Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #25 Upward And Onward

The upward part is Jim on the mast. The other day he went up to investigate the wind machine at the masthead that didn’t seem to be working correctly, and found that the birds had done a number on it. So after taking down the transducer, having a friend drive him to where he could get the needed O-ring, putting it back together, and going back up the mast to put it back up, it worked like a charm! Until… the safety line Jim had put on the transducer so it wouldn’t land in the water pulled taut when he forgot to release it. When he started back down the mast, SNAP! Jim: Was it because I cursed God’s birds or because I was so pleased with myself for fixing it for $0.79? So we had to order a new transducer at $340+. I guess it was the equivalent of dropping a cell phone overboard, and, thankfully, we haven’t done that…yet! Fortunately, it arrived almost overnight, and, again with Carl’s help, he’s now going back up the mast to put it up. Well, Jim probably won’t make the safety line mistake again. We’ll just find new mistakes to make!

We had a delightful Christmas with Mom and Lauri here. The weather warmed up just after they arrived, and it stayed warm and lovely until Mom went home. Christmas Day was cool but sunny, and filled with our family traditions. By riding the fantastic bus service we saw lots of interesting and fun places in St. Pete, including the beach. We went to a Seabird Sanctuary, and visited the HMS Bounty, which is docked nearby at The Pier. The Bounty is the ship that was built to make the movies, and we got an interesting tour. We had a couple of superb seafood lunches at The Pier, enjoying the view of Tampa Bay. By taking Caloosa Spirit away from the dock, we got a relaxing day’s sail on the bay. New Year’s Eve brought a variety of venues offering artistic performances and presentations. We watched Native American and West African drumming and dancing. The midnight fireworks almost directly overhead capped off the evening. On Alice’s birthday we took a walking tour of downtown to see a number of historical buildings, and again had a very pleasant day.

All in all, we have thoroughly enjoyed St. Petersburg. It’s been a great place for both relaxing and working. Our friends Carl and Cathy of Persuasion have been wonderful in driving us around for necessities and for fun. Their companionship has been the icing on the cake. But we’re ready to move on and explore some other places. Our time at the marina is up in a few days, so we’ll move to the nearby anchorage for a few more days. We’ve ordered a new sail and it should arrive within a week. Then we’ll head south, hopefully to find some warmer weather!

Well, we’ve moved on…well, at least around the corner. We’re still in St. Pete, anchored in the downtown anchorage near the Municipal Marina that we left yesterday. While it means giving up some conveniences, this does feel more like cruising. We picked up the new sail today, all 85 pounds of it, and got it back to the boat via dinghy. Tomorrow we get to put it up. We’re replacing the headsail that’s really not big enough for the lighter winds here. This headsail will be somewhat larger, but will still furl (roll up) on the headstay at the bow (front) of the boat. With this addition, the boat’s canvas will all match. Since we left the Virgins the headsail’s Kelly-green canvas cover hasn’t matched the forest green canvas on the rest of the boat.

Something else came up that may keep us in St. Pete a little while longer. The cable from our cell phone to our computer that allows us to do e-mail and Internet on board seems to have bit the dust. So we have to do something about getting it fixed or replaced. In the meantime, there’s a cyber café a few blocks away. Ain’t electronics great?!

Well, okay, so electronics really are great. It turned out that the cell phone/computer connection cable didn’t need a big fix, after all. It just needed for Jim to clean the connections. At least, we hope that’s all it needed. It has worked several times since the cleaning, so we’re about to make our get-away from St. Pete before it (or something else) breaks down again. The new headsail went up with no problems, and we’re eager to see how it performs. So tomorrow we’re planning to head south and leave St. Pete for the time being. We’ve liked it enough to return in the not-too-distant future.

Wonder of wonders, we actually left when we planned to! We headed out of St. Pete this morning, and had a quiet and peaceful sail (thanks to our new headsail) down Tampa Bay to the Sunshine Skyway. From there we motorsailed into and through Anna Maria Sound as far as an anchorage at Longboat Pass. Such tranquility is here. The homes are lovely, but much of the area is in a natural state. We dozed away a quiet afternoon, had dinner, did some dancing in our salon, watched some TV, and called it a night. This is cruising.

Peaceful anchorage at Longboat Key

More distance today. After going out Longboat Pass into the Gulf we motor-sailed down to Venice Inlet, went in there, and then down the Gulf Intracoastal to an anchorage in Lemon Bay. Motor-sailing was necessary because the projected 10-15 knots of wind from the N-NW turned out to be 3-8 from the SE. Even the new headsail can’t make up for no wind! We’re hoping to get to Ft. Myers by early next week to visit with Jean, a friend who is vacationing in Naples. This anchorage isn’t as serene as last night’s, but it is protected and quiet.

Beautiful Lemon Bay and Pine Island Sound were not at their best today. The sky has gotten overcast and a chop is building in preparation for a front to go through tomorrow. We’re still in Pine Island Sound, one of our favorite cruising grounds. Our 5-ft. draft gave us pause in trying to anchor in the protected shallow anchorage off Ding Darling Nature Preserve on Sanibel Island. So we settled for the deeper, less protected anchorage off York Island. We expect to sit here through the bad weather tomorrow.

We awoke this morning feeling like we were in a washing machine. The front was definitely on its way, and this unprotected anchorage was getting a serious fetch. As a result the boat was hobby-horsing on the swells. The rains soon came with less swell, so we settled in to do some computer work and reading. But all good things come to those who wait, and this afternoon the skies cleared, the chop diminished, and the sun showed its lovely face. Except for occasional fishermen and travelers on the GICW, we have the Sound to ourselves—along with the ospreys, cormorants, terns, and gulls. Maybe a dolphin will yet stop by to wave hello. This is why we like cruising. Tomorrow we plan to move on to Ft. Myers to explore another new area. It is only about 1.5-2hrs away.

Sunset at York Island

Fair winds until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford

Posted Sunday January 18, 2004

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