We enjoyed the company of the crew on Glory Days,(Joe, Tom, Bob, Jim, and John), and after two windy, cold days at Appalachicola, we headed for Carrabelle to wait for the weather window. 11/11, 11/12, 11/13, 11/14 We waited! While we waited for the weather window, we enjoyed Docktails at C-Quarters Marina every evening. After the first evening, we realized that everyone took their dog along and just let them roam freely to play. So on night two, we decided that we would take Duke. This marina was about 1/4 mile from where we were staying and we walked along the highway. Ron decided to let Duke run freely with all of the other animals.....that seemed like a good idea, until someone said....I think your dog just left. Ron followed Duke and found that he had returned to our boat on his own....guess he's just not a party animal!
Although we stayed at the Moorings, just down the river, most of the loopers went to C-Quarters. We chose the Moorings because we heard that Buddy, a long term employee and weather prognosticator, could tell us when to cross safely. Both Tom Conrad (the AGLCA weather musings guy) and Buddy said that Thursday the 15th was the day to cross. Buddy said that it was not wise to leave East Pass and set a direct course to Clearwater because of something called the loop current. He said that we should instead set a course due east (30 miles) to Buoy 26 and then set our course southeast to Clearwater. That would provide us with calmer seas. Seven boats (Glory Days, Gemini, Jeremiah, Adagio, Gold Leaf, Nauti Nell, and Laughter) followed his recommendations and we were really happy that we had done so. After the first hour of 2 foot waves, the sea calmed down.
Although the first four hours of darkness were a bit unnerving, the 1/2 moon appeared around 10 pm and gave us some light for the remaining 8 hours we traveled in the dark. When the sun rose we had to deal with crab pots for 4 hours as we approached Clearwater....it was like a mine field of things that look like large hand grenades with wire baskets attached to the bottom. If a boat snags one, it can damage the prop. Fortunately, we navigated through them without incident. The shore here is beautiful and the weather is warm. My best friend Becky lives within a few miles of the marina, so we were able to meet her for dinner....no we hadn't slept yet, that will come later. (Ron napped for an hour during the 22 hour crossing and I slept on and off for about 4 hours)
We had obsessed about how the crossing would affect Duke. Should we give him sedatives? Should we buy a grass pad for the stern? How would he handle 24 hours without bathroom privileges? Well, our worries were unfounded. When we left Carrabelle, Duke went to sleep in the helm and slept for 22 hours. He did not attempt to drink any water or eat any food. Twice we gave him a small biscuit and he went right back to sleep. He behaved no differently than usual when we arrived at Clearwater....he was a real trooper!