Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sarasota, Florida

One of the things Paul and I needed was the talk that took place at Walter and Jeanette's place over dinner. We all discussed how many hours should be cruised in a day and what to do if bad weather starts up. Brooks, Walter and Jeanette, who are much more seasoned than we, mentioned that for us, 35-40 miles a day is probably enough...and there should always be a "Plan B" in case the weather or water becomes difficult. We had been pushing ourselves and many times found ourselves coming into places at night with high winds on our bow. From now on, we'll go shorter distances, and have a secondary plan for if there are weather changes. Wise words to live by, and I'm so glad we all talked about this.

Walter and Jeanette told us of a marina in Sarasota that would be a good place to sit out the upcoming storms we were hearing about....high winds, even a possible tornado! The name of the place is Marina Jack's. We would highly recommend it as a mooring place or a docking place. Very nice. The mooring ball was $25/night. The mooring field was quite large, too. Not too many people there. I think most people were probably docked for the storm, as I wish we had been!

Before we arrived at Marina Jacks, we enjoyed a lovely day on the water. We took some pics along the way.

Beautiful sky, amazing day. When we got to Sarasota, we had arrived about 3 hours earlier than we expected. There were some nice winds and the big bay of Sarasota was beckoning us to pull the sails out. We sailed around the bay and tacked back and forth across for about 3 hours, and then went into find our mooring ball.

Our mooring ball was number 2! So we were pretty close to land. Unfortunately, we were without a dinghy, so we stayed in our boat the whole time. It was fine, we didn't mind. I would like to have explored Sarasota though. Brooks and Sandy said they'd come over and join us for dinner if we could get a water taxi into the marina. We checked, but Marina Jack's doesn't have that service. It was just as well though, because the winds were starting up.

the entry into Marina Jack's...beautiful buildings. Looks like
somewhere in the orient.
Our neighbor on Mooring ball #1
Some other boats in the mooring field.
After I shot these pics, the winds were just starting to pick up. We had dinner, and were reading when we heard the winds getting faster and faster. All night the winds rocked our boat. At one point, very early in the morning, I got up and looked out the cockpit, and everything got very still...quiet and still...and that's when I wondered if the "tornado" they had mentioned was going by us. I've been in tornados before, and this is what it's like. I went back to bed and the rocking started up again more intensely. We must be getting used to this type of weather, because, believe it or not, we slept.
The next morning seemed better for awhile, but the high winds started up again. It felt worse than the night before, and our boat was rocking high from front to back and side to side. I went below to put some things away that were falling and was holding on, (one hand for you, one hand for the boat!!) but I saw a mug starting to slide off the sink, and I grabbed for it, letting go of my hold. Just then the boat rocked side to side. I went flying back against the stairs and hit them hard enough to jolt them out of the slots that held them up. The stairs and I went down very hard. This was a scary and painful event for me. And the mug broke!
That afternoon, the winds stopped, thankfully. We found out that there actually was a tornado and it hit Bradenton...just north of where we were moored.  Two people were killed. Apparently, we had wind gusts up to 50 knots, with most being in the 40's. No wonder our boat was rocking that much!
The following day, being mild, we set out early for Boca Grande to anchor one more night before cruising in to Port Charlotte. We were looking forward to our arrival in Port Charlotte for our reunion with Paul's cousin, Florence, and her hubby, Ray. The anchorage off Boca Grande was close to the channel to the Gulf, so there were waves coming in all night and it wasn't all that peaceful. I suppose it's like that when sailing. Some places will be restful, while others won't. All a part of the experience. Well, one thing is for sure, we are accumulating a lot of experiences so far, (a few less would be alright with me!) and we are learning many things. Having sailing friends is important and helpful to those of us who are green at the art of sailing, and I'm so thankful for the friends we have. 

No comments:

Post a Comment