Skip Back a Day.

Sorry, I posted out of order. Here is our ICW trip down from the Causeway to Desoto Point/Emerson Point.


Beautiful day. Lot and lots of bridges. But the tenders were great, very nice and usually promptly opened up for us.

Still playing with my new camera:-)


Scupper loves to say “Hi” to the bridge tenders


Say what?


The ICW is really nice along here. Well marked.


Second Chances following us down the ICW






The Skyway Bridge. That is the only shot I have of it. I had to go lay down and Brian do the rest of the leg solo ( 4 hours). My brain is still really…agitated is the best way to describe it, since going offshore on the short hop from St Joe to Clearwater. I’m experiencing head pain like before the trip, doesn’t take much to set it off. Not sure what I did to aggravate my condition but will have to roll with the punches. Brian is happy to solo. Brian is happy to be aboard and cruising. So, he takes my disappearances into the vberth with loving support. I was able to come out and man the helm the last few miles to anchor her.


At anchor in Emerson Point Preserve. Running ashore for picture taking and doggy walking


Brian :-)


Emerson Point


What we thought was dinghy docks was actually just a small beach.


Scupper spies another dog, he thinks, no, KNOWS, he can take him on. If only dad would let him.




Back to the boat.



Throw two big bean bags together. Add a blanket, pillow, kindle, hot tea, fresh flowers from the park, and you get Erika’s favorite spot to watch the sun rise. Brian and scuppers favorite spot to watch the sunrise is snuggled up together in the vberth.



Riding Out a Little Blow

 Belleair Causway Anchorage. We moved from Compass Key to Belleair Causeway due to forecasted 40 knot gusts from the South. Compass Key had zero southerly protection. The storm was a little rough and the gusts up into the 40s. We tied the dinghy along side but had the long painter ready incase we wanted it to stream out behind us. Brian also put together the fortress storm anchor with rode ready on deck in case we ran into stronger winds then predicted. But our 45 LB Manson with 7:1 scope of all 3/8 BBB worked beautifully. We also had a 35 ft 3/8 three strand snubber out. The bottom was hard sand.


I like to peek at the state of the anchor using my iPad. Our primary anchor watch is our eyeballs with some fixed bearings to compare for movement. Then we have our Vesper which checks every minute or so where the boat is in relation to where we dropped the anchor. And then we have the depth sounder on alarm if it senses anything under a certain depth we set for that particular anchorage. And finally my iPad, that I can glance at in the middle of the night without having to get up. We (Brian) still get up regularly to go on deck and check for chafe and drag. This night we had some pretty good gusts, no drag. This is a shot from my iPad blue charts tracking the boat at anchor. I mark where we back down on the anchor to set and sometimes mark where the boat is at certain wind directions.


Anchorage was pretty good considering the high winds we were getting.


I was to take scupper ashore as Brian was still trying to catch up on his sleep from the Gulf hop. As scupper and I were getting ready to shove off from Rain Dog the outboard stalled and I started yanking on the starter to restart. My hubby did not want me to re injure my healing arm muscles so vetoed my protests and shuttled us to shore.  It’s a bit frustrating that I cannot do simple tasks but it sure is sweet to have such a wonderful husband. I cannot wait to heal up and get stronger, I LOVE to row and would of gladly skipped the engine altogether :-)


We love to talk to people. This guy was really neato, he is originally from Jersey. He comes to this spot in remembrance of a friend that died in a jet ski accident at this bridge.


Brian and Scupper. Funny how happy Scupper is to get back to the boat.

 Thursday: We moved to The Manatee River, Emerson Point , across from Desoto Point. This was about 45 miles south of the Belleair causeway. It’s near the town of Palmetto. Will post some pics as soon as I can. 

Hanging Out, Watching Sailboat Races

Apparently we anchored near a race course, we’ve had sailboats galore racing about. We heard it was the international Sunfish with professional sailors aboard.

Scupper was a fan of the Sweds boat


Second Chances was in the thick of things :-)


Still playing with my camera and all its bells an whistles


Brian relaxing after the long hours making the gulf hop. The boat is still messy, we are still messy :-)


Generally, I steer clear of racers but these guys were a friendly lot.


Little Hop Offshore from Port St Joe to Clearwater Florida

Left Sunday At 5 pm. We expect to make it to Tarpon by Tuesday morning. But as we approached the last 75 miles we calculated that we would get there before dawn. We almost always want to make approaches in daylight hours, so we decided to make for Clearwater Pass to use up the extra time.


North Point, Port St Joe. We will miss this place!!


Dinghy loaded up on deck, ugh! This is where our bean bags really shined as they gave us great steady vantage points, up high, for watch keeping


Was to have a bit of a breeze The first night but got nothin :-(,

Our buddy boat Second Chances. Weather started to deteriorate, but we expected that



What we did not expect was the dense fog. No warnings were put out until after we left and was already in the gulf.

