Naples bay, looking South on our return from the Gulf
Despite the cold weather, we knew we needed to move Lucky today. As life aboard gets more and more comfortable, it's easy to fall into a routine that doesn't involve going anywhere. If we're to get to the Caribbean, Lucky needs to leave Naples.
Our mantra for this trip has always been "baby steps". It is time for our first baby step. Our plan: Leave the dock; refuel; head down the bay; out Gordon Pass and into the Gulf; turn around and come back.
Leaving the dock was pretty straight forward. Stow everything away down below. Unplug the shore power cord. Lines off. Away we go. Shame we forgot about the port stern line. Oops! In our defence, we'd never been in a double slip before and had never tied a line here. Fortunately we didn't smack the 60' yacht next to us and quickly threw off and gathered in the errant line.
The fuel dock is directly across from the slip, so that was really easy. The fuel gauge read 20%, so a quick calculation gave 300 gallons as the amount of fuel to top off our 375 gallon tank. I left the gauges on during refueling and had Stephanie let me know when we reached 100% on the gauge. 215 gallons later it read 100%. Well that can't be right. Boat fuel pumps don't have an automatic shut off, so you listen to the gurgles and when they get higher pitched, you slow down until there's a little froth at the fill port. I was able to add another 40 gallons. So the gauge reads 100% full at 90% and reads 20% full with 120 gallons (30%) in it. A 10% fudge factor at either end. Good to know!
After fueling we headed south down the channel. It's a narrow channel and the marker posts don't line up with where the charts say they are, so I was extra careful on my positioning. we were never in any danger of running aground, the shallowest it got was a 5' clearance below the props.
We had been warned and they were right. Going out of Gordon Pass was rough, thanks to the northerly wind. My best guess would be a 3-4' chop head sea. Waves over the bow and a little swirly. We went out passed the markers, turned around and came back in. Much smoother with a following sea. Coming in we watched dolphins body surfing the waves. How cool is that? we also saw a couple in the channel. They're everywhere. I can't wait to get in the water.
The trip back up the channel was a lot less nerve wracking than the trip out, which was the whole idea. I'm going to be a lot more confident on Friday and hopefully the chattering and questions can be fielded without me needing to say "leave me alone, I need to concentrate!"
It wasn't my best docking ever, but no gel coat (mine or anybody else's) was harmed.