And another saltie season ends…

It’s been 3 weeks since we hauled Thyme Hyssop & Wry, packed up the van, put the boat “away” for the hot Florida summer, and drove home to Michigan.

We ended up spending an entire week at Burnt Store Marina, waiting for the winds to abate and shift for an easier motorsail north to the Gulf Cove lock in Charlotte Harbor. I personally enjoyed our time there: socializing with old friends, taking long daily walks through the marina and community, watching the many manatee and the occasional dolphins in the marina, and seeing some of the area by car, thanks to our friends Glen and Marilyn. We had some chilly overnights and mornings (another chance to wear the wool hat I knit for myself!). And, there were no daily worries as to what the weather or wind was going to do. Burnt Store Marina provides very good and comfortable protection from just about anything thrown at it.

Monday’s weather was finally looking favorable for getting to the lock. Low tide was shortly after 10:00 AM, so getting to the lock around noon, on a rising tide would be good. However, Ron gets antsy just waiting around. At 9:00 AM, we were ready to go. We generally overestimate the time to get somewhere by boat, figuring sea conditions are likely to slow us down, but in truth, we usually arrive at our destination early… as was the case in our trip to the lock. We left the slip at Burnt Store too early, we arrived at the lock too soon following low tide. We hit something “crunchy” three times in the marked channel leading to the lock. And then we were hard aground as we approached the lock, just off the dock. Fortunately for us, a small powerboat was able to make their way around us (as I operated the lock for them from the dock, which we were blocking), and as the lock opened, letting lots of water rush out towards us, we were floating again and were able to get into the lock following them. However, because we were at a low tide and the difference in water level from the harbor and canal was likely at its greatest difference (probably 4 feet), there was a LOT of turbulence. Let’s just say, we will never do that lock again at low tide. Locking up and down the 21 feet last summer at the Soo was a piece of cake compared to the Gulf Cove lock this year!

We weren’t expected at Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage’s dock until around 4:00 PM that afternoon, and so we anchored in Interceptor Lake for the afternoon. We ate a decent last-lunch-at-anchor, took down our headsail and folded it as best we could on the deck of the boat, launched the dinghy and outboard one last time for the season and ran the fuel out of the outboard. It was a beautiful afternoon: warm and sunny and breezy. And when it was time, we raised anchor one last time and motored the rest of the way to the haul-out dock where we enjoyed one final brilliant Florida sunset.

We were hauled that next morning. The most memorable part of the day was the difference between the two bottom paints Ron was testing for Practical Sailor this season. We had noticed that one paint was doing a better job than the other at the waterline, but the difference was very conclusive on THW’s bottom. 

We said goodbye to Thyme Hyssop & Wry the following afternoon and headed north to our friend’s home near Sarasota where we spent a wonderful evening relaxing in her beautiful, comfortably air-conditioned home (why is it always mid-80’s and humid when we haul this boat?), cleaning up for our trip home, and best of all, enjoying friendship. We’re already looking forward to spending time with Soñadore in the North Channel this coming summer. 

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