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Jascat to the Bahamas
Bradenton to Clearwater
John
05/30/2011, Clearwater Municipal Marina

A man and his dog cruising the ICW near Bradenton, Fl

Gee, it's great to be sailing again. We left the Seafood Shack about 8:30am and arrived at the Clearwater Municipal Marina at 5:30pm. All but the first and last hour and a half were under sail. The winds were light and shifty, but thankfully, mostly on our beam. The seas were a little choppy as we crossed Tampa Bay but smoothed out as we ran up the coastline. The sail was so nice, we (well me at least) were tempted to make a left turn and head out on a direct course to Pensacola. But that's a three day non-stop trip and neither Ann or I want to stand watch that long.

So tonight we're staying in Clearwater and tomorrow we're going to make the crossing to Apalachicola which should only take around 30 hours. From there we'll hop up the coast alternating cruising off shore and in shore on the ICW to Pensacola.

John & Ann at Universal Studios
Ann
05/29/2011, Bradenton, FL

John & Ann at Universal Studios (I think)

We had fun too. But we no longer ride the wild roller coasters!!

Sarah and Brittany at Universal Studios
Ann
05/29/2011, Bradenton, FL

Sarah and Brittany - two beautiful girls

We really enjoyed their visit.

Touring Sarasota & Orlando
Ann
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.

Underway & Sailing Sights 3
Ann
05/29/2011, Bradenton,FL

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.

Underway and Sailing Sights 2
Ann
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.

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