…and another saltie season ends.

We left Interceptor Lake immediately following our breakfast to finish our motorboat ride through the rest of the canals, to reach the storage yard. Ron was a “nervous nellie” the entire way: depths were less than what had been reported previously. We rarely saw anything above 6 feet and most of the way, we had less than 6″ clearance under our keel. Port Charlotte Yacht Storage’s directions to avoid the many shallows as you approach your final turn get a bit complicated. We dragged through soft bottom as we made our final turn, but then we were finally on the straightaway to the dock where we would be hauled, and they were ready for us. Whew! We made it!

 

This little guy (or girl?) showed up off our stern immediately after docking for haul-out. This was the first alligator we have seen (though we heard their "barking" at Shark River) since leaving Indiantown in early January.

Our first experience with this boat storage yard has been positive. We were hauled at the time we were scheduled. The staff all seem very competent and are friendly and welcoming. The boats stored in these yards seem to be well-maintained by their owners; we saw nearly no boats that would be classified as “derelicts.” (Perhaps those boats have been disposed of?) We discovered that this yard has the equipment to take masts down, should we need this service again at some point in the future. (We spent a small fortune last season at Indiantown as we had to hire an independent crane… twice!)

We were blocked, with hurricane-straps in place, by late that afternoon. At that point, it was time for the dirty and hot work of preparing Thyme Hyssop & Wry for the relentless sun, heat, and humidity of the Florida summer. Ron and I were worn out and hot when we went to bed that night, and we woke hot and weary the following morning. However, we managed to get our list whittled down by early afternoon and decided, rather than spending another hot, sleepless night aboard the boat, to bid her farewell for a few months and begin heading north.

Our good friend Melissa, who cruises the North Channel aboard Sonadore, recently moved to Sarasota and had invited us to stop by or stay the night on our way north. She and Sophie (her wonder-rescue dog) welcomed us that evening with open arms, even though we were hot, sweaty, and covered in boatyard dust. Her new home was a sanctuary: cool and dry and clean and oh-so-comfortable. It was such a wonderful evening with good drinks, good food, good conversation, and very special friendship. Melissa has no idea what a gift her hospitality means to us.

It’s been two weeks since we left the shimmering white heat of Florida and began driving north into the more dappled light of the Michigan spring. It’s felt good to be home, but it didn’t make leaving Thyme Hyssop & Wry any easier. We put her away for the summer as best we could, and hope that she’ll survive the summer well. We worry about hurricanes; it was a hot winter with temperatures regularly in the mid-80’s, and the Gulf waters are very warm. Forecasters are predicting fewer hurricanes this season, but that is certainly no guarantee.

The Placida/Port Charlotte area was hit very hard by Hurricane Charley a few years back. I keep remembering a scene in John Irving’s “The World According to Garp.” Garp and his wife are looking at a house for sale when a low-flying plane crashes into the house. Garp immediately decides that they will buy the house because the chances of it ever being crashed into by another plane are nearly nil. Unfortunately, this logic probably doesn’t really follow with hurricanes, though.–jes

Thyme Hyssop & Wry, stored on the hard. Note the straps in place, hopefully helping her stay put in hurricane-force winds. However, boats stored next to us were not strapped down, so there are no guarantees!

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2 thoughts on “…and another saltie season ends.

    • Interestingly, no one seems to take their masts down for storage. It seems the only masts that come down have problems that can’t be solved with someone climbing to the top. Neither Glades nor Indiantown (along the Okeechobee) have equipment to remove masts. We had to hire (and the yard coordinate) a private crane to take our mast down a year ago, and to return to hoist our mast this past December. It wasn’t cheap! We were pleasantly surprised to see that Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage has the equipment on site and if it were needed, it would be available to us.–jes

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