Sunday, October 16, 2016

Planning The Winter Season

As boaters Lisa and I have met some of the nicest, sweetest, funniest, and all-around swell-est people anywhere, that is other boaters. One such couple is Dick and Deanna of the vessel Sareanna. We've been fortunate to have spent some golden moments with them. Dick is also one of the funniest people we've met, with a dry sense of humor and a genuine sense of enjoyment for their on board life. We go out of our way to visit with them.

However, there is a problem with Dick's and my friendship; we are totally opposite types of skippers. He and Deanna are the types of cruising boaters who set out on a day with an idea of where they want to go, but no real details to the mission in place. If they make it, fine, if not, they figure it all out as they go along. And there's nothing wrong with that at all. We've known lots of boaters like that. However, that's not how we (or should I say, I) do things.

I am a planner. I thoroughly enjoy the detail work of our life. Even for a simple, short motoring down the ICW, my planning is extreme. I know the exact distance to be traveled, the speeds, the fuel consumption, the possible obstacles, all the bridges' names, everything; there is no detail too small for me not to have dissected it down to the molecular level. For me, getting into the minutia of the experience is half the fun. (You should see my log. It's an Excel spreadsheet monstrosity that is, for me, a joy to behold.)

Dick thinks my, as he once described it, "anal" tendencies about float planning is too much. It amuses him to no end. I'm glad that I can be a source of entertainment for him. But I am what I am. I'm going to go on and plan, plan, plan to my little heart's content. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

All that brings me to this -- I'm planning our winter cruising season and I need HELP!!!!!! We're going to the Florida Keys and I'm stumped about certain aspects of the route there.

Why Knot is currently at Turtle Cove Marina in Tarpon Springs, and since we took our time getting up to there over the summer (short days, longer stays at each locale) we are going to go ahead and hustle down the coast to get to the keys. Here's the float plan so far.

Click images to enlarge.

Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg - 58 sm, marina, outside route
St. Petersburg to Blackburn Bay - 50 miles, anchorage, inside route
Blackburn Bay to Cape Haze - 26 miles, anchorage, inside route
Cape Haze to Snook Bite Marina (Ft. Myers Beach) - 44 miles, marina, inside route
Blackburn to Tween Waters - 51 miles, marina, inside route
Tween Waters to Snook Bite - 24 miles, marina, inside route
Snook Bite to Rose Marina (Marco Island) - 43 miles, marina
Here's where it starts to get tricky.
Rose Marina to West Pass - 36 miles, an anchorage near Everglades City. (below)

West Pass to Shark River - 46 miles, anchorage

From Shark River, as I see it, I chart a course that first heads west some around Cape Sable, then back east a little until I meet up with the  ICW line on the north side of Marathon. I then have to motor west along the magenta line to be able to cross under Seven Mile Bridge at Moser Channel. Once I've done that we cruise to Boot Key.

I'm planning a route to Key West on the south side of the Keys. Once we've drunk too much for a week or two in Key West, we'll motor around the peninsula up the East Coast and try to make it up to some place like Titusville or Ortega (Jacksonville) to leave the boat for our required Winter Tax Shore Leave (Feb. and March).

What do you think? And yes, I know I need to make our reservations today.

Dick would be proud ... or baffled.