After a bit we got into deeper water. The shrimpers took over and we secured the crab pot watch...for now. Our friend Beth kept us updated on the timing of the strong front and some heavy rain ahead of it throughout the night via our DeLorme InReach as we were out of cell range (p.s. She's the next big thing in weather routing for cruisers--I can feel it!). As we approached Tampa Bay and the water got shallower the crab pots returned. And to keep it exciting, heavy rain came shortly thereafter. I was getting soaked, but we were able to see the pots! My job was tough, but so was Frank's as he had to respond to my blasts of the whistle with quick helm or engine changes. Tough all around!
We slowly made our way into the pay through heavy rain and low visibility. We set the hook just inside for a few hours (of course, dodging more crab pots in the rain on our way in!), then woke at sunrise to make our way through a tight channel to a protected anchorage in Bradenton, FL just ahead of the really strong front. We had big breakfast burritos, OJ with rum, and a nice sleep! We spent the afternoon tidying the boat, drying out our soaked gear, and relaxing.
Next step is to rest up and wait for strong N winds to abate and look at forecasts to see if a leg from here to Panama City, FL is possible by Wednesday. So far we have gone 650 nm since Saturday--pretty good considering we had to duck inside for weather for two days.