07 May 2010

Foul Winds, Fair City

A while ago, I commented on how important it is for a cruiser to have 'fair winds'... i.e., having the wind at your back, or at least not in your face. Well, for the last two weeks, the wind has been blowing strongly from the south. Day it, day out, the wind blows 10 or 15 knots, right against me.

I was complaining to my anchor neighbor the other day and he agreed it was the longest stretch of south wind he could remember. This made me feel better until I saw these trees...

Guess the prevailing wind...
photo jalmberg

These trees have a permanent bend to them... to the North. So I'm guessing that south winds are the prevailing winds in these parts... not the rarity.

My rebuilt motor has allowed me to do 3 knots directly into the wind -- much better than I would do beating into the wind offshore, but only because most of the Intercoastal is protected waters. If I need to cross an open stretch of water, then my speed drops way down, because the waves kicked up by the wind on open water really slow me down.

This happened the other day as I was cruising into wide open Charlotte Harbor. My speed over ground dropped from 3 knots, down to 1 knot. Luckily, I was passing the inlet to Boca Grande at the same time. Rather than beating my head against the wind all afternoon, I decided to duck into the Boca Grande anchorage for the night. And I'm glad I did!

Parking, Mediterranean style
photo jalmberg

Anchoring space is limited, so all the boats were parked Mediterranean style. I'd never done this before, so I had to figure out how to do it on the fly. I'm not sure the proper way to do it, but what I did was drop my anchor in the channel, where the Blue Moon could swing safely while I jumped into Cabin Boy with a stern line. This I tied off to a sturdy mangrove root. 

Back in the Blue Moon, I alternately hauled on the stern line, and let off on the anchor line, until I was snuggly 'backed' up against the shore. The water was 6 feet deep right up against the mangrove trees.

I was able to get off the boat and enjoy a town for the first time since Tarpon Springs. Boca Grande is about the opposite of Tarpon Springs. It's laid back, un-touristy, and a bit like stepping back in time. 

Village Street in Boca Grande
photo jalmberg

One thing I really liked about this town was that many of the streets had been designed to a certain 'theme'. The street above was like Park Avenue, with palm trees. 

Another street had this beautifully cool side walk:

Each street was a little different, but you could tell there was a purpose behind the variety... someone had actually designed these streets and planted different sorts of trees and flowers to make each street unique. Amazing in the 'do your own thing' US.

There was even one street where every house had big bushes in their yards, with lovely red flowers. Not sure what they are, but this flower street was really lovely. And as I was admiring it, I spotted the Blue Moon through one of the bushes...

I'm thinking this would make a good Christmas Card...
photo jalmberg
They also have a fantastic beach, that I availed myself of, since the temperature was in the 90s... Summer is coming fast!

Boca Grande Beach
photo jalmberg

Tomorrow, the winds are supposed to turn fair, or at least not so foul. I'm hoping I can get to Ft. Meyer's and the beginning of the Okeechobee Waterway.

But it all depends on the wind!

>>> Next Episode: Infernal Machines

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  1. The flowers look very like oleander (laurier rose in French.

  2. Hi John.
    I have searched in vain for a photo of Blue Moon.

  3. Yes, I reckon they are Oleander too. Makes a great poison :-)

  4. In my reading today I encountered

    soave sia il ventro

    and thought of you.

    Enjoy everything.

  5. Glen: there are plenty of posts with pictures... check out "The Most Important Factor", which is the first post in the "Cabin Boy's Big Adventure" series.


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