In this episode we continue south on a beautiful downwind daysail from Venice Beach to Boca Grande Pass, then spend a few days anchored at Cayo Costa State Park. We noticed a couple of younger cruisers drop their anchor next to us, so we dropped by to say hello. Despite what YouTube might have you think, most people out there sailing are closer to our parents’ age than ours. There’s nothing wrong with that, in fact it’s super cool. But when we meet other young cruisers whose interests align with ours, we jump at the chance to take a break and have a little fun — especially since we never know when we’ll run into them again!
Annie and Phillip aboard S/V Plaintiff’s Rest (havewindwilltravel.com) invited us to join them for a beach day full of of kiteboarding, swimming and “hunting” for manatee; the following morning Annie gave Lauren an aerial silks lesson aboard their boat. It was a pretty rad couple days all around. Many thanks to Annie & Phillip for showing us a good time.
Hope you enjoy!
Lauren & Kirk
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[Kirk] What do you think?
It’s about time we leave this boat.
[Kirk] Fo sho.
[Lauren] Over the past few episodes we’ve been making our way down the West Coast of Florida. Last time, we left St. Petersburg and landed here in Venice. After charging up our batteries at a marina, we moved back under the hook, a little over a hundred feet away from the dock. Right smack in the middle of the pass.
[Lauren] The next morning we had swung a hundred and eighty degrees from the direction in which we had set the anchor. So Kirk wanted to jump in and check on it.
There’s a giant crab trap.
[Lauren] Is that what we’re on?
No but the chain’s next to it. So the anchor is reversed. Because the tide changed. And we set it going that way. I mean it’s in the ground a little bit, but it definitely looks like it’s dragging. Cause we’ve come back about forty feet. We’re right in the middle of the tide so this should start calming down then we’ll switch around and we’ll be the right way again.
[Lauren] So hopefully, we’ll really just be fine for the next, eighteen hours.
[Lauren] All right.
[Lauren] The following day we’d scooted out of Venice Pass and into the Gulf. For a thirty nautical mile sail south to Cayo Costa.
There’s 15. 16.
[Lauren] Do you wanna put them on the other side?
No, I think we need to pull them in.
[Kirk] Previously we talked about how we’d been struggling to generate enough power, with just the 160 watts of solar we mounted on the Dodger. But this was no surprise, really. We had another 260 watts sitting in the corner berth. But thanks to our Bimini debacle in Mobile, we had nowhere to mount them. So if wanted any chance of staying out of the marina for a little while, our only option was to temporarily lash them to the deck. This was the first time we left them out there while sailing. And even though we tied them down well, they were especially vulnerable with the wind picking up. So Lauren went forward to bring them below.
[Kirk] And the cameras create…
[Kirk] So that’s, eight and a half knots.
[Lauren] Now it’s eight six for a second.
[Kirk] Ooh, wow!
[Lauren] Yeah Crab trap. Right in the channel. Oooh. Eight seven.
[Lauren] After dropping our sails and firing up the engine, we entered a narrow channel to get into an anchorage at Cayo Costa. An island which you can only get to by boat, and much of which is designated as a State Park.
[Lauren] Kirk, what’s going on?
We are motoring about a hundred feet from shore.
To stay in nine foot of water. Cause it’s shallower over there. And we are going to find an anchorage with, 20 knots of wind blowing right now. Which is, kinda wild.
[Lauren] Wanna drink an entire bottle of wine and pass out.
[Kirk] Is that a question? Or are you telling me what you feel like?
Mmmmmm… You can edit any punctuation you’d like.
[Kirk] Got it.
I think probably a half a glass of wine would make me pass out.
[Kirk] All this solar we have scattered all over the deck.
[Lauren] I’m just glad the solar is in.
[Kirk] Solar panels everywhere.
[Lauren] Wow, that looks good.
It is very windy. We had a beautiful sail today. We were sailing downwind. With following seas all morning. And then we turned upwind to go into Grand Boca Pass I think the name of it was. What’s that? Boca Grand Pass And we turned upwind and realized we had like 16 knots of wind. We were just going downwind so it felt like nothing. But the wind was actually also picking up in the afternoon. And we’ve been seeing gusts of 20 through here. A bunch of people have been having issues anchoring, with their jibs unfurling on them and there’s been all sorts of drama. Around the anchorage. Luckily we set the hook and it dug in pretty hard and we haven’t moved at all, so I’m hoping, despite there being a ninety degree wind shift tonight, and it picking up even more, I’m hoping that we’re gonna sleep pretty, pretty comfortably. We’re pretty well spaced out in here. We’ve got a lot of room in case anything does happen. And we’re gonna be fairly well protected when the wind changes directions, so. I really need some sleep, I only got about two hours last night. Boat life
[Lauren] Another boater just dinghied over to our boat. There’s a bilge alarm, maybe, or a CO2 alarm, or some sort of alarm going off on the boat, just past the two of our boats. And he came over and he asked Kirk if he wanted to ride over with him in the dinghy to see what’s going on. The people aren’t there, their dinghy is gone. They’re most likely just at the beach, but, who knows.
It was an anchor alarm app on his iphone that he had plugged into his stereo. So it made it really, really loud.
I wanna ask him what anchor alarm app…
It’s a nice, it’s a nice idea, for sure.
[Kirk] So we’ve been anchored out in Cayo Costa for the last two nights. We saw a youngish couple come into the anchorage and thought we’d go over and introduce ourselves. Because we don’t see a whole lot of younger people out sailing. And it just so happens, they are Annie and Philip from Have Wind Will Travel it’s a website that Annie started and they’re avid kiteboarders. So, this morning they came over and invited us to head over to the beach with them. So we’re gonna go have a picnic lunch and today we play!
[Kirk] What do you think?
It’s about time we leave this boat.
[Kirk] Fo Sho
We’ve been stuck in the boat for, when was the last time we got on land? Was it when I went for a run, like three nights ago.
So. Yeah. We were crammed in here all yesterday and it was a beautiful day outside. Couldn’t even miss it though. Neither of us had a spare second to think about it. So. Yeah, it’s Saturday ♪ Saturday ♪
[Kirk] On the beach All right, they’re loading up. They’re hopping in their dinghy.
[Lauren] Aw, shit.
Let’s go do it!
This is gonna be, by far the longest dinghy ride we’ve done.
First time in the Gulf, for me.
For me too.
But you’ve been in the water before.
Yeah, in the Venice Pass.
That was it.
Checking the boat.
What are we doing?
We’re hunting Manatee.
Yeah Gonna shoot a Manatee
[Kirk] Yeah Oh wow.
[Kirk] It makes me so happy, every time I look at this. 16.8 amps right now, Bird.
Whooo!! Hot diggity!
[Kirk] When designing our electrical system I took an inventory of everything on the boat that would draw power. I created an energy audit and battery bank sizing tool that I used to roughly calculate our daily electrical consumption, and estimated the worst case scenario. With this information I knew that we could fit just enough solar on our Dodger and Bimini to meet our daily needs. And it was awesome knowing that once we could mount all these panels permanently, we’d be fully self-sufficient electrically.
What are we gonna do with all this power?
[Kirk] We’re gonna throw a light party.
Turn on every light in the cabin?
[Lauren] Apologies for our GoPro right here. For some reason it decided to freeze the video, but keep recording audio.
[Lauren] Yesterday we hung out with Annie and Philip. This morning Annie rode over right as I was opening the forward hatch and said “Hey!Silk training in 30 minutes!”
[Kirk] What’ happening up here?
Do I take these out? Or do I hold those. Hold the weight of those.
I’ll hold you, and see what happens we’ll slowly… Lift your feet up. You’re gonna come up.
That’s it! But you did it! You went upside down, that’s cool.
Isn’t that fun
[Friend] She’s like, I don’t trust it, I’m not gonna let go.
[Lauren] We hope you guys liked this one. We wanted to thank Annie and Philip for the primers on kiteboarding and aerial silks. And for giving us an excuse to get out and have some fun.
We wanna talk to you guys about work.
Are you self-employed, are you retired, did you win the lottery.
How do you manage rental properties while living on a sailboat?
Did we have debt?
[Kirk] What’s our budget for sailing?
[Lauren] Wait, wait, wait. You forgot to tell us what work you do.
[Kirk] How much of that coffee is in our budget?