Sunday, March 4, 2012

My First Trip Away from the Dock!

Welcome Friends - to our corner of the Sea! This week-end we finally had enough of our "stuff" packed away to be able to take "Partners out for a week-end jaunt away from the dock - and what a fun time we had!

As soon as I left work, I texted Richard to tell him I was on my way. He so kindly - and so Captain-ly - he started doing all the hard work of undoing the shore power cables (50 lbs each!), cable TV wire, filling the tanks, getting the pump out barge here, undoing all the weathercloth screens we keep on the pilothouse windows to keep the sun out - and various checks of the engine and mechanics - just to be sure. By the time I arrived home, I just had to change clothes and start helping undo the dock lines.

- About that- We had a practice session earlier that week with the boat hook and which lines should come off first, etc... so I felt prepared. The sky was clear blue and weather was forcasted to be nice on Saturday - but a front was coming in on Sunday - with cooler temperatures. Nevertheless, we decided to go anyway and give it a whirl.

Richard manned the helm and backed us out of our slip like he was driving a Mercedes Benz! He sure knows how to handle a boat - and it makes me feel so confident to know that. As we motored out of Longboat Key Marina toward the channel to Sarasota Bay, I tidied up the dock lines and remembered to bring in the fender (after we'd been underway a bit...oops!)

It was so exciting for me to finally be asea on our beautiful boat! All the memories of "OP" (Old Partners) came flooding back and it felt so freeing to be traveling on water once again!

Of course I was on the bow and looking for dolphin - but no luck. I did get a few shots of the captain, though.... Most of the time he let "George" drive the boat (our autopilot) it was relaxing..

We had a good time motoring along Sarasota Bay. We found a nice spot near Ca D'Zan where we hung the hook and settled in for a relaxing evening. Richard showed me how the windlass worked, and how to remove the snubber. Then we had a drink and some cheese and crackers and talked about the boat and the charts and other stuff. There's a lot I have to learn and I'm ready to get started!

We so enjoyed the evening - the stars seemed so bright out there, and it was fun watching the planes land and the twinkle of the Sarasota downtown skyline.

As the night grew on, the wind and the waves picked up and we were getting a nice rocking sensation - but our hook stayed strong - we never dragged. The next morning we watched the sunrise and Richard made his traditional English Breakfast. The weather was windy - but still sunny, but we made the decision to return to the slip by early afternoon, because the weather for Sunday was going to worsen and we didn't want to battle the wind and current when we didn't need to.

We enjoyed the day motoring through the Ringling Bridge and into Marina Jacks. We saw another Kadey Krogen called "Mon Ami"- moored there and the Captain ran out on deck to wave at us and ask us where we were from! It was fun seeing the other boats and enjoying the friendly wave of a fellow sailor. Once a 65 foot Fishing boat blasted past at about 40mph and we wondered how anyone could afford the diesel for a boat like that.... We did see some fun sights though. A beautiful old sailing boat with lots of friends aboard....

The LaBarge - taking her afternoon cruise - with all those palm trees on top!... And even a friendly visitor to our cap rail!

Our Trip back was just as easy and Richard -once again - was a master at docking her - even with over 20 knot winds. The docklines - my part - didn't go nearly as smoothly....Those winds made it so hard for me to tighten up the lines. I was sweating and exhausted! Richard helped me and I manned the helm and bowthruster - but he spent a lot of time re-adjusting my lines to get them to handle those strong winds. I didn't realize how important it is to be precise with those lines. We woke up Sunday morning - to 35 knots winds - but our lady "Partners" held strong and firm with her mooring lines.

So , all in all, it was a great week-end. One of learning - and my Captain is a kind and patient teacher....We both got a taste of our dream for our future - a life at sea - traveling to many different places - and enjoying the simple things, like a bird or the beautiful weather and stars... and connecting with people... Dancing on the aft deck together after a dinner al fresco...that's what boating is all about for us....and hopefully...maybe you too - will find your dream in boating.

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