After all the cool rainy weather we'd had, I must have looked like I'd paid off the weather gods on this Saturday morning. The air was dry and clear, and there was no rain in the forecast for the entire weekend. Finding Davis Island is not a problem once you've pointed your vehicle at downtown Tampa, but finding the Davis Island Yacht Club ramps and Peter O'Knight Airport seemed to have some of our out of town members stumped for a while. You know who you are. Regardless, we all showed up at the appointed time, and found that Steven Wood had launched the night before with his Bay Hen. Not only was he a day early, but he launched at the wrong ramp in the sea plane basin. No harm done, Steve stuck around to help everyone else get off their trailers and into the water. Thanks for that Steve! Ed and Becky were first in the water as usual, while Ted and Sher were taking their time setting up Sundancer, their Precision 21. I kept looking for Steve Morrill, since it was his idea to sail to Fantasy Island, but he didn't show up until the after noon at Fantasy Island. Bill Fite brought his big gun, the Beachcomber 25, Beach Bum, which he keeps by his house on Davis Island. Scott and Charmaine Baumer arrived after a long drive from the east coast with their SeaPearl Tri, Kitty B. Bob Wood followed me over from Pinellas County with his Dovekie, Ocita, All together their were six boats from the club that sailed in the morning, and the seventh, Steve Morrill, we met at Fantasy Island.
Anyway, it was such a nice morning that we decided to head down Tampa Bay to another spoil island that is popular in this neck of the woods. It's called Pierce's Paradise, but is more commonly called "Beer Can Island." It was five or six miles from Davis Island, and is also close to the Opollo Beach Sailing Squadron, so it's visited by both sail and power boats on most weekends. We just wanted to get a look at it as a possible destination for another time.
The winds picked up as the day progressed and before long we were broad reaching at hull speeds in the NW winds. Scott and Charmaine in the SeaPearl Tri left the ramp last but somehow passed almost everyone, and arrived at the Beer Can Island beach right behind Sundancer! You were smokin', Scott!
After everyone had a chance to look around at the island and admire the deep water cove on the SE side, we jumped back in our boats and took off for Fantasy Island. The afternoon winds were kicking up in Tampa Bay, but we were sheltered by the large spoil islands just to the east of the ship channel. We were east of the spoil islands, so were protected from the seas and winds. We did have to beat all the way, however. That's what happens when you broad reach all morning!
By the time I had Fantasy Island in sight, Bob Wood, in Ocita called me on the radio to report that Steve Morrill in Shadow was there as well. If you wondered how Bob got there before the rest of us, he decided to make an easy day of it, and let the rest of us go exploring down to BCI (Beer Can Island.)
By the time everyone was landed on Fantasy Island the wind was picking up, and the air was turning cooler. I had been fighting off the flu, so decided to call it a day. Ed and Becky and Ted and Sher stuck it out overnight, but everyone else made a dash for home. According to Sher they "Froze their buns off Saturday night."
In case you were wondering, Steve Morrill showed us that there is side street parking in Davis Island downtown area, and there are eclectic quicky places to eat that aren't too expensive, in fact they're really cheap! After fueling up on hamburgers and fries, Bob and I cruised the highway back to Seminole.
Ron Hoddinott - 2/21/07