Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tropical storm Alberto swept past Tampa on June 11-13. Winds in the storm center were about 70mph. Winds hit 40kts in the marina while I was onboard during that period. The other live-aboards next to me were also busy tying extra lines to the dock and giving their boats extra space from the docks. We didn’t get much sleep Sunday or Monday nights with the wind shrieking through the shrouds and the storm surge and waves providing plenty of noise as well. Every new bang in the night sent me back on deck to look for problems. Stardust seemed to be saying “Take it easy, we can handle this”. It turned out to be a good “practice storm” for me. We didn’t have any problems.

The previous Monday, the 5th, Kathy, Rachel, and I were joined by Terry Reynolds, his son Jeff, and Jeff’s friend Chloe on an afternoon sail to Egmont Key. We anchored just offshore of the island, and went for a swim. We then sailed off the anchor for practice which went well.
Navigating home up the Manatee River by memory instead of chartplotter, I nonchalantly passed on the wrong side of a marker, and we ran aground. We easily backed off with the strong power of our Yanmar, and I thought about how I had let down my guard, being almost home, feeling complacent. No damage, and a valuable lesson (but I’d prefer not to learn lessons the hard way). Kathy still trusts me for some reason (maybe because she knows Mom and Dad will be onboard with us soon). What a wonderful wife I have!

Alberto has left us increasingly nervous about our late departure, but we don’t have a choice. Still much to do before we can leave. As much as we’d like to depart on July 4th amid the rocket’s red glare of Tampa fireworks, it will probably be around the 7th when we shove off.