By early afternoon of May 6, 2016, the Captain had finished up a few last minute errands in Pensacola and we pushed off from the dock for a 280 mile crossing through the Gulf of Mexico to St. Petersburg, Florida. Weather was finally good again, blue skies and calm seas. Winds were a bit on the light side, but we weren’t complaining.
Finally out of the ICW I really started to notice the touch of blue creeping into the dark green water. This raised my spirits and after a nice long rest I was ready for the next couple days.
I did my first watch while the Captain made up the watch schedule. The winds had clocked around and were now coming out of the southwest. I set the sails and turned off the motor. Together with the following seas we were on course and set for a nice evening.
By my second watch we were already in the deep blue stuff. This made me very happy. In behind us the sun was getting closer to the horizon and the Captain heated up a couple pot pies for dinner. In the sailing world it doesn’t get much better than this… and then it did.
Just as the sun was setting a pod of dolphins showed up to surf the wake around the boat. I cannot describe to you the amount of joy this brought me. It’s so exhilarating to watch them ride the waves and leap out of the sea. I’ve never seen any animal have so much fun before. They hung around until just after twilight which was the best set up for the first overnighter.
For the remainder of our sail my mind wandered. In my head I solved the worlds problems, got married, had children, played guitar for thousands of people, traveled all over, etc. Who would’ve known all that can be accomplished so far from society? Winds died on us and the seas had laid down considerably, so we had to motor the second half the the crossing.
By late afternoon on Sunday May 8th we pulled into St. Petersburg safely, the Captain, his dog, I, and Phil (a small bird that hitched the ride into town), 50 hours after leaving Pensacola. Thankfully our anchorage that night was super calm and we were able to get a nice rest for the next days trip from St. Petersburg to Venice, FL.