Saturday, December 30, 2017

Relaxing in Sarasota

Duane and I went hiking in another park in Sarasota - about 20 miles out of town.  It's the Myakka Lake park.   Very popular and almost too crowded. 

Pretty lake and lots of birds.

Pretty Spanish moss growing on live oak trees.

 We found a deserted trail and took a nice long walk -  over 5 miles!

Neat environment.

Some birds along the way - I think they were pelicans.

Huge snail shells - they were all empty.

And alligators!! This is the closest I was willing to get!

A big crane.

Driving back to the marina, we passed this statue in downtown Sarasota.   It's the "Unconditional Surrender" sculpture that is depicting the famous WWII photograph from Times Square.

Back to the boat on our trusty transport.

And another lovely sunset.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Sarasota park

Duane and I did a little hiking at a Sarasota park - Red Bug Slough.  The name sounds a bit off-putting....but it was a lovely park and some welcome leg-stretching!

Almost at the entrance, we spotted what appeared to be a stork.  Was neat to watch him/her slowly wander towards the water.

Pretty Spanish moss growing on the trees.

Just a lovely jungle-y walk for a few miles.

After a stop for a few groceries - back to the boat!  Hope you have a lovely, warm day!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

More Christmas in Sarasota

We managed a big Christmas meal in a small galley!  The oven is small, so I started baking the green bean casserole at about 10AM.  Cheated with a Winn Dixie (yeah, they still have Winn Dixie in Florida!) rotisserie chicken.....just decided that a turkey was just too much trouble. 

Sweet and mashed potatoes, stuffing from a box, sauteed turnips from Granny and Cordy, and lots of cranberry sauce.  No one starved to death, for sure!

Yesterday, we drove down to Venice to visit the "shark tooth beach" where we used to take the kids when we lived in Boca Raton in the early 90's.  We'd fly our little old Cessna 172  to the Venice airport and borrow a car to drive about 1/2 mile over to "Sharkey's Pub".  At the time, it was just a little waterfront restaurant on a deserted beach strip.  Now, it's a huge bustling restaurant complex with a jam-packed parking lot.

We spent some time in the surf looking for shark's teeth....

Miranda and I each found a tiny one - nothing like what I remember.  Was worth a try though.
We declined to wait for a table at Sharkey's and headed out to an alternative lunch place.

By the time we got back to Sarasota, it was dark - and a brilliantly lit boat was moored.  Looks like a fun boat!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas from Sarasota!

We've been whirlwind busy!

We joined Buddy and Sharron night before last at an Irish pub in Venice for some happy hour snacks and entertainment.  Corny but fun!

Pretty decorations on the street in Venice.

The boys and Miranda arrived yesterday morning - at 4:30AM!!  It was a dark dinghy ride to pick them up...

Miranda relaxing on the trampoline.

We had gone to the marina to fill up with water so we relaxed on dry land for a little while.

Then we went out for a little trip out into Sarasota bay - the boys put out fishing lines...Richard caught this Ladyfish almost immediately.  He/she was released back to be caught another day.

And Robert got in on the fishing game too - a saltwater catfish.

And a little shark!!

Robert giving us his version of "Puff the Magic Dragon"

Miranda getting her toes wet as we motored along.

Captain Richard!

Christmas morning fun in the dinghy.

Much silliness. 

For Christmas breakfast, I made my first biscuits on the boat!

Sharon and Buddy joined us - the start of a nice relaxing Christmas day!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

In Sarasota

Overnite on the leg from Crystal River, the boat speed had been a steady 5 knots.  I felt the boat motion change a bit - I glanced at the speed and it had slowed to 3 knots (both GPS and boat speed, for those of you that are interested).  Very strange.  Then a minute or two later it sped back up to 5 knots without me doing any adjustment.   I mentioned it to Duane when he got up for his shift, but we had no explanation. 

Today, I think I found the explanation.  As I brought the dinghy back to the boat, in the bright morning light I saw a piece of line  drifting just under the boat - and it was attached to the saildrive/propeller!    Undoubtedly, we ran over someones crab pot during the night and dragged it for a while (explains the brief 3 knots). 

Duane suggested, that since he climbed the mast I should be the one to dive down and try to loosen the line.  Hmmm.  The water temp here is warm, but not that warm!!  (about 71 degrees).   But, I put on a swimsuit and got out my snorkel and mask.  Jumped in - brrrrrr!  Like swimming in Mills River, I quickly got used to the temp and was quite comfortable.

The water is a bit murky and it was a struggle for me to stay down long enough to get the line loose.  I got the underwater camera and took a photo to inspect so I could understand what was happening. 

After about 10 dives and much movement of the prop back and forth, it came free!  I feel bad for whoever lost their crab pot as it surely will never be found.  But I'm glad we're free of the line and proud of myself for sticking with it without asking Duane to take over!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

In Sarasota

We had a nice visit with Sharon and Buddy - did a grocery run to stock up for Christmas dinner.....had to make two trips in the dinghy to bring the groceries and people all back to the boat!

Friday, December 22, 2017

In Sarasota

We visited with Sharon and Buddy - and this is the only photo I took! 

Had a great day catching up - drove down to Venice and took a peek at their new house - will be fun visiting them there!

They loaned us a car for a couple of days until the boys arrive with our car - will be very handy for a few trips to get supplies for Christmas dinner!

Beautiful calm night in the mooring field - pretty Christmas lights ashore.  

Thursday, December 21, 2017

In Sarasota

The blog posts will probably slow down a bit as we settle in here in Sarasota.

Within 100 yards of our mooring is another Manta 40!  It's amazing that we've run across so many - I think there were only about 50 ever made.

We needed to go to the hardware store - on our way we pulled the dinghy over to say hello to the crew of "Vizu" - Mike and Vicki from Canada.  Really nice couple - they've been cruising all over the world for 25 years!  They have this wonderful sling seat that Duane is sitting on....I'll have one of these built for us eventually!  

They were getting ready to go into town in their rental car and offered to drop us at the hardware store (about 4 miles away).  Extremely nice of them!  So, we all took our dinghies over and tied up at the marina.

Our chores at the hardware store done, we took their advice and caught a city bus back to within a mile of the marina. $1.25 each for a ride anywhere in the system.   Easy peasy!   Really cool downtown area - neat as a pin and covered up with quaint shops and restaurants. 

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

From Crystal River to Sarasota

We decided to go straight on to Sarasota rather than stop along the way.  It was a planned 24 hour trip.

Again, we saw many dolphins.  They are always so interesting and graceful.  I never tire of seeing them.

Unfortunately, overnite it became very foggy.  When we were offshore during the night, it was mildly disorienting....but we have very good radar so  we can see anything that is a few feet above the water.

Once the sun came up, it was actually worse.  This photo is not altered - this is what it really looked like at sunrise!  Spooky almost.

We slowed down and motored along at just a few knots just to be extra careful.  I sat out on the bow with my air horn to warn anyone of our presence.

By about noon, the skies cleared and we were able to proceed on our way.  We had a couple of bridges to pass....had to hover for about 15 minutes for this one to open.

Always feel a little bad about all the cars that have to wait on us....

Approaching Sarasota.

We stopped by the office at Marina Jack - our home for the next few weeks.  We'll be on a mooring ball in the bay.

All tied up - time for a bit of rest!

I forgot to mention, we went to a local seafood market in Crystal River - I got a "dozen" oysters and all the "fixin's".  For $7.99.   I counted 16 oysters.  Nice.

So I feasted.  So yummy.