Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spectre Island

We arrived at Spectre Island around 4:30pm Thursday, and took the west entrance into the anchorage. While the chart shows this side to be too shallow, looking at the sat photo of the area shows a relatively deep channel here. We found no less than 9-10' on the way in. This is much easier than the approach from the east. Only one other boat was anchored here when we arrived, a Jefferson motor yacht, about 47'. It was a very nice evening, and a gorgeous night. A bit noisy, though, as there were some flight operations going on at the air force base, Hurlburt Field, nearby. They must have been doing gunnery practice, too, as we could hear Gatling gun and cannon fire late into the evening. Noisy, but way cool. Paula got a little nervous and went to bed.

The Jefferson left around 10am Friday morning, and we had the place to ourselves for a while. Later in the afternoon a couple of other small power boats arrived, offloaded a bunch of gear, and setup camp on the beach. Unfortunately, they also brought along a jet ski, and the kids spent the afternoon buzzing around our boat. We were waked endlessly. Fortunately, jet skis throw pretty small wakes.

I wonder what would happen if I just stood on the bow with a shotgun cradled in my arms?

When I took Duke for his beach break that morning, we saw the Navy Seals doing training. They came out of a cove, in full gear, laying horizontally along the tubes of their black RIBs. They came ashore on Spectre Island and proceeded to do some kind of mock attack. They are pretty stealthy, and it was difficult to locate them in the high grass on the island. Finally they met for a debriefing on the beach, then dragged their RIBs off the beach, loaded up, and headed our way. This was too good to be true. There were in full stealth mode and passed less than 50' from us. Got some decent video of them hunkered down in the RIBs as they passed by.

SEALS video

That was the highlight of the day. The rest of the day was spent getting buzzed by jet skis and fishing  boats. The folks camping on the beach got a little rowdy around sunset, but they burned out quickly and were asleep by 8pm. There were no flight operations or gunnery practice tonight, so we had a very quiet and pleasant evening.

Well, actually we did have on other event during the day. An 80' motor yacht, Blue Moon, was traversing the ICW heading east. This monster was cruising about 20 knots and was throwing one of the largest wakes I had ever seen. As it approached I was thinking how happy I was to be behind an island. That wake had to be at least 6'. As we watched him blast by on the other side of the island I heard the sound of breaking waves. I looked up to see that his wake had actually wrapped around the tip of the island and was heading into the anchorage. Thankfully, by the time it got to us, it was down to around 3'. Still rocked us pretty good. I could not imagine going past that guy if he did not slow down. A tow boat with a string of barges saw him coming and radioed a request that he slow down. Way down, please. He complied.

Saturday morning we awoke to dark and dreary skies. The forecast was for thunderstorms all day, so we elected to stay put. A nice benefit to the weather was the beach campers promptly packed up, and both boats plus the jet ski left. The jet ski did have to buzz us one final time. Thanks.

The rain hit, but it was not the thunderstorms that were forecast. Just a gentle rain, with a little breeze. We did not even have to close the windows. We could hear thunder rumbling in the distance, but it was well offshore and heading east. Once the rain started, a horde of small sailboats arrived. We thought they were looking for shelter from the wind that never developed. Most are Catalina 22's. As it turns out, this is an annual gathering they do ever Mother's Day weekend. Lucky us. For some reason they felt like the side of the anchorage we were on was the best side, so we have 23 sailboats crammed up into one corner of a large anchorage.

As we were walking along the beach today, an eagle landed in the tree just above us. I did not have my camera, so had to use my phone to take a picture. It is a shame to take such a crappy picture of such a beautiful bird. We stood and watched him a while, then he flew off and started hunting. Impressive to see it grab a large fish out of the water and carry it up into the tree with ease.

With all the activity here we considered heading back to our previous anchorage at Big Sabine Point. But, there is no way to tell how many boats took safe harbor from the storm there, and there may not be room for us by the time we would arrive around 6pm. We decided it was best to stay here, where we know we are safe. Plus, all the sailboats are anchored downwind from us, so one drags anchor tonight, they will be moving away. If you could have seen the antics when these folks tried to anchor, you would know that at least a couple will drag tonight it the wind picks up very much at all.

Well, it is time for a sundowner. Or two. We are heading to the top deck to enjoy the breeze, and the clanking of halyards banging two dozen masts. Grilled salmon, baked sweet potatoes, and cole slaw on the dinner menu tonight. Yum!

1 comment:

Scott Kolek said...

Like! :>