July is no time to cruise the southwest coast of Florida. You’d have to be a little crazy (or have a really serious motivation, like, say, a significant family health issue that just can’t wait…) to cause you to sail these waters at this time of year. Why? Thunderstorms. Massive, angry thunderstorms that blow up from nowhere and make traveling on the water extremely treacherous. Since leaving Marathon in the Florida Keys a week ago, we’ve had to deal with these rapidly moving monsters every single day. If we get underway a little after sunrise, we can usually make five or six hours of progress before things start falling apart. Sometimes the day starts with a little tease that seems to say, “Today will be a better day.”
But shortly after noon, the skies once again grow angry and threatening, and distant peals of thunder and flashes of lightening start us looking for a safe place to tuck in for the rest of the day.
Sometimes we can find a hole to thread through between a pair of storms.
We constantly watch our radar, monitoring the rain clouds as they form around us, watching their strength and direction.
It has been a very stressful week. We’re pushing ourselves and Eagle Too extremely hard, and we’re all starting to feel the strain. But we’ve made good progress. We concluded our journey northward up this storm harassed coast today, pulling into a slip at Clearwater Beach Marina less than an hour before the skies opened up. Tomorrow, we strike out across the Gulf, with Apalachicola as our destination. It’s a passage of about 150 miles more or less. We’re planning to head out Clearwater pass as the sun rises, and we should be arriving at Government Cut off Apalachicola by mid-afternoon on the following day. Wish us luck!