It's no secret to anyone that I love being out on the water. I have had a bad jones for a boat trip for weeks now. I hadn't been out on my boat since before Christmas! That's ridiculous, but there were circumstances. I was preparing for surgery. Then, I wasn't cleared to go on the boat until my month follow up appointment in February. At that point, the mighty wind picked up in the Keys and continued to blow for what seemed like weeks -- or at least every weekend. I got a Sunday morning when I thought I could at least take a little ride and discovered that my steering wasn't working.
Got the steering repaired, but the wind and bad weather continued. There were great conditions one week in April, but, of course, it was the week that I was away!
Today, everything came together! I woke to a gorgeous day with a light breeze and great tide level. I was ready to go by 10 a.m. Got my stuff together, climbed on the boat and lowered the lift. I was just about to launch when I realized that my boat was listing badly to starboard. I boosted back up and called the service guy. He was free and came down to check things out.
Wellll....although I'd boosted the bow up a few times to drain out water that might have accumulated from all of the heavy rains, things were trapped in the starboard hull and that side's bilge pump wasn't working. Rick grabbed a wrench and unscrewed the hull plug, then we waited while gallons of water poured out.
So, a brief delay, but not a fun-stopper. With the boat now properly drained, we fired up the engines, checked the steering, and launched off the lift. This also gave him a chance to feel how the steering was reacting since he'd replaced the fluid pump a few weeks ago. He wants to make some adjustments when he comes to fix the bilge.
We cruised through the harbor out Sister Creek to the Atlantic. Once out, the wind was higher and the water choppy, but my boat could handle it. I throttled up and we cruised over the waves. It was glorious! Water like melted blue topazes as far as we could see and a brilliant blue sky. We kept up the speed and enjoyed the view, the speed, the sunshine, and the crisp, cool breeze.
We went around Boot Key and out as far as the hump of the Seven Mile Bridge before I turned us toward the home port. We were a couple of football field lengths away from the channel markers when we spotted the first dorsal fin. We slowed down to look around and soon spotted multiple fins in different groups all around us.
I grabbed my camera and started snapping, which is not easy to do when the boat rocks and one doesn't know where the next dolphin will pop up. By my estimation, there were 10 to 12 dolphins in the area, including two or three youngsters that were less than two years old.
I am extremely fortunate to be around dolphins every day at work, but I never get tired of seeing these amazing animals. In the harbor outside my house or out in the open water, seeing them swim, play or just hang out never fails to light my spirit and fill me with joy. What a great day!
Episode 3: Take Me To Your Pilot - Ken Levine has been through his fair share of pilot seasons, and if you're not in Hollywood you might not know about the madness that it is. So today, buc...