…as we saw going north, it’s a small wonder we weren’t hung up many more times than just once.
The Cruiser’s Net at Boot Key Harbor regularly comments on the number of crabpots you encounter when sailing north on the Gulf side. We considered it so much hyperbole. After all, we had sailed north on the Gulf side a year ago and thought that there were fewer crabpots on the Gulf side than on the ocean side. We regularly saw crabpots in the middle of the Hawk Channel and they’re everywhere outside the Channel. In the Gulf they seemed in some sort of order (long lines) and they were easy to avoid. Apparently, this is a different year.
We spent two long days sailing north to Marco Island from Marathon and we’ve never seen so many crabpots, ever. Oh yes, most had an order to them: long lines of crabpots that went as far as the eye could see. And they were everywhere. And some were very close together. We actually passed two crabpots placed about 50 feet apart with a line, floating on the water’s surface, that tied them together. If we ran into something like that the night we sailed to Marathon, it would easily explain how we were stopped dead in the water. What are they thinking?
Normally on these long days of sailing, I spend time knitting a small project in the cockpit; Ron and I might both spend some time reading as our autopilot keeps us on a steady course. These two days north, we were both on crabpot alert the entire time. The sail from Marathon to the Little Shark River had us constantly veering 10º one way or the other to dodge crabpots directly in our boat’s path. It was exhausting. And we don’t plan to do another overnight through these waters again!