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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sailing the Intercoastal Waterway... Day Three.

Early morning Day Three found me eagerly wanting to raise sails and get on down the road but not before brewing a pot of coffee.

I'd already blown off the previous day loitering at Gilbert's Dockside Bar and doing little more than sipping on cold Heinekens while hoping an attractive female patron might perhaps show up and want to engage in a bit of conversation.

Unfortunately the few female patrons that did show up at that dockside bar all had a companion so I had little compelling reason to blow off yet another day at that bar and not get back under way.

So with a large mug of coffee awaiting me in the cockpit, I expediently raised the main, pulled up the anchor, unfurled the jib, and just like that S/V Blondie-Dog was swiftly sailing across Blackwater Sound and on towards her first distant channel marker.

There's plenty of depth in the water and it wasn't long before I spot my channel marker with the aid of binoculars. Before long I'm cranking up the outboard mounted on the stern of the boat and motoring on through Dusenbury Creek.

It's a relief of sorts to eventually emerge on the other side of that creek and out from the confines of the mangrove. Winds are out of the SSE and I shut that loud and obnoxious outboard motor down as soon as the sails fill up upon the boat making a westerly turn.

There is still a narrow channel to negotiate with red and green markers straddling the channel... all in close proximity of one another. Steady winds nevertheless make it easy to readily sail on through that channel.

It's not long before I'm once again having to crank up the outboard and motor on through yet another set of mangroves. Grouper Creek later dumps me out of its surrounding mangroves.

I'm on a sailboat and emphatically shut the motor down yet once again upon emerging from those mangroves. The sheer joy of simple sailing sets in yet again when the sails fill and the boat lurches forward. Soon enough, Buttonwood Sound is but an afterthought.

Sunset Cove, where I'd previously spent a few weeks at anchor back in early spring, is readily visible off my port beam. Nevertheless I'm not feeling any warm fuzzies as Blondie methodically sails on past.

Key Largo is decidedly enough a decent tourist destination but it definitely isn't all that cruiser friendly on the intercoastal side. Going ashore in one's dinghy is problematic to say the least. In any event I'll keep any forthcoming commentary on that matter in my hip pocket for the time being.

For now I'll simply state that part of the cruising experience is sometimes having to put up with unduly being made to feel like an unwelcomed rodent.

Blondie-Dog subsequently sails on through Baker's Cut going from one channel marker to the next. Somehow those channel markers have me thinking of a football field goal post and feeling as if I were Mike Vanderjagt successfully splitting the uprights on every attempt... as least when he wasn't kicking for the Cowboys.

But what the heck, Vandy's, his pizza restaurant on Marco Island, has great ambiance, serves decent food and has plenty of cold beer... so don't count on me harboring any lingering hard feelings about his short and uninspired stint with the Dallas Cowboys.

Four or five hours of sailing is pretty much my limit for any one day not withstanding cruising some of the most pristine blue waters to be found.

Soon thereafter I'm dropping the sails and setting a hook off of Channel Five located on the southern end of Lower Matecumbe Key.

Before long I mount my two-stroke outboard motor onto my dinghy and go off in search of a few cold ones at that ever-so-elusive, hedonistic dockside bar that I've yet to discover.

What can I say other than I aint's delivering a boat and I'll drop a hook when and where I please.

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