Monday, November 21, 2016

Crossing the Gulf of Mexico

     We've made it across the Gulf of Mexico. We are currently in the city marina at Tarpon Springs FL. It took us 25.5 hours to make the crossing and I was up and almost awake for the whole timp. It was a very interesting and disastrous crossing. We met up with a couple guys in Carrabelle that had a 1974 Chinese Junk that they wanted to cross the Gulf in but they didn't want to cross alone just in case. There were seven of us loopers there that were going to make the crossing on Friday as that was the last weather window for another week or more. Everyone they talked to wanted to run faster than they could go until the came over to our boat. I told them we would run between 7 & 8 mph and they said that was about what they would be comfortable running at and asked if they could follow us across. I said sure, and we set up a meeting place to start across. Friday morning we met at 10 o'clock and headed out across. The forecast was for 2 foot seas and gradual calming Friday night. Then Saturday it was supposed to kick up with the passing of a front which would produce some strong winds out of the northwest and seas in the 6+ foot range so we had to go with what they said we would encounter. It was really rough at first, with two foot seas and occasional 4+ foot groups of waves. We were pounding really hard because we were heading right into the seas. We watched the guys behind us and they were pounding pretty hard as well. At around 40 miles into our crossing we got a call from them, (The Lucky Lady) and they said they were taking on water and had stopped to check it out. We turned around and headed back to them and they were quite a ways back by that time. When we arrived they were making preparations to abandon ship. The boat was riding a little low in the water by then and they said it was filling up pretty fast. They were towing a dingy into which they loaded everything they could salvage on short notice and rowed over to us where we unloaded the dingy and took them aboard. They weren't able to determine where the water was coming in but it was faster than their bilge pumps could handle so the decided they had better abandon ship. I called the Coast Guard and informed them of the sinking, and gave them all the information about the boat and it's location. I told them we had evacuated the survivors and would be taking them on to Tarpon Springs FL. I asked them if they wanted to return to Carrabelle or go on to Tarpon Springs. They decided to continue on with us and then fly home from there. We stayed on site until she finally went down which took about an hour but she finally settled slowly under the water, a sickening event to witness. The guy that owned the boat Jim was heart broken since he had purchased the boat and completely restored it over several years of very hard work with the help of Bobby who was traveling with him. I really felt bad for them because I know how I would feel if that happened to the Molly B. Thank God we were there to lend a hand or who knows what might have happened to them. I did take a series of pictures a couple of which are below. For now we are all safe and sound in Tarpon Springs and the guys left last night for home.
This is the little Chinese Junk that was following us across the Gulf.


The Lucky Lady is going down.