05/29/2011, Bradenton, FL
The Hulk Roller Coaster at Universal Studios
After our anchorage in Little Sarasota Bay, we past the city of Sarasota, thru (big) Sarasota Bay, and then several other bays to arrive at Bradenton at the Seafood Shack Restaurant and Marina. We promptly had fried clams and fried popcorn shrimp, both were great.
We rented a car and toured Sarasota. One day we spent at the awesome Ringling Museums, which include a hugh art museum, the Ringling Mansion, a smaller circus museum and a circus minatures museum. The second day we shopped at St Armands Circle, saw a lot of beautiful beaches, and then went in the water at the Siesta Key Beach, which was just voted the #1 beach. Never have I seen such a wide beach. The sand is very fine, and like someone told us it doesn't get hot and burn your feet. Something about the sands makeup. My pictures didn't do it justice. Also the beach was covered with people. We enjoyed ourselves but didn't stay long. It was just enough.
The last 3 days of Sarah and Brittany' s visit was spent in Orlando at Universal Studios (1 day 2 parks) and Disney's Magic Kindgom, and Disney's Hollywood Studios. It was really hot and humid; we wore out our feet, but we got to go on most of the rides we wanted, and we quit at about the right time each day.
3 Ospreys - must be a family, or condo
OK, I think these are osprey. They seem to love the intracoastal waterway signs for making nests. I have never seen more than one to a nest before.
From Pelican Bay, we sailed out Boca Grande Inlet, and sailed in the Gulf till we got to the Venice Inlet. It was the weekend and the area around the Venice Inlet was one big party. There is a small island just inside the Venice Inlet, and the small power boats are all tied up to it, with their humans cooling off in the shallow water. It looked really fun to the girls but not to us.
We needed to make tracks, so we continued on the ICW and anchored off the back of some beautiful houses in Little Sarasota Bay. Once it was dark and the traffic died down we had the calmest anchorage of the whole 5 month trip. BUT the water was too murky, so we didn't get in. Another lovely evening of grilled dinner and a quiet evening on board.
05/29/2011, Bradenton, FL
Sailing in the Gulf from Cayo Costa Island to Venice Inlet
Winds were pretty light the whole time Sarah and Brittany were with us, but we were determined to get some sailing in. We had hoped to teach Brittany to sail, but there wasn't enough wind to do much.
So, we did try a new sail configuration, using the crusing spinnaker and the jib. It only worked for about 40 minutes, but it made a great picture.
Boca Grande Inlet - Tarpoon Fishing Tournament
After two awesome days at South Sea Islands, we made a short hop to Pelican Bay, just off Cayo Costa Island. The girls had enough of beaches so we weren't compelled to hike across the island in the heat. Instead we enjoyed their first night at anchor, swimming a long time off the back of the boat, playing Train/dominos, and grilling a pork loin. We had a great evening with lots of entertainment in the anchorage. 1st there was a sailboat that went aground and had a couple of dinghies try to push him off, and eventually had tow boat US push him off. Then at sunset a guy in full kilt regalia stood up on the roof of his boat and serenaded the anchorage on his bagpipes. He turned slowly around during the songs and played to the 4 compass directions. The anchorage clapped at the end of the performance. Fun.
From Pelican Bay we spent a long day sailing out the Boca Grande cut where we were treated to the beginnings of a Tarpoon fishing tournament. The boats were just breaking up from their "instruction meeting" when we went through. The picture gives you a feel for the number of boats. We've been through this area about 4 times, and 3 of those times thre was a tournament. It is great fun to see.
A family of 3 Manatees in the Marina
There must have been at least 6-7 manatees in the marina at once. They like to hang around in warm shallow water. Fascinating, but you never could get a really clear look at them and had an even harder time capturing them on film. When we first arrived, and I was busy with docking, I had a really good view of them, but I couldn't get to my camera.
Brittany was especially fascinated with the manatees.
05/29/2011, Bradenton, FL
Waiting for the Trolley at South Sea Resort
A half day motoring, because there was no wind, took us to South Sea Island Resort & Marina, on Captiva Island. The marina guests are entitled to use all the resort facilities, including the pools, trolley, private beach with chairs, umbrellas, towels and solicitious attendants, and the nicest showers and restrooms anywhere. We had an awesome time. Only thing that would have made it better would have been to have our A/C working.
Sarah had really been looking forward to this spot and it lived up to it's reputation. Ann loved it too. The girls spent lots of time at the beach, and all four of us enjoyed the water slide. (see early picture that John posted.)