Where were we?? Link to Part 1, if you missed it.
Oh yes, we were done with sandwiches & ice pops at the marina and looking forward to a peaceful night fishing at the Crystal River Reef.
At this point, we're all still smiles.
We get past the no wake zone and head 25 knots east through the river to the port opening. Now, I did see all these clouds over land but had no reason to fear anything. As you can see, those thunderheads in the background were pointing south. Wind was going north to south. That was the plan.
As we head east, everyone passes the little party island to the south. Many people tie boats up there, hop out and cool off in the shallows for the hottest parts of the day. I'm sure many take grills and have the best memories of how they 'played' Survivor for a couple hours in the sand & sun.
Right after you pass the party island, look north and you will see the powerplant. It seems like such an ugly hunk of concrete. I had no idea at this time how its beautiful orange glow would give me comfort through the night. No idea. As long as its distant lights stayed in the same general area and the same approximate distance, I could put my head back down to suffer out the rocking-induced nausea another hour.
And then there was an amazing sunset to the West. The thunderhead clouds hovering over land were lacking over the water. The Gulf had upper-level whispy clouds, meaning no rain. At this point, we were finally 17 miles west of Crystal River port, over the Reef. I had plenty of time to anchor up, find the mound of rubble under water covered up in fish, according to our fish finder.
I was busy transforming the cuddy from storage unit into a bedroom suite for 3 (Jack had planned on sleeping on the deck (cockpit) on a bean bag.). As I played interior decorator with sheets, towels & pillows, Jack dropped a line over the side. He was instantly bowed over with something huge from the sea. Excitement filled the air as visions of sugar-plum fish danced in our heads. But, the excitement was short-lived and Jack's pole popped back straight. He reeled up and his hook was bit in half!! Wow, what was that? Jack thinks it was a shark.
It was about this time that I felt nausea set in. Our 2 ft waves or less felt more intense the longer I stayed in the cuddy, hence the name "Cuddy of Death." But, I convinced myself I could remedy it by fishing. I held a pole in my hand about 1.5 minutes before Jack noticed the rest of the crew looking green and took a vote of who wanted to go back in. Apparently, I wasn't the only one fighting a little nausea. The vote was 3 to one. So, we pulled anchor.
While pulling the anchor, we heard such awful news over the radio. It was a back-n-forth relay between the Coast Guard and some man who was thinking he was having a heart attack. Good golly!! Not ANOTHER heart-attack person. What are the odds that two people would have heart-attacks the same day, out of the same port? We did not hear how that concluded because we were soon underway and the drama that was unfolding was drowned out by the hum of our Mercury. Out attention was more focused now on what was building over land. Still no fear at this point because the wind was taking it South. Right? Right??
We started towards the Port for less than 1.5 miles and Jack stopped the boat. It was useless. There was frequent lightening right at the port entrance (left side of picture). In ten minutes time, we could see the south end of the front bowing outward and I think that was the first time I remembered panicking. It confirmed that the winds had shifted eastward and we were going to confront our biggest fears. A solid line of thunderstorms coming straight for us. There was also lightening in this section of clouds (below), too. It was less severe than the lightening to the north, though.