Crossing the Gulf of Mexico

Boating can be spectacular – it can also be treacherous.  We cannot emphasize enough – Weather Advisories must be taken seriously – as Mother Nature has no pity for fools.  Be Smart.  Plan for the worst, establish a safety plan, and travel with a known boat buddy (someone you trust, and care about). When there is a weather window – Go, Go, Go!

Apalachicola, Florida

RawBar

But First, a scrumptious meal with Unfettered & Gypsy at Up the Creek Oyster Raw Bar.  Rick and I agreed, it was possibly the best shrimp we have ever eaten! We also said a tearful but happy “See Ya Later” to Gypsy. Don’t worry Susan and Jim, we will connect again (Jim, there’s still a Gin Smash in the fridge awaiting your return).

Gulf of Mexico Crossing Schedule

Departure:  Thursday, 11/8/2018. Time: 1100 hours

On Board: Flotilla commander – Captain Rick; First Mate – Mary; Seasoned Crew, Co-Pilot, Chef, and Bridge Measuring Tall Guy – David Floyd; Admiral, Safety Officer – Maddie Sue.

Float Plan:  Depart Apalachicola, FL at 1100 hours, Crossing the Gulf of Mexico.  Approximately 171 miles. Average Speed 7 knots.  Lead Boat is Exhale followed by Unfettered. Cavara to fall into rank en-route. Rendezvous with Bushranger roughly 1400 hrs (2 pm). Roll Call includes 1) Exhale, 2) Bushranger, 3) Unfettered, 4) Cavara. Destination: Clearwater, FL.  Estimated Travel Time – 24 hours.

Crew Shifts: 2.2.2

Over the period of 24 hours, Three crew member shifts, scheduled as follows:  2.2.2   Two hour nap, Two hour “on watch” in co-pilot seat, two hour as boat pilot, repeat. Subject to change, or as vetoed by the commander, of course.

Captain’s Log: Thursday, Nov 8, 1124 hours (11 am), Apalachicola

Departed with Buddy Boat, Unfettered.

UnfetteredRidingOnTop
Unfettered. Shoeless Corey, aka “on the threes”, running up top

Captain’s Log: 1404 hours (2 pm), somewhere near Carabelle (open water).

Rendezvous with Bushranger successful.  Package handoff completed.

Thursday204pmhandoff
Cookies transferred (not tossed). Boat Bread received.

Captain’s Log:  1414 hours, Flotilla roll call complete.

Thursday214pm

Captain’s Log 1500 hours.

All Looper’s in position. Water slight chop. Roll call and hourly report from Flotilla, all is well, more or less.

Thursday3pmFlotilla
Crew Report:  Nap in bow cabin failed attempt, water felt like a bucking bronco.

Crew Report 1600 hours  Commander at helm station, taking catnap.

CatnapWithDog
Safety Officer, Maddie Sue, on guard.

Crew Report:  1700 hours – Crockpot filled with beef stew, courtesy of Chef David.

By the way, thanks again Marty & Anders! We used this baby many, many times.

DinnerInTheSink

Captain’s Log: Thursday, 1730 hours (5:30 pm), sun setting on the Gulf of Mexico

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Photo by David Floyd

Captain’s Log: 1800 hours.

Running Lights are on. Flotilla is in position. Gentle Rolling Waves.  All is well.

Thursday610pm
Bushranger, Unfettered, Cavara

Friday, November 9, 2018

Crew Report: Friday, November 9, 0100 hours (1 am).  Commander sleeping. Dolphins observed playing starboard, alongside the pilot house cabin door, as if to say “hey”!

Captain’s Log, Friday, 0250 hours (2:50 am), no moon, 3 following, running lights strong.

Friday250am3lights
Bushranger, Cavara, Unfettered.  It’s really dark out here.

Captain’s Log, Friday, 5:56 am, calm waters, 2 following, running lights strong.

Bushranger set a course to Tarpon Springs.  Travel Safe Aussie’s

Friday556am2lights
Unfettered, Cavara

Captain’s Log: 5:58 am – Crack of Dawn

Friday558am
Friday 5:58 am

Captain’s Log  6:10 am – Here Comes the Sun

Friday610am

6:51 am, Gulf of Mexico

Friday651am

6:53 am, Gulf of Mexico

Firday653am

Arrival in Clearwater: Friday, November 9, 11:10 am. On Schedule (Yep, 24 hours!)

Clearwater1110amFriday

WE DID IT!

Thanks Commander Rick for the phenomenal planning, level headed guidance, exceptional buddy boat skills (adjusting speed for the turtle boat) and perfect timing for the weather window; it was a course well set for all! Thanks to everyone in the flotilla, the hourly check-ins by all boats kept everyone entertained and awake, thanks to Capt Rick (and watch dog Maddie Sue), we all arrived safe. And, thanks to David Floyd for making the 11 hour road trip to join us on the final leg.

Clearwater, Florida. Little Toot

ClearwaterLittleToot

Enjoying the timing of this little boat.  In my head: I think we can; I hope we can; I know we can; oh YES, we did!

Turtle Tribute

For all the Turtle Boats

ClearwaterTurtle

For those of you unfamiliar with the Gulf of Mexico Crossing, here’s our Nebo Log, complete with a map showing the route and speed intervals over a period of 24 hours.  Let’s be clear – crossing the gulf of Mexico in the dark of the night, with no land in sight, was a BIG deal!!

Click here for the NeboLog

Next up:  Crossing the Wake in Fort Myers on Sunday!

Invitation to our Fort Myers Neighbors:

Please join us at our house on Sunday, November 11 around 4 pm. Come around to the dock (backyard), watch us come in, and share in the champagne!

Author: Exhale49

North Pacific Trawler

2 thoughts on “Crossing the Gulf of Mexico”

  1. Wish Maureen and I could be in FM tomorrow. Congratulations Exhale and her crew. Memories that will last a lifetime. Special thanks to the Mary for documenting the journey so well. Congrats to Captain Rick for living his dream. Well done by all.

    Liked by 1 person

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