Log #7e To Tarpon Springs

December 29, 1998 in Log Series 02 - 07, Logs by Series, Series 07 Gulf Coast, The Logs

Subject: Log #7e To Tarpon Springs
Date: Wed, 09 Feb 2000 11:39:26 ‑0500 (EST)
Limehouse Basin, London
Feb. 8/00

Hi Folks,
Here is the next log  that I enjoyed recreating as it reminded me of the nice sunny days of December in 1998 as we sailed the warm, sunny Gulf and West coasts of Florida. Actually, here in London, in early February, spring has started with crocusses and snow drops blooming up through the lawns.

We just watched the fireworks at Canary Wharf for the Chinese New Year (Year of the Dragon, I think) from the enclosed cockpit of Veleda here at Limehouse Basin. They were even more impressive than the ones at New Year.

Things at school went better today as I was working with individual students in a remedial assistance room, and not having to ride heard on unruly classes. However, I can appreciate why some of these kids are so obstreperous, considering the difficult situations from which they come.

Now that I am working half time, I appreciate even more the time I have to putter around Veleda or visit museums or the historical sites of London.
Yesterday on a typical cold rainy London day, we visited the Merchant Navy memorial at Tower Hill. It was a sobering experience to see the list of the hundreds of merchant ships sunk with thousands of civilian merchant seamen crew whose names were inscribed on a bronze memorial wall encompassing the garden for WW II and a columned arcade for WW I seamen lost or buried at sea. Even though these wars were 55 to 85 years ago, there were still new poppies and small wooden crosses affixed to the walls, commemorating individuals still remembered by their families and friends. Unfortunately, Canada has been reluctant to acknowledge the contribution of our merchant seamen who served or gave their lives at sea during these conflicts.

Also at that location was the site of a memorial plaque for the various nobles, clergy, and leaders who struggled for their beliefs and lost, by their executions. It included such names as Thomas More, and the Duke of Buckingham associated with Richard III and the killing of the two princes. Other nobles (including  Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard, wives of Henry VIII) were beheaded inside the Tower of London, the “lesser” ones outside, on Tower Hill.

We are still enjoying our stay here, but are looking forward to getting under way in April.

Take care and enjoy Log #7e.
Log #7e To Tarpon Springs
Dec. 4 to Dec. 6, 1998
Written at Limehouse Basin, London

Feb. 8, 2000

In the last log, we had cleared the narrow channel between George and Little George Island and the 10 foot standing waves, and were making our way across Tarpon Bay to Tarpon Springs, inside Anclote Key on the northern part of the west coast of Florida, a distance of 150 nautical miles. It was a course of about 130 magnetic (SE), heading into a SE wind. What is new? Murphy’s Law! ( For you non-sailors, you cannot sail directly into the wind.)

We played around with the genoa, altering our course due south (180) to motor sail for a while, but gave up as we were going way off course. So we motored into it from noon hour on the 4th until midnight, when we tried to motorsail off and on until 0600, after which we continued to motor for the rest of the trip. During the night we saw a considerable amount of phosphorescence created by the bow waves and a hazy luminous wake from our propellor, now that we were in the clearer open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. At 1530 on the 5th, we entered through the cut past Anclote Key into the west coast Intra Coastal Waterway, and up to Port Tarpon Marina. There we refuelled with 17.5 gallons (70 litres) of diesel after 33 hours of continuous motoring and motor sailing (Again, for non-sailors, motor sailing is keeping the engine running in gear while having a sail up to assist). Not bad, as it averages out to 2 litres (a half gallon) per hour over 160 nautical miles, into the wind.

We then motored up a very busy waterway with power boats creating heavy wakes in the restricted channels into Tarpon Springs, to go alongside at Pappas Restaurant, a well-known Greek restaurant in that Greek sponge fishing resort community. Wending our way up into the port through channels lined with shrimp and sponge boats testified to the active fishing community Tarpon Springs is, as well as being one of the last sponge fishing areas of North America. The meal we had at Pappas was excellent, and it included a free overnight stay alongside, allowing us to stroll the quaint and commercial streets of this fishing community. It was like being on the Danforth, a Greek area of Toronto.

The next day, Dec. 6, we motored back down to Anclote Key, a whole 5 miles, to drop the anchor and have a nice lazy sunny day swimming, beachcombing,  and dinghying around the island, inhabited by all kinds of semitropical bird life. We saw pelicans, egrets, herons, kingfishers, and ibises. One of the beaches had a shimmering movement to it, and upon closer examination, we saw it was alive with hundreds of small land crabs, scurrying into their sand holes at our approach. We felt we were in the more traditional Florida beach atmosphere now. People, boats, condominiums, money, sun, sand, and clear waters. We have reached another stage of our travels, now we are going down the more populated west coast of Florida, as opposed to the less populated Gulf Coast.