We are loving this part of Florida, and can’t believe that it’s December. Christmas is right around the corner, but somehow it doesn’t seem possible – not in this kind of weather!
Our last day in Clearwater Beach we spent doing laundry and cleaning up the boat. We did walk down to the beach for a short break, and visited with our marina neighbors on the dock. We plotted our course, highlighting our route on the navigation charts.
We looked at a lot of boats when we were at the St. Pete’s boat show, and I always get nervous when Jim starts shopping for boats, because inevitably he buys one. So guess what? Jim purchased a new boat!@!#$! while I was in the galley cooking up a hearty breakfast. OMG!
He purchased a new (used 2007 model) boat from our dock neighbors Mike and Sharon from Knoxville. It is very green, as it is motored naturally (with oars).
It took us a long while to figure out how we were going to haul it, since we don’t have any davits. We ended up tying it upside down on the bow. Finally we were ready to get underway again!
We went by St. Pete’s, and passed boats along the way that we had seen at the boat show. Next we crossed the bottom of Tampa Bay, which is more confusing than you’d guess. It is a really big body of water, and we created our own path to avoid back-tracking on the ICW.
Our destination that night was an anchorage outside of Venice, but we didn’t make it that far before we started losing daylight. We found another great spot to anchor out in a little channel near Long Beach. We got anchored and lo and behold, there were our dock neighbors Ron & Lynne from Toronto aboard the Northern Spirit.
This morning we left our anchorage spot and headed south on the ICW. We went through Sarasota Bay, Little Sarasota Bay, and past Venice.
There were many no-wake zones because this area has so many manatees. We didn’t encounter any, but did see dolphins several times. We had to have 2 bridges open for us because we didn’t have enough clearance to get under them in the closed position.
The weather was perfect again – 80 degrees and sunny. The homes we saw along the way on the waterfront are incredibly big, and I wonder what all these people do for a living!
We anchored out again, this time near Englewood Beach. We took the dinghy for a test run (good work-out), and BBQ’d dinner aboard. It’s a very peaceful spot, with several other boats near-by.
Tomorrow we plan to take the dinghy to a little public access spot on Englewood Beach. From there we can walk to town or go to the beach. It is on a very narrow strip of land called Manasota Key (reminds me of Minnesota). Many of the homes have water on both the ICW and on the Gulf. I wonder what’s considered the front yard and what’s the back yard?
Our destination before coming home will be Fort Myers Beach, and that’s only a day or two cruise from here. It’s a great port to pull the boat out and have it serviced, with it’s own international airport. When we return in Feb we will have the option of cruising through the gulf to the Keys, or to take the cut-thru via Lake Okeechobee.
Until next time, hope all’s sunny in your life!