Thursday, February 28, 2019

And so, it begins

And ... we're off! Four months of planning and prep all came down to this day.

We'd made the decision to go outside for the first day, and put a few more hours in than we would normally do. That way we have time and options for crossing Lake Okeechobee in the next couple of days. Once done, Stuart isn't a far ride away.

Leaving was bittersweet. A number of the dock workers and some boating neighbors sent us waves and well wishes as we left. Slip F5 is now vacant for the next big boater.

Skies were cloudy when we left, but sunny when we got about half way. 

As we made our way along the ICW to Tampa Bay, Russ set up our electronics and navigation for the day. Turns out that's a bit of a trick. If we'd simple plotted a course to Cayo Costa State Park it always takes us down the ICW. He had to fool it by first setting a destination just outside Longboat Key, then another somewhere in the gulf to get us underway. Then he could finally set our ultimate destination. In Google Maps there's an "avoid highway" preference. We're thinking there must be an "avoid ICW" option, too. We just haven't found it yet.

From this... this (look at that blue sea!)

Cayo Costa State Park, which you can camp at, too.
Once outside, while the seas were calm, there were one to two foot swells, not waves. The resulting ride was how I remember Mr. Toad's Wild Ride being. Not disastrous, mind you. But I recall the car having a wobble; down front left, then front right, then down back right, then back left and repeat, kind of a rolling sensation. That was us. For about five hours.

Anchoring took about twenty minutes this time, and we are in a nice area with a number of other boats. Once anchored we immediately dinghy-ed the dogs to the state park for a walk. 

Cayo Costa sunset

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