12-09-09 Port St Joe Marina Part 5

[Rick] It was a miserable rainy day today and we spent most of it catching up on emails and other correspondence. We also put up our Christmas decorations. Enjoy.

Around 1400, we went over to another looper boat, Aloha Friday, and began to make plans for the Gulf of Mexico crossing. The crossing is very weather dependant. You do not want to go into the Gulf when the winds are such to make the waves too high. Today, the waves in the Gulf were 5-7 feet, way too big for us in our 26 ft boat. We might get caught in large waves, but we will not go out in them.

The weather forecast from NOAA is calling for Monday to have waves 1-2 feet. Keep in mind that the crossing is 170 statute miles from Carrabelle FL to Tarpon Springs FL. Even with our speed, it will take 8-9 hours running at 20+ mph for the whole trip. Most of the loopers are trawlers and will take 20-24 hours to make the run. They leave one day, travel all night, and arrive during the daylight hours the next day. You never want to arrive at a new port in the dark. We are working with several boats to find the best way to do the trip. Ideally, we could find a fast boat to go with us. But that is unlikely, given the speed necessary. We have a possibility of going with a boat to Crystal River, a distance of about 120 miles. Averaging 10mph, we can do this in one day, leaving just before daylight. Remember, the days are shortest at this time of the year and there is barely 10 hours of daylight. The alternative to the 170 mile trip is to go along the rim of the big bend, stopping in several towns. This requires at least 3 good weather days or you are stuck in some little town. It is a crap shoot, either way.

At this time, we are not sure of the trip, or the day, but it looks like Monday, with someone. We will not do the trip alone. We will be far enough off shore that we will not have VHF radio or cell phone contact. No need to tempt fate.

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