Saturday, June 6, 2015

On to St. Petersburg, Florida!

No Crab Traps!

The SW coast of Florida has a little bit of everything for the adventurous cruiser. When we sailed out of Boot Key Harbor to start our venture up the southwest coast of Florida we expected our first adventure would be dodging crab pods. But to our surprise NO CRAB TRAPS!  If you have ever been across the Florida Bay you know it can be a web of traps to weave through. But we sailed along enjoying a beautiful day pod free.  We stopped the first night in the Little Shark River nestled in the Everglades National Park and when we pulled in and dropped the hook the only company we had were the crocs and the no-see-ums. It’s a dark remote anchorage up a small dark remote river in the Everglades with no cell service so it’s a perfect place to “get away from it all”. There are not many of these truly remote anchorages left so we enjoy stopping here to remember what it use to be like when we cruised the islands off the coast of Southern California back in the early days. It is also a true test of our nerves.

Hurricane Hunter

We got inside the Hurricane Hunter

Our next stop over was beautiful Naples where we spent a few nights on the mooring balls in the City Marina.  In May and June in Florida you need to be anchored up before 3 p.m. because it usually storms in the evenings if not sooner.  So we watched the weather closely all the way up from the Little Shark River and made it in just in time.  We just hooked up to our mooring ball when the storm clouds let loose and blew through.  We were crossing our finger every time the lighting flashed in the sky because we’ve heard this time of year several boats we knew got struck by lightning.   We really enjoyed our time in Naples.  You could walk everywhere from the harbor.  We walked all the way down to the pier and enjoy the best pizza we have had in a long time at Napoli on the Bay Pizza.  After a couple of days exploring Naples we sailed up the coast to Fort Meyers Beach.

Sunset Fort Meyers Beach

Matanzas Harbor Municipal Mooring Field is where we picked up a mooring ball at pretty good prices of $15 a day right between San Carlos and Ester Islands.  It is a little crowded with boats and people but we did enjoyed the many happy hours at the local bars.  After a few days we sailed on to an anchorage we found last year, Pelican Bay in the Caya Costa State Park.  Caya Costa is only accessible by private boat or ferry so it’s quite and we really enjoy the beautiful remote beaches but we need to keep moving up to St. Petersburg. The dog days of Florida summer have stated early and the storms are more frequent so the sooner we get to our summer home in St Petersburg the better.

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Cool old swing bridge
Our last stop before St. Petersburg was in Sarasota. We were hoping to stay there awhile and wait for our friends Terese and Rick to come back to Marina Jacks from Marathon but we heard from them and they were delayed with some engine trouble.  Last year we drove through Sarasota in our car and visited but it was really great to experience it on our boat this time and to stay at the fabulous Marina Jack.  Rick you were right the Marina is first class and the Wi-Fi was the best. They sure got that right.  They have tons of restaurants and nightlife within walking distance of the marina so we had a hard time choosing what to do in the evening. HAHA. We really enjoyed ourselves there and we even caught an afternoon movie.

 Finally we took the GICW the rest of the way up to St. Petersburg via Tampa Bay.  It was a beautiful day and when we sailed under the beautiful Sunshine Skyway Bridge spanning over Tampa Bay it was so much more impressive than when we drove over it earlier this year.

Skyway Bridge

Sailing into any harbor is a special experience but when the harbor is your final destination after 8 months of sailing down the east coast of Florida, through the many spectacular islands of the Bahamas, the wild Florida Keys and up the SW coast it has a very special feeling that only the adventurist can experience. 

St. Petersburg Pier

Dali Museum in St. Petersburg

Dali is amazing up close and far 
away same painting what do you see?

Concert in the park at St. Petersburg
Night Riots and Awolnation

Now we start all that R & R (replace and repair) before we drive back to Kansas City to visit family and friends.  Until our next blog hope you all have a fantastic and safe summer.  Until next season!