|IBIS coming out to me me aboard PUFFIN|
This week my sailing friend, Roland Barth, and I went out on the Florida Bay for our first overnight. As usual, Roland took his IBIS and me in my boat PUFFIN, we left on Wednesday sailing NW toward the Back Country. At first, it was our intention to sail a course directly NNW for about eight miles to a Key called Tern Key where we would navigate a narrow cut called Eagle Pass, then from there sail through a body of water surrounded by Keys on all sides, go through another pass at Bob Key and on to a protected anchorage at Manatee Key. Right off the bat we realized that it was going to be a beat to Tern Key, so we altered our course directly to Manatee Key ( WNW ), however, before long the wind shifted in our favor to follow the original course. After an hour or two, we decided to amend our course once again, instead of going through Eagle Pass we opted to take another cut between Pass Key and Park Key and although the Pass was very narrow and shallow we were successful. By this time the wind was freshening a bit so we were able to make good time heading toward manatee Key, the sail through Manatee cut to our proposed anchorage was uneventful except for when Roland was going through the cut, a flats boat traveling about 30 Kts buzzed right by him. @#$%&@.
Coming into our anchorage for the night the wind suddenly picked up and Roland was caught by surprise, following him when the gust of wind hit, I could see his centerboard clearly. Roland was indeed a well heeled gentleman at that moment. Roland managed to round up quickly so to dump the wind from his sail thus averting disaster, in the form of a capsize. Because the wind had come up so suddenly, and because we wanted a calm area in which to anchor, we went all the way into the cove, almost to the very end. We were lucky that the water was up and allowed us to find a great spot out of the wind.
|IBIS at anchor at Manatee Key|
After a couple of near misses with a heaving line, we managed to raft up, have a glass or two of wine, some cheese and crackers. Next came dinner, I fired up my butane stove and proceeded to warm the fare Roland brought, it took only a few minutes before Roland was dining on spare ribs, peas and rice. My choice for the evening repas was a large cup of Stone Crab Chowdah.
|PUFFIN and me at anchor, Manatee Key|
|Heading out in the morning|
|Heading toward manatee Key|
|Enjoying another great day on Fl. Bay|
Some small talk about sailing and the day we parted company, separated the boats and went into our respective cabins for the night. One tends to go in early because the Skeeters make for some uncomfortable times in the cockpit. Early to rise, up a six, clean up, have breakfast and set sail for the next day of sailing, which proved to be as good as the first day. I've never had a bad day on the FL.Bay.
|Chart of FL. Bay and our course marked on it.|