April 13, 2014:
So, now you know our first night at a KEY was not the peaceful, dreamy stuff Sandals Beach Resort commercials are made of …
Ahhh … bring me another cocktail Pedro.
But, we at least survived it. Despite my horrific, vivid night-magination, I was thrilled to wake and find the pulpit on the bow had in fact NOT snapped off and the boat had NOT flipped over during the night, but we had spent an incredibly rough night at anchor. Key or not, I don’t think we’ll be planning to drop the hook on that side of Egmont anytime soon.
“I want my money back!”
As soon as one stray shard of morning light struck the deck, we pulled the anchor and high-tailed it!
We set out across Tampa Bay at daybreak.
But, it’s a biiiiiig bay. We still had a long way to go to get to St. Pete.
We did enjoy coming under the SkyWay Bridge.
Having both been to St. Pete by land, the bridge was sort of iconic for us – a true monument to how far south we had actually come by boat!
And, I know the thing is like 8,000 miles high, give or take, but I swear, it still feels like we might hit. I hate watching the mast go under bridges. Because, I mean, really, what are you going to do at the moment of impact if it does hit? I just squeeze my eyes tight and think short thoughts!
But, I’m happy to say we cleared her just fine!
And, while we did have to motor that morning because the wind was dead on our nose and the bay was pretty chopped up, we did enjoy traversing new waters and were excited to see St. Pete come into view on the horizon.
We called ahead to see if we could find a transient slip or a mooring ball, and luckily they had room for us in the mooring field in the Vinoy Basin. We’d never snagged a mooring ball before and with all of the docking debacles we had suffered already, you can imagine what went through my mind …
Certain disaster. Likely ending with a mate overboard … Grabbing a mooring ball is not always easy, and I can imagine in heavy winds or current (or with novice-slash-clumsy crew *throat clearing*), it can be pretty darn difficult. Proof:
How Not to Pick Up a Mooring Ball
But, I was ready. I had gaff in hand, line all tied and secure. I was going to GET THAT BALL!!
And, get it I did! On the first try! We snagged her right up and secured that boat in no time.
And, man, what a great place to stop for repairs! The Vinoy Basin was beautiful.
It had its own dinghy dock, within rowing distance.
And, we were within walking distance of all the facilities and the downtown strip!
It is a city-maintained marina, so nice facilities – shower, laundry, and all of that. And, at $14/night, we certainly weren’t putting a hurting on the cruising kitty. The basin also offered decent protection from just about any wind direction. Oh, and the dockmaster – real nice guy, can’t remember his name, though I’m sure it was Bill, or Billy, or Mack or Buddy – even came to pick us up in the famous Dock Mule!
Awesome. We were ready to get showered up and check out the town. It was Sunday afternoon. We weren’t going to be able to deal with our busted Jenny until tomorrow at best, so might as well enjoy it, am I right?
Sure Buddy, give us a ride. Let’s see what this town of St. Pete is all about!