Exploring Cayo Costa State Park – 11/25/15

First of All –

  • First time being anchored out 4 consecutive days

Namely Speaking-

  • Primo Point
  • Mondongo Island

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 2; Sail: 0
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 2,195
  • Hours Underway: 1/2
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 12.42
  • Wind Speed: 15-20; Wind Direction: NE
  • Daily High Temperature: 78
  • Water Temperature: 70

It’s breezy all night, but not as chilly as expected. It only gets down to 65, with a thin cloud cover when we get up. This clears quickly, and we have a nice sunny day ahead of ourselves, with no open water to navigate. After breakfast I haul the anchor in and we cross the bay to the state park dock. It’s not designed for boats like ours, so we drop the anchor a short way out. Even though we’re close to the dock I mount the kicker motor on the dinghy. I’m thinking the wind will strengthen in the afternoon, and I’ll appreciate not having to row back in choppy water. We tie up next to some other dinghies and walk over to the head of the dock. I drop $4 into the pay box to cover our day use fees, and we take off on the cross island trail, headed for the Gulf side of the island. DSCF9247We’re passed along the way by a tram loaded with campers, on their way to the campground which is located close to the Gulf beach. We walk down to the beach and begin our shell hunting stroll up the beach. Thick shoals of mostly small shells lie just above the reach of the small waves which break on the beach. We’re looking, mostly, for the colorful little clam shells known as coquina. The most prized ones are brightly colored, and with both halves of the shell still connected. When intact, they resemble tiny little butterflies. Once one starts walking up a beach like this, it becomes difficult to halt. The point, where Boca Grande Inlet defines the northern tip of the island, looks to be just a short distance ahead, but like a carrot dangled ahead of a goat’s cart, it seems to keep on receeding ahead of us. We’re bothDSCF9255 beginning to tire by the time we reach the inlet. We turn and follow it toward the bay side of the island, finally coming across one of the island’s many trails. We walk the trail which, thankfully, takes us into deep shade. Despite the fact that we’re surrounded on both sides by thick vegetation – palmetto, cabbage palm, scrub pine and gumbo limbo – we are cooled by the breeze which filters through the branches. The trail brings us past the site of the old quarantine dock, where back in 1900 all ships had to stop until their crew had passed inspection by the local doctor. We press on, our steps quickened by the occasional mosquito and by thoughts of ice cream bars at the park store. We sit on a shady bench near the dock and eat our ice cream. Our walk covered nearly 5 miles. We’re tired, but glad we put in the effort. We dinghy back to the boat, pull the anchor, and motor down to the south end of the island, where a nice little sheltering cove awaits us. We’re expecting strong winds over night, and this snug spot will provide us with excellent protection. One other power boat is anchored here, but there’s plenty of room for us both. We set the anchor in a good place, and relax for the balance of the afternoon. I try fishing from the cockpit shortly before dinner, with no luck. I’ve only been able to catch catfish so far, using those smelly old shrimp for bait. I try an artificial lure, but it’s no good. Tomorrow I’ll give the channel just across from us a try.

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