This pretty much sums up all of Sunday night and on through Tuesday morning. The fog did clear up for about an hour or two during the daytime.


Do you see a boat?

This time there is a boat. But all last night my eyes were playing tricks on me, seeing lights where there were none. Thankfully Second Chances has radar so looked out for us. But we still kept to low speeds, 2-4 knots at times, and kept a constant vigilant watch. We also have AIS which shows us were the big boats are.


Sweet Jesus, the fog cleared 2 miles from the entrance markers!! The fog was so thick but we had no choice but to slowly make for port as the fog advisory would not be lifted till 7 pm( 10 hours later). Then within five minutes we went from pea soup thick fog to a couple miles of visibility:-)


Brian’s yelling “quick! Make for the anchorage before the fog closes back up around us!”

Scupper is yelling “quick! Make for the anchorage before the fog closes back up around us!” And He also added “I’d like to kiss some land please!”


Anchored around Compass Island in front of the coast guard station.

 ******some thoughts on boat gear from this short offshore hop *******

Big shout out to “Beaker” our monitor Windvane. Steered with the help of the tiller pilot, a flawless course.


Beaker and Til, our self steering system.

Compass light was out, so used one of our headlamps, worked great :-)


Scuppers pee mat. Two thumbs up. I also strapped some grass and Palm leaf to the stanchion to give him something to lift his leg for :-)


My petzl harness. Figure 8 style. Cannot find female friendly figure eight harnesses in the marine stores anymore so I had to go to the climbing store. It is made to be used with a leg harness, but how I have it set up, it is safe for me. I rig our jack lines so that we are unable to go over the lifelines and get in a dangle situation. Many marine harnesses do not fair well in the dangle test, they tend to slip right over the head. The leg straps provided by marine harness manufacturers are very inadequate and can even cause severe damage to male organs if they are hanging for any length of time. Anyways, my first harness was a figure 8 and twenty years later after much searching I found another. It fits nice and snug around my torso, and seems to be thoughtful for the female form.


Brian’s Spinlock deck vest works great and Brian finds it incredibly comfortable.


I was not a fan of our tri-light at the top of the mast. Then we hit two nights of dense fog and I see the benefits of having the running lights up high as to not ruin our vision down on deck. It really helped to keep the deck as dark as possible when we needed to.


We are not in Kansas anymore


We plan to spend a couple days around here visiting friends and family. Then we will decide wether to shoot straight for the keys or gunk hole our way down. 

Day Sail to North Point

Invited bill and Katie from Second Chances over for a day sail to go beach combing up at north point. So at 11 am we piled aboard Rain Dog and headed for the Beach :-).

Marina. I’m using my new camera today, an Olympus TG-3. Here I am playing with the diorama filter.


Nice calm day.

St Joes Canal Bridge. Diorama filter.

Break out the Asymmetrical, very little wind.


Almost no wind, going about 3.3 knots

Scupper schmoozing for some lovin and food :-)

First anchorage did not work, too deep, bottom hard clay.

Second anchorage was much further from the point but had nice sandy bottom and 15ft depth :-)


Katie and Bill beach combing :-)

Rain Dog at anchor

Beautiful sand dunes



A few of these little guys wash up ashore. I threw them out to deeper water so the sea gulls wouldn’t eat them

Love this place


Fun playing with my camera, perfect place to do this!

More dunes :-)

Taken with the micro setting on my new camera

Headed home after a fun day at the beach. I’m skipping over the part where I ran aground, chart said 29 feet.

Reminder at the Marina entrance to be vigilant in your navigation


After having a hard time docking, Brian had to take the helm and dock her, we met a fellow sailor who we new from Cruisers Forum. Great to talk with him, we hope to get together with him and his wife tomorrow.

The four of us, Katie, Bill, Brian, and I, walked over to a great Mexican restaurant for a nice dinner.

 We hope to have a good weather window in a couple days. Warm, north to westerly winds fairly calm seas.

Beaker, Our Third Crew Member, ( ie. Windvane Work)

 We named our Monitor Windvane “Beaker”. The resemblance to our vane and the muppet is striking :-)

The shape of our vane, it catches the wind which helps steer the boat



See?  they could be twins :-)

 I will paint a cute beaker face on our vane when I get the chance……


Yesterday, I spliced some new control lines. Old set up, yucky line.


I used HMPE for the helm side of the control lines. The top splice is a modified bury with a brummel thrown in. I stitched the throat too. The bottom splice is a long bury with a sweet sweet taper, stitched and whipped throat. No reason for the difference, just playing around. These lines will not see high loads. I used HMPE for the cheafe resistance.


Now I’m thinking instead of tying off like this, maybe splice eyes in the braid in order to put a soft shackle between the two lines

Maybe a really stiff bungee shackle between the two lines. This could also absorb some shock loads since the lines are all low stretch. Also this would allow a quick “on” and “off” attachment.


Ok, so that’s the Update on Beaker’s new control lines. Still more tinkering to do.