January 26, 2016 – Tuesday – Shark River Anchorage to Banana Bay Marina, Marathon – 45.3 statute miles traveled

We were up before daylight to prepare ourselves and the boat for departure. It was a beautiful night and as the sun approached the horizon on its way to sun rise the full moon was bright in the sky and the western horizon was a purple blue.

The tidal current was, once again, flowing strongly and we found that the anchor was seriously stuck on the bottom. After bringing in the scope of the rode the windless pulled the bow down. I drove up on the anchor and it still wouldn’t break loose. I drove over the anchor and after some bow bobbing the anchor finally broke free. I am guessing that bottom was strewn with sunken logs and we were under the edge of one.

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You can’t see it but a pelican decided to take up residence in Namaste’s dinghy – the second knob from the left.  Seen as we were pulling out of Shark River

All seven boats at the anchorage pulled out within 20 minutes of each other and it was a pretty sight following the boats out of the “river” and onto an almost glassy Gulf of Mexico. Soon there were small wind waves but the seas were calm for the first 40 miles before the wind began to pick up.

All of the way across this portion of the Gulf we found crab pots everywhere. It was hard to grasp the numbers. We had to watch very carefully to miss running over them. Wanting to leave the autopilot steering the boat I watched to make sure they were going to pass by us on either side. On several occasions it was necessary to hand steer to miss a pot as they approached dead ahead. Finally one looked as if it was going to barely pass us on our port side but apparently the current had the pot pulled hard to the port side and the line went right under the boat. We found that the line cutter on the prop shaft worked great but not until the pull of the float under the boat placed it into the propeller. The line was severed quickly and the float came up behind the boat in many pieces. Sorry crabbers but I guess that is the chance you take when covering the surface with pots seriously impeding navigation.

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Crab boat pulling pots.  It all happens so fast it is hard to follow the entire operation.  Up, empty, bait and drop in just a few seconds.  I guess then really can tend the gazillion pots that are out there.  

As soon as we were within cell service distance I called Banana Bay to confirm our reservation and was pleased to find that we still had a spot. They had called a couple of times yesterday to confirm but we had no cell service on the high seas or at Little Shark River so didn’t get there messages. Vicki called Namaste to let them know what we were doing and give them the numbers to call should they want to try to get a spot at Banana Bay as well. They did call and got the last spot though their spot was only good for two days – enough time for them to research other options.

Arriving after 1600 the regular dock master, Mike met us with another boater and they helped us get settled in a slip with a fixed diagonal finger pier. Fortunately the tide here is usually less than two feet so lines don’t have to be too slack to accommodate the rise and fall. We had a problem with the shore power but another boater loaned us a 50’ power cord in order to reach a functional power pedestal and we were good to go.

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Our first mooring spot at Banana Bay Resort and Marina.  The slips are diagonal to the front walkway making it difficult to pull to far in and in this case causing us to go over the rail to get to the finger pier.

Vicki went to the pool while I messed with the power problem. We were invited to join other boaters in the marina for Chart Hour and then walked over to Blackfin Restaurant for Taco Tuesday.

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