A New Subplan

A visitor!

I’ve been listlessly moving north. I stopped here in Sarasota yesterday and didn’t move today. Tomorrow I’ll head up to Tampa Bay. There is a dinghy dock next to a grocery store here, so I stocked up yesterday and got Chinese takeout for dinner. Got a few boat maintenance chores done today. Monday night I anchored near Englewood and didn’t get off the boat.

Mostly I’m moving slow because I’m waiting for a weather window to go to Crystal River. I haven’t been there before. One pledge that I made to myself was that I wouldn’t leave Florida until I’d seen a manatee up close. I caught glimpses of them on the St John’s River on Escapade, but that’s it. Apparently there are lots there this time of year.

Things are now falling into place, as they inevitably do. So here’s the plan for the next month or so, all of which I’m excited about.

Saturday looks like a good day to head for Crystal River. I’ll get underway early from Dunedin. I’m planning to be there for a few days while some wind goes through. Eric and Rosalie are visiting me there on Sunday. Maybe we’ll go looking for manatees.

From Crystal River I go to the Suwanee River, about 50 miles up the coast. This requires daylight for the entire trip, calm seas approaching the river, and ideally a high tide. The entrance is shallow and the bottom hard. But once into the river, I’m planning to do a return upstream trip of about 35 miles each way. It’s mostly remote wilderness. I’m pumped. Need to get the lyrics for the Stephen Foster song.

From there it’s a hop further up to Steinhatchee. I went in there with Escapade and was quite taken by the place.

The last hop is to St Mark’s, about 20 miles south of Tallahassee. Another small place I’ve never been.

This whole area is quite different from the rest of Florida. These are the only four ports along the entire section of coastline that I can get in to, and entering without mishap requires favourable conditions and maybe some good fortune. It’s all pretty shallow and exposed. The alternative route is a ~150 mile straight line cutting the bend, but there’s not much adventure in that.

At St Mark’s I hope to find dockage for a couple of weeks and fly home to Ontario. There are convenient flights out of nearby Tallahassee. I’m ready for some family time, and a break from the boat is always good. And my schedule has sufficient slack it it. I was a bit concerned about heading north too early. When I get back in February I can travel with purpose.

All good! Will try to take some pictures as I go along.

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