About Me

My photo

Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mermaids, Manatees & Magic - Sailing HideAway

The typical Florida summer day wraps around you like a steaming hot polyester blanket. The slightest effort rewards the brave sailor with sweat soaked clothing and a longing for a northern Minnesota lake on a summer afternoon.

SV HideAway Gulfport FL

Independence Day brings thoughts of colorful things that go boom in the night, barbeques, ice cold beverages, watermelon races and flying a large American flag off HideAways’ back stay while sailing on Boca Ciega Bay near Gulfport Fl.

Retiring from a summer sail, HideAway lingers at sea long enough to stow her sails and gear lessening the time spent in the sultry windless marina hauling the boat. Not to over state the conditions, folks in these parts have been known to jump into the water to dry off.

Sometimes it’s Good to Be in the Wrong Place at the Right Time

We weren’t supposed to be there. Neither were they. Not at that time. Not on that day. Not during that month however there we were backing HideAway around the tip of “B” dock for her temporary home last Fourth of July holiday weekend at Boca Ciega Yacht Club.

And there they were tucked under the shade of a dink hanging by davits attached to a large cruising catamaran. At first they looked like large islands of brown algae then one of the islands began to swim towards HideAway’s running outboard. I lurched for the kill switch reaching it in time to see a large Manatee and baby sniffing HideAways rudder.

Manatee & HideAway

Momma appeared to be on the long side of eight foot, her huge tail a yard or so wide slowly moving as she glided under HideAways stern to surface between the boat and the dock in a space that would make a claustrophobic human uncomfortable.

Gliding by HideAways transom with baby close behind, momma loved to rollover on her back and smile a goofy grin only another manatee or a star struck sailor would find attractive.

Manatees are smart and curious creatures adept at giving wide eyed humans hope that if something so big and gentle can live a good life eating only greens without worrying one bit about unemployment rates and oil futures to say nothing of nut case politicians, then maybe there is hope for mankind after all.