt a million times better.
Our first afternoon/evening in St. Petersburg!
Michelle: After a bit of a run around on where we were supposed to dock, we ended up in pretty much the worst spot on the transient dock. I’m not even sure you can call it a slip… It took us forever to dock. We were sweating, the sun was beating down on us, and we were annoyed at the location.
After being off the grid for the past five and a half days, we now needed to find everything we had stowed for the trip, plug into electric and water at the dock, get our portable air conditioners back out and plugged in, and set up shop. All with the sun burning holes in our skin. Everyone was hot, cranky, and exhausted.
Earlier, when we had switched out our sails, Big Red got tangled up in the winds as we pulled her in. Since Matt was busy getting us set up, I thought I’d be helpful and try to untangle the sail at the dock so we could put it away. I was doing fine until the wind caught it and then I basically made a huge spectacle. Hi neighbors! I’m your new idiot next door!
Matt: It took us a few hours to get everything settled. We were desperate for showers, food, and a stiff drink.
Michelle: We walked into town to a local Italian restaurant. We were so hungry. They brought bread to the table and I thought I might kiss the server. Best meal ever. But by the end of the meal, we were goners. Tapped out. I barely made the three-block walk back to the boat.
Michelle: I realized that I had been up since 12:30 am with no nap. The sun had set and I needed sleep in a bad way. When we got back to the boat, I told the kids it was time for bed. I could have sworn it was 11 pm. (It was 8 pm eastern.) However, the kids looked down at their iPads that were still on central time and they were incredulous, “What the hell? It is only seven o’clock!?!?! We are NOT going to bed this early!” [Okay, they probably didn’t say ‘hell’ – although truth be told, Zach has started saying ‘what the hail’ and then laughs and says ‘hail isn’t a bad word.’]
So, yeah… I went to bed at 8 pm. I don’t know what the kids did.
Thanks so much for reading along! We have been in St. Petersburg for a week and a half now. We love this city. And we love our dock neighbors. But we still hate our slip location. And the asshole dock master. But I will save that story for another post.
At the least the morning sunrise is beautiful from our spot…