When East Meets West
When we returned from the Bahamas in June, we left the boat in Fort Myers, FL so that we could have some work done on the boat. I won’t bore you with the details (but if you’re interested, take a look at the maintenance section to see what we’ve been working on). Work completed, it’s time to move Double Wide to the opposite coast of Florida to get in a better position to cross over to the Bahamas.
There was a light fog on the water as we left Fort Myers early on the morning of December 28. Our plan was to head south until there was no more land to the left of us, then turn left and motor/sail west until there was no more land to the left and make another left turn to head up the coast.
Last year when I made this trip with my friends Tom & Greg, the wind was blowing HARD from the South East, making the trip down the coast a miserable slog. This year, we had almost no wind and the Gulf was as flat as a lake. We stopped for the night at Marco Island.
Some of you may know that this is crab season on the Florida Coast which means CRAB POTS! Once you get south far enough to turn left the pots are thick. Sailing (or in our case motoring) through the crab pot fields is not a “set it and forget it” exercise. It takes vigilance to keep from running over a pot and getting a line caught up in the props. Michelle and I each took turns at the helm and dodged the pots.
We pushed hard to get through Florida Bay and made it to Marathon around 8:00 PM. BTW, dodging pots after dark is especially fun!
I don’t have a problem with fishermen making a living and they have every right to put out crab pots — I just wish they’d keep them lined up properly! Seriously, the pots that are lined up and spaced nicely are easy to avoid. It’s the guys that throw their pots all willy-nilly over the place that really piss me off! It’s virtually impossible to work your way through them.
And that’s when we got a pot line wrapped around one prop! To be accurate, we really don’t know when it happened. Neither of us noticed anything different until we got to Jewfish Creek and I put the engines in reverse. As soon as I felt the vibration I knew I was going swimming!
As I searched through the choices for knives to use to cut the line off the prop, I considered many options, but decided on a fillet knife so that I could easily get the tip up and under the line to cut it free quickly. In my defense, the strategy worked perfectly and I freed the line within minutes. Then (this is where it all goes bad) I decided to use the knife to scrape the barnacles off the props. Somehow the tip of the knife ended up deep in my wrist…
Nurse Michelle quickly administered first aid — and I’m proud to say that I didn’t get a single drop of blood on the boat!
So, four days, thousands of crab pots, 70 gallons of fuel, a stabbing, and one great adventure later, we’re on a mooring ball at Dinner Key Marina south of downtown Miami. We’ll leave the boat here until around the 28th of February and then we’ll head across the Gulf Stream for another wonderful Bahamas Adventure. We can’t wait!!