Thankfully, Dave has a pickup truck
31 January 2008 | Tampa/Clearwater Beach
Day 14 (Friday) thru 19 (Tuesday) - Tampa and Clearwater Beach
As the photo above attests, we returned to the boat on Monday with a pickup truck full of clean clothes, food provisions including fresh citrus fruit graciously donated by Carl and Marilyn (to ensure the crew avoids the dreaded seaman's malady-scurvy), several jerry cans for fuel and water, and a giant package of toilet paper. Dave and Martha, our willing and gracious hosts during our layover in Tampa, drove us to Clearwater and joined us for lunch of Grouper sandwiches at Frenchy's Café. They then helped us carry all our "stuff" to the boat.
During our stay, Tampa celebrated Gasparilla, its annual reenactment of the invasion and capture of the city by Jose Gaspar and his pirate crew. Being of pirate heritage ourselves, we followed Jose's lead capturing Dave and Martha's house and "forcing" them to do our bidding on the promise we would release them unharmed but wearied after 4 days. Our days off the high seas were filled with multiple trips to department stores, grocery stores, and marine stores intertwined with a lovely dinner at the Temple Terrace Golf and Country Club, "dippin'" at the Tropicana Restaurant in Ybor City, relaxing, a marathon of TV movies for the guys and table games for the gals. "Dippin'" deserves some further explanation- basically it consists of dipping hot toasted and buttered Cuban Bread- sometimes with cheese or cinnamon- into steaming cups of Café Con Leche. Mostly it's about conversation and we were joined by Carl and Marilyn and CW and Betty to enliven the dialog which included politics, golf, the Gators, family, friends, jewelry, decorating, among other topics. Gerry decided he liked the toast and the Café Con Leche but not the dipping- some of us just don't have refined palates.
We had lots of good food at Dave and Martha's, highlighted by a sumptuous breakfