Monday, January 26, 2009

Marco Island

Armando, Susie and Steph enjoying lunch

Sunday was our second trip out, this time with Susie and Armando.  Rather than head back up to Sanibel, we decided to head down to Marco Island, about 9 miles south of Gordon Pass.

In many ways it was a similar experience to Friday's trip.  The differences, however, are worth pointing out.  There was a lot more traffic, especially in the channel.   Enough, in fact, that I had to moderate my speed based up the boats ahead.  The channel was also a little rougher as smaller boats zipped around us bigger fish, rocking us with their wakes.  Complimenting the greater number of boats, the radio traffic was a lot more lively.  Most amusing was the off color cursing that followed the less considerate boats as they rocked all the anchored boats around Marco Island.  The vessel "Lark" seemed to be a particularly bad offender.  We anchored out in the Gulf, about one and a half miles off Marco beach, and weren't bothered at all.  There were a lot more crab pots to deal with.  I think when we head south, I'll take us much further off shore - 6 or so miles into deeper water - and try to get away from them.

Not quite so many dolphins on this trip.  I think the heavy traffic in the channel kept them away.

One "baby step" I took on this trip was creating a route to follow.  I used my PC to plot a course from Gordon Pass to Marco Island and uploaded it into the Raymarine chart plotter.  Then, once we had cleared Gordon Pass, I turned the auto pilot into "track" mode and allowed it to steer us all the way.  I had to avoid crab pots manual and determined the best way to do this and then re-engage the auto pilot.  What happened after the auto pilot was re-engaged was another useful piece of information.  It turned us back onto the original track.  I can reset the track to be between current position to next waypoint as well and sometimes that was the better thing to do.  This is good information to know and will help tremendously when we start our longer passages.

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