We are six days into our voyage and this is the first time dedicated to recording our adventures. We are just having too much fun! And exploration is very tiring, necessitating an afternoon nap (where and when available).
The first three days we recommissioned Bushranger. Whilst in Tarpon Springs, we drove to areas we knew we didn’t have time to visit on Bushranger. We had lunch in the delightful city of Gulfport. Think glistening water views, brick roads, old gnarled trees laden with Spanish moss, artist shopfronts and eclectic eateries.
The time came to set sail. We were farewelled by our sentinels.
The seas were calm. The colour effortlessly merging from blue to green and back again. The water depth is shallow, sometimes being able to see the sandy bottom. We sailed past keys. Past breaking water. We sailed under two bridges,with Dunedin Honeymoon Bridge needing to be raised for us to safely sail under.
Our first night underway we nestled snugly at Clearwater Beach Marina.
Met by a new guard, we explored the beach, complete with Pier 60 and artisan markets. The ambiance was exciting and colorful. We expected a noisy night, but instead enjoyed a peaceful night with twinkling panorama of Clearwater Harbour.
We were up early to start a long day of sailing to reach Sarasota. We sailed under 8 bridges, some with evocative names such as Treasure Island and Indian Rocks. We scraped under most with about 2-3 feet to spare. The last bridge was too close to call, so erred on the side of caution to have it raised. We sailed through a particularly lovely section of the IntraCoastal Waterway named The Narrows. This is all manatee waters. At times and for long sections, the speed limit was heavily reduced to protect these mammals. So, move over alligator hunt and bring on the manatee search. We haven’t spotted any yet, but everyone assures us there are lots out there!
Now those who know me will know I don’t fare well in lumpy waters, which is exactly what we encountered when sailing parallel to Tampa Bay Bridge. Bay waters mixing with Gulf waters do not sit well with my stomach. I carried on making Mark’s lunch, but let’s just say I decided to lay vertical for a while in fresh air with nothing in my stomach.
Onward, ever onward we sailed past the mouth of the Manatee River (no sightings) and on down the Sarasota Bay to Marina Jack, where we currently reside. We arrived in time to power walk Main Street, visit the Visitor’s Centre, undertake the walking tour of Sarasota and meet our neighbours, who happen to be Loopers from Canada. We had docktails aboard their vessel before dining on ours and calling it a day.
Today, Australia Day, we celebrated by touring The Ringling, the winter vacation residence of John and Mabel Ringling of The Ringling Bros Circus fame. It was on par with San Simeon – Californian residence of William Randolph Hearst. In other words, unbelievable! If ever US gold reserves need topping up, the gold paint alone would come to the rescue. Marble, gold and pastel shades of Venetian glass… unbelievable.
An afternoon nap beckons. This looping and exploration is darn tiring. But someone has to do it!
Such is Life!