A view from the helm.
We left Panama City on December 2 and headed for Apalachicola. We anchored out at Dog Island that night and went into Carabelle the following morning. I was really bummed…our mast was waaaaaay to high to get under the bridges at Apalachicola so we thought we could rent a car in Carabelle and go back. Apalachicola is famous for their variety of oysters and as a side note…their antique shops. YAHOO I was in hog heaven!!! Oh well.
Carrabelle was just a small fishing village with no taxi or rental cars. A local would drive you back to Apalachicola for BIG BUCKS!!!! We decided to let it go and explore Carrabelle. There were two other cruiser boats tied up at the marina, nice folks, helped us dock. Later the Captain and I walked across the street to the IGA grocery store and the other two couples were there also. We all agreed that the IGA was the local entertainment! Kinda like Port A’s IGA! Everything was even overpriced soooooo I really felt at home!
One of the couples, Karen and Denny, had planned to walk over to the Fuzzy Oyster for dinner that night and we decided to join them. It was a quite for a Thursday night, but it showed signs of being quit the rowdy local hangout. The décor was….hmmmm, well interesting! The oysters were yummy (I had two dozen for dinner) and our dinner partners were great people. Their boat was from Michigan and had been owned by the governor of Michigan before them, named the First Lady,…they renamed her but First Lady stuck in my head so I don’t remember her new name. It was a cruiser not a sailboat….but a very nice boat! They were headed south also.
We planned on staying in Carrabelle the next day because there was another norther coming in. Everyone (except me, I was snoozing) went to a meeting at the marina office the following morning at 6:30 to meet with the local weather guru. It was going to calm down later that afternoon so we decided to leave around 3:00 and do a night crossing over to Tarpon Springs.
The crossing was easy (for a change)…we sailed all night without the motor which made for a peaceful time…almost....until!
THE GHOST RUNNER
I took the helm about 2030 so the captain could get some sleep. The radar was clear…the sails were full and peace had broken out in the world….okay not the last part. Anyway, around 2400 I noticed way in the distance two little pinpricks of light which flashed for a couple of seconds on the radar. I got the binos to see a little better but they were too far away. No problem, the radar was clear. Just as I was putting the binos down I saw a bright light off the starboard side. I looked at the radar and it was still clear. I grabbed the binos to try to get a better sense of what it was. It looked like a sailboat with their spreader lights on. Hmmmmmmm……still not on the radar. Was I hallucinating? The light got brighter and looked to be coming right at us off the starboard. Decision time! Do I wake the Captain or handle this myself. While I was debating with myself the boat came closer. I dropped the binos and prepared to make tactical maneuvers! The sailboat turned and I watched it silently glide by. The sails were down, the spreader lights were on and I saw no one at the helm. But the boat had turned and was falling fast behind us. It still did not show up on the radar, not even when it had dropped several miles behind. So you see….we have lived in haunted houses and now we were sailing the haunted seas!
Okay....this is a sunrise picture, sneaky of me...just when you were getting bored with my sunset pictures, I throw this one in. Just keeping you on your toes!!!
Around 0900 we made it to Anclote Island and dropped the anchor. Decided to stay there for the day and night and go into Tarpon Springs the next morning. That night the wind picked up and it was rock and roll time and stayed that way until we made it into the channel for Tarpon Springs.
The nuclear plant at the mouth of the Anclote River going into Tarpon Springs.
I just fell in love with this little town. It is the Sponge Capital of the world. In the early 1900’s 500 Greek divers and their families came here to work in the sponge industry and settled the town which is still very Greek to this day. Everywhere we went the people spoke Greek and English. Although, it is considered that there are two Tarpon Springs, the sponge docks, endless Greek restaurants and shops along Dodecanese Blvd and the historic downtown area. We did not make it to the downtown area but Dodecanese Blvd kept us occupied.
There were no slips big enough for us at the City Marina so we stayed across the river at The Landings Marina which had Captain Jack’s Seafood Restaurant… of course we ate lunch there then walked across the bridge to do the tourist thing! We visited endless sponge shops and ate Greek pastries at one of the many Greek bakeries. It was such a charming place and everyone was very friendly. Little old Greek men sporting Greek fishing hats were sitting in the park chatting…in Greek I am sure…most likely complaining about the tourist.
This mermaid was swimming above our heads as we ate lunch at Capt. Jack's
Me at Capt Jack's
The Captain at Capt Jack's
I think this was Capt Jack in another life.
Tarpon Landing Marina. I took this picture from the bridge.
This is a monument to the divers.
Captain in a dive suit.
I snapped a picture of baby sitting in a sponge from years ago. I just thought he was cute.
It does not take much to amuse me, so I found this sign amusing.
TIME TO EAT!!!
We asked many of the locals which Greek Restaurant was the best…most were not committed to any particular one, being that they were all owned by the same families, everyone said they were all the best. We came across one, Mama’s, which had a sign out front that said there would be a belly dancer performing tonight. So we figured we would go to the one with the live entertainment and how could you go wrong with a place named Mama’s???
After we took our afternoon naps…cruising is hard work!...We duded up and walked back to town to Mama’s. Everyone told us to try the flaming cheese, which we did, we ordered stuff off the menu that we could not pronounce, but was pretty tasty!
The Captain napping.
Our Greek dinner.
There was live Greek music during dinner and after we ate the belly dancer began to perform.
The Captain got into the spirit and decided to join her!!!!
As you can see he enjoyed himself!
We stayed one more day and I browsed around the shops by myself and we ate dinner at Capt Jack’s that night. Another boat had come in during the day and the couple, Al and Melinda, from that boat was setting at the next table. We stared chatting with them and we all decided to have one table. They were a hoot! They actually lived on their boat in Apalachicola but had decided to go south for several months. He was a retired Air Force guy and she was a nurse. Now here is the funny part! They actually knew a guy that Why Knot knows. I was not up on this story about the guy who bought a boat to replace the one he lost in Ike, sight unseen, in Apalachicola. I guess the boat was not what it had been sold as and needed lots of work. Al actually helped the guy get the boat ready so he could take it back to Clear Lake. Al called him on his cell and asked him if he knew Why Knot and the guy did and had heard all about us! Small World.
We left Tarpon Springs this morning and going down the inside. The Captain has the helm and I am down here working on my blog. ALERT!!! Captain needs me on deck to watch as we go under a bridge that was not on the chart??? YIKES!!!
Okay, I’m back! That was no fun! Nowhere on the bridge did it say how high it was so we squeaked under it very slooooooooow! You see this cruising is a full time job!
Anyway, I think I will get my nose out of the computer and watch the sights as they go by on our way to our next destination. Geeeze!!! Another bridge. Gotta Go!
Stay tuned for future updates.