After we arrived in Marco Island and collected ourselves. We put the boat back together and set our sights on moving up the west coast of Florida.
Dorothy had been looking ahead for weather windows to do the big crossing from the upper west coast of Florida to the panhandle. This is a long open water trip out of the sight of land for many hours including traveling overnight.
There was going to be a period of high pressure across the upper gulf in about 3 days. The wind and waves were predicted to be light for a period of 48 hours or more. This was great news because you may have to wait for days to get a good crossing window. However, we had to get moving up the west coast to be in position to cross the Gulf. Unfortunately this meant missing visits with our friends along the way. We traveled 120 miles in 2 long days to Sarasota, Fl and grabbed a mooring ball for the night. The weather window was looking good starting the next day.
We decided to cross from Sarasota, FL to Apalachicola, FL in one shot. The route was 240 miles and would take 24 to 26 hours. We prepped the boat, checked all the safety equipment and filed a float plan with the boys. At first light we were wide awake and ready to go.
Sunrise over Sarasota, a great start to the day
Less than 200 miles to go.
This time as predicted the entire crossing was perfect. Light winds and calm seas the entire way.
We are half way across the route.
The boat ran great and we hardly touched the autohelm. We saw dolphins, sea turtles, and two large squadrons of Manta Rays. We actually split one of the squadrons with the boat. Awesome. When Manta Rays swim and feed together they travel in a SQUADRON.
A pre-sunset show
Dinner underway, Dorothy made a ham and scalloped potatoes in the oven. Delish.
Sunset on the gulf.
The stars at night were awesome with out light pollution. The next morning we anchored off the city of Apalachicola, FL and just enjoyed the rest of the day on the hook.
Sunrise as we approach land.
Celebrating our safe passage after we anchored. Apalachicola in the background.