Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Broken, Lost, and Did Someone Move the Island?

I spent a few hours today on my bunk with my pillow cradling my head, shielding my ears from a constant high-pitched alarm. We were broken and lost. But at least on calm waters on the Gulf ICW, a sunny warm day, in a populated area.

Last time I wrote we were anchored in St Petersburg and had a lovely easy onboard dinner.

Diversion -- forget 30 Minute Meals. On board I especially like 5 in 5 (the five ingredients came from a box, three cans, and a jar), unrefrigerated, like couscous with diced tomatoes, peas, tuna, and marinated artichoke hearts.

But as we were tucked in cozily to go to sleep the wind shifted. Once it blew through the cove we were in, it seemed to ricochet and so what had been leisurely rolling became chaotic rocking. Alan says he knows he slept because he kept getting woken up. A bad night for both of us.

So it was nice to start out early this morning as we had planned. Out of St Petersburg back towards Clearwater. We knew we had six or seven bridges to go under like yesterday. Most of the drawbridges are 25 feet high and need to accommodate taller masts (approx. 35 feet) like ours by opening.

Alan turns the marine band radio to channel 9 and says "Bridge tender, bridge tender. South going vessel, Dream On, requesting that you open. Thank you." The bridges will open at certain times (like every twenty minutes or on the hour) when requested.

Sometime after the second bridge the alarm went off. And wouldn't stop. Even after Alan felt the engine and checked it and took out the thermostat. We knew we had to get the boat to a marine service station. After calling and finding one, we looked for it. We continued motoring -- with that damn alarm shrieking. That's when I finally went down to my bunk. But I popped up every once in awhile -- because we couldn't find Marine Max. We had seen its on-the-water billboard, got directions...the man actually said, "It's behind the island,"...but I tell you there were many channels and islands.

Finally we found it, and docked, and the guys were helpful....and so our friend Mike slogged thru rush-hour traffic to pick us up once again. Boat will probably be there for a couple of days.

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