Friday, September 21, 2012

Crossed the Gulf Today

  We were up at 6 A.M. and it was pitch black outside but by the time I listened to the weather radio report and looked at the wind and wave predictions, got the anchor up, and got over to the East Pass, we had enough light to see where we were going.
  The photo above is one I took once we got past some larger waves and Rosie had enough nerve to ride on the bow. Riding on the bow is something I enjoy because the engine noise is nothing but a gentle hum and the only thing you hear is the waves on the bow.
  Our nine hour ride over to Steinhatchie was as pleasant as can be. All three electronic devices pointing our way performed flawlessly. I had some tense moments yesterday when I couldn't enter any L/L co-ordinates into our old Raymarine Chartplotter. I had entered them up on the Tennessee River with no problem, but something happened since then, but I didn't know what. I made a mistake and did a hard reset on the chartplotter with no success, figuring that I lunched the unit for certain. Rosie and took the dinghy over to the beach at Dog Island and instead of enjoying the walk, I spent the whole time trying to figure out what went wrong with the chartplotter. It occurred to me that I had entered co-ordinates into the old chartplotter off of the iPad, and the ones I tried to enter with no success were from the new Garmin unit. I had a thought that the format I had set up on the Garmin unit for latitude and longitude was different from the format on the iPad. When I got back to the boat I entered the L/L from the co-ordinates on the iPad and they worked. I then changed the format on the Garmin to match the iPad and we were in business. Tenacity pays off, it's what I do.

  Rosie started making calls to marinas in Steinhatchie on our approach, asking about fuel prices and transient slip prices. We didn't really want to stay at a marina but we wanted to do laundry and the boat would have benefited from a hose down with fresh water. We wound up heading to River Haven Marina, just under the bridge up the Steinhatchie River, because a slip was going to run us $24 and fuel was $1.10 cheaper than the first place you come to in Steinhatchie, Sea Hag Marina.
  We pulled up at River Haven and the proprietor, Tim, came to the boat once we started fueling up and we gave us some valuable tips, one was about a restaurant next door that was "casual only", and the other was about a liquor store across the street. Tim must have a good eye for what people are after.
  After taking on only 70 gallons of diesel, Rosie and I rinsed down the boat and got all the salt off. I am of the belief that if the boat has a good coat of wax on it, the salt will rinse off much easier. Seems to be working so far but the trick is to keep the wax on the boat in between all the beer drinking that seems to be taking place.
  This town of Steinhatchie is an interesting place, but we're only going to spend one night here and then head for Crystal River tomorrow, where I think we will set down some roots for a few days.
  Tonight, we're celebrating our first Gulf of Mexico crossing; done at an average of 8.3 miles per hour. We have the luxury of traveling when conditions are optimum and we plan on taking advantage of it, but knowing full well that it may not always turn out as it did today.
  This is one big milestone that we have achieved and a lot of pressure is off. I think we'll be able to relax from here on out. That last sentence is supposed to be funny.

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