Friday, November 17, 2017

Preparing for the Crossing.

The Route for our  Crossing

Preparing for crossing the Gulf of Mexico actually started in Panama City where we filled our fuel tanks up with diesel.  My main concern on this boat is getting dirty fuel and clogging up the filters causing the engine to not perform or quit running.  After two days and over 100 miles in choppy, turbulent seas we are confident we have good fuel for the crossing.  (the boat pitching and rolling in choppy water causes the fuel to slosh around in the tanks so if any junk is in there we most likely would have an issue by now).  We have done our own Gulf crossing weather analysis and since all weather data comes from NOAA we are liking what we see forecasted.  If at least 3 weather (wave height/wind speed) predictions agree then our confidence goes up.  Also, other experienced Loopers are all doing their own independent assessment and have an opinion as well.  In the end it is up to each captain to make the decision to go or not go.

This morning (Friday 11, Nov) we will fill our fresh water tanks and prepare food to take to the flybridge to minimize the trips down below.  A trip to the ACE Hardware store and a last minute stroll through the local IGA grocery store will be made for any last minute impulse junk food/gadget purchases.

A total of about 10 or so boats will be crossing today out of Carrabelle.  We have organized into 3 groups based on what speed our boats/crew are comfortable cruising at.   There are a couple of sailboats that cruise around 6-7 mph/gps, Viridian, Golden and Observer at 8.5 mph/gps and last group is 9-10 mph/gps.  These are the Laid Back Loopers that require overnight passage.  Fast movers will do a daylight crossing but I don't know if any are those are here.

We will leave Carrabelle at 2:00 and go through East Pass between Dog Island and St, George Island where we will begin our passage 153 miles across the Gulf to the "R4" red buoy Northwest of Tarpon Springs.  The speed difference in the boat groups will soon separate everyone leaving the groups with same speeds working together on a VHF channel unique to that group.  We will check on each other hourly by radio and maintain radar/ASI contact as well.  Looking forward to a good cruise.

BTW, here is some interesting history on Carrabelle according to Wiki:

In 1528 the first Spanish expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez passed through the area on its way from Tampa Bay to the Rio Grande. From the late 17th century through early 18th century a few passages referring to the area are mentioned. Carrabelle, Dog Island, and St. George Island served as points to stage raids on local ports as well as San Marcos de Apalache in 1677 and 1682.


In 1876 explorer Nathaniel Holmes Bishop of Medford, Massachusetts, navigated the Crooked River through the lowlands east to the Ochlockonee River. In 1877, Oliver Hudson Kelly from Massachusetts founded the town and named it "Rio Carrabella". The following year the first U.S. post office was established with its address as Rio Carrabella. By 1881 the population was between 500 and 600 people.

In 1891 the Carrabelle, Tallahassee and Georgia Railroad was established to connect Carrabelle northward through Tallahassee to the Florida-Georgia line and eventually terminating in Augusta, Georgia.

The City was chartered by the Florida Legislature in 1893.
On August 1, 1899, the 2nd hurricane of the season struck the area, almost destroying the town and leaving just nine homes.

In 1942, Camp Gordon Johnston was opened for the purpose of training amphibious soldiers on nearby beaches. The camp trained a quarter of a million men and closed in 1946.


On August 23, 2008, Tropical Storm Fay made its record fourth landfall in the state of Florida at Carrabelle.n 1528 the first Spanish expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez passed through the area on its way from Tampa Bay to the Rio Grande. From the late 17th century through early 18th century a few passages referring to the area are mentioned. Carrabelle, Dog Island, and St. George Island  served as points to stage raids on local ports as well as San Marcos de Apalache in 1677 and 1682.


In 1876 explorer Nathaniel Holmes Bishop of Medford, Massachusetts, navigated the Crooked River through the lowlands east to the Ochlockonee River. In 1877, Oliver Hudson Kelly from Massachusetts founded the town and named it "Rio Carrabella". The following year the first U.S. post office was established with its address as Rio Carrabella. By 1881 the population was between 500 and 600 people.

In 1891 the Carrabelle, Tallahassee and Georgia Railroad was established to connect Carrabelle northward through Tallahassee to the Florida-Georgia line and eventually terminating in Augusta, Georgia.

The City was chartered by the Florida Legislature in 1893.


On August 1, 1899, the 2nd hurricane of the season struck the area, almost destroying the town and leaving just nine homes.

In 1942, Camp Gordon Johnston was opened for the purpose of training amphibious soldiers on nearby beaches. The camp trained a quarter of a million men and closed in 1946.
On August 23, 2008, Tropical Storm Fay made its record fourth landfall in the state of Florida at Carrabelle.

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