In the last post I explained that were docked in Carabelle and captain-less.
Minutes after our captain’s depature, I jumped on the phone to Sonny at Dog River. He really is a great guy and he can be trusted. We were sad to leave Dog River and I knew when we left there that Sonny was sincere when he told me to call him if I needed anything at all and they would come. And that they did. I told Sonny what had transpired, and I kid you not, less than an hour later he called me back to say that arrangements were made, and my new captain was on his way.
Unbeknownst to us, the marina, “The Moorings”, that we stopped at in Carabelle to dump our old captain was affiliated with Dog River marina. When I walked into the marina office to register, I was delighted and surprised when, Melvin, a very kind gentleman asked me if I knew Sonny Middleton. I said that I did and he told me that he was picking up my new captain from the airport in the morning. I was relieved that we had sailed right into a marina were we instantly had Sonny’s network behind us again. Melvin was a great guy. He took me to the store and sent a guy to fix some things that needed attention and watched out for us until our new captain arrived.
Early the next day, Alvin, our new captain, was on our boat. Alvin has been running boats for Sonny for years. He runs “Southern Comfort”, a 72′ Hatteras that was docked near my boat at Dog River and he even ran my boat for Sonny a few times. He is a very professional captain and also a real southern gentleman, as are all of the men that we have met at Dog River. He described to me my options, so that I could make an informed decision about our next move. He then spent the remainder of the day checking systems.
The next morning, bright and early, we were on our way to Clearwater. Our departure was at about 5am. The kids did well on our crossing, but at about 4 hours into the trip, Gaege, my 5 year old puked all over me. After that he was fine. Two of my other kids at just about the same time, also began to feel queasy. I gave the older kids Dramamine. I also whipped out a box of popsicles from the aft deck freezer. The popsicles were amazing. Every time Gaege mentioned that he felt sick I gave him one and he immediately seemed better. I didn’t take any Dramamine myself and didn’t get sick, but I did feel a bit light headed at times early on, and the popsicles seemed to take that feeling away. I will definitely remember the popsicle trick and will always be sure to keep a freezer full for any journey. At about 5 hours into the trip, everyone was good. We had all adjusted to the motion.
The journey across was boring and uneventful (which is really what I want on an at-sea crossing). There wasn’t much to sea, at-sea, except a few flying fish, dolphins and plenty of big blue water. The highlight of our day was talking on the VHS radio to friends on the boat “Crystal Blue Persuasion”. We met these guys in Carabelle and decided to sorta cross together. Although they had to leave at 1am, and we left at 5am because we ran our boat at 10 knots and they ran at about 7.5 on the crossing.
The kids slept for quite a bit of the trip. Gaege rode his new scooter through the galley and salon and we sat back and enjoyed the ride.
About 16 hours later we arrived in Clearwater. It was dark and there were 2 channels to get into the City Marina. Not realizing that one of them was an ICW route and the other was not, we did hit sandy bottom in really shallow water. But quickly realized our mistake and took the long way around the bay into the City Marina.
Note to anyone going to City Marina in Clearwater: Our friends on “Crystal Blue Persuasion” reported that there was traffic under the bridge upon entry. Charter and fishing boats get backed up like a parade and boaters might have to use their hands to push off from one another, I have been told. Also, be sure to take the ICW channel going to the right after clearing the bridge heading in. The channel to the left is shorter, but it is too shallow for deep drafts. It is better to get in during daylight if possible. The city lights are bright and it is very difficult to see markings, even with spotlights.
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