The weather Gods have not been smiling lately. After our last little butt kicking, we were not real anxious to get another. Sat in Factory Bay at Marco Island and pondered a while. But there was really no other decision to make. There was a depression coming across the Yucatan, and the chances of it becoming a tropical storm in the gulf was 50%, according to NOAA. Plus the weather was already forecast as not good. Thunderstorms every day for as far out as they would forecast. One of the locals in Ft.Meyers, told us to expect the same until Oct. It seemed like any southerly direction we could take, was heading into more serious stuff than we had already had. So we decided to head back north, making a straight run from Marco Island to Appalachicola, the quickest way I could think of to get away from it. Distance a little over 300 mies. Weather forecast was the same for several days out, winds from the west, at 10 to 15, seas 3 to 5 feet, scattered thunderstorms. Looking at the weather radar, seemed like the storms were fewer the farther north we got. So, Sat. afternoon we head out. Afternoon because I figured three days, and didn't want to arrive at night, if possible. The rest of Sat. and Sat. night and most of Sunday were spent fairly close hauled, making consistantly well over 7 knots. The first 20 hours we made 150 miles to the good. But by Sunday afternoon it was taking it's toll. We were doing 4 hour watches, and were getting beat. Pushing the boat that hard, and living at 15 degrees plus, was about to stop being fun. So, we slowed it down some, and was a much easier ride. Sunday night saw some thunderstorms, with lightning, but nothing very close. Monday morning it looked like we might have to slow the boat some more, or get into Appalachicola before sunrise on Tuesday. So we are taking it kind of easy, but pretty well worn out by now. Monday night, the bottom fell out. Around 11PM we got hit. AGAIN Running on a reefed main, we are making 8 and 9 knots, boat is heeled way over, and the fun has really stopped. A couple of hours later and were through it, No harm no foul, except the boat is pretty much a mess inside. Then about 4AM another round. This one much worse than the first. About 40 miles out, and the radio is talking about the storms, advising everyone to take shelter. YEAH WHERE We are right in the middle of this crap, winds are from every direction, and blowing upwards of 40 to 50 knots. The seas are not that big, but breaking and confused. Maybe 8 feet or so. But is knocking us around so bad, cannot control the boat. Every time we get headed one way, the wind does a major shift, and were out of control again. It's raining so hard you can't see anything, and blowing the drops so hard they hurt. After about 30 minutes of this, I did the last thing in this world I wanted to do. Crawl up on deck and drop the main completely. Crank the Yanmar up, and at least we have some control, and actually making headway, even thought it is two knots, and sometimes less. Just as it starts to get light enough to see, I see the dinghy, which is on the foredeck, trying to take off on a free flight. What had happened is the cooler air and the rain has made the air in it contract, and the softness of the tubes allowed the tie down ropes to loosen. So, once more I go on deck. Did I mention how much I really wanted to do this. Then to top it all off, somewhere along the way we have developed a small water leak. Problem is the boat is heeled over so much, it is going under the starboard settee, and staying away from the bilge pump. Then when the boat rolls, it comes out on the floor, getting everything that has been thrown there wet. Ah well, the life of a sailor. We had three weeks of weather almost to good to ask for, so we were certainly due. But now in Appalachicola, licking our wounds. Going to stay here a couple of days, get things dried out, and do laundry. Eat lots of real food. Fix the water leak. Then slowly work our way back towards New Orleans. For those of you we were wanting to meet and greet, is in the future, just not this time. I think if we would have been two weeks earlier, things would have been much different. But for now, the beating is over. Making it back is going to be easy, or at least easier No long offshore runs. Just short hops.