WHAT has happened to this Florida weather?! Unbelievable! We got ourselves to Burnt Store Marina in Port Charlotte in advance of incoming bad weather and have now been sitting here for two days suffering through steady winds of up to 25 knots.
Although we’ve had some rain squalls, it’s the wind that’s the big issue and we’ve been rocking at the dock. Indeed, last night we yanked a cleat from the dock…. I mean clean out of the boards with our line still attached.
The lesson there is we must tie off to the pilings and not the dock cleats to be confident of the hold. Last night was worse than our previous “tornado night” at Baytowne in December, primarily because those winds were intense yet short whereas these have been sustained over hours.
Burnt Store Marina is the largest marina on the west coast of Florida with 525 slips, dry storage and pools, restaurants, etc… so there are worse places to be holed up. Despite the wind, the days have been OK with N getting an “opportunity” to play golf if you want to call it that. The winds were really bad and N slinked off the course having stopped keeping score after the 2nd hole and losing 4 golf balls over the 18. B had plenty of walking options and successfully “hunted” down several manatees waiting out the same storm in the marina. The first manatee sightings for us this trip!
One thing we’ve done here was to test how long we could run on our batteries. You’ll remember we bought two new ones in Demopolis, Alabama. Anyway, rather than plug into shore power, we ran one battery to dead. As it turns out the battery still had enough juice to run the lights and refrigerator after 36 hours, but not enough to start the engine (we still have another battery for that). Given that result we figure we can sit at anchor for 48 hours without starting the engine. You could argue we could go to 72 hours, but that would be relying on the Costco jump device we used last time we ran our battery down.
With any luck, we’ll be out of here tomorrow to an anchorage at Pelican Bay that everyone seems to say is the best on the West Coast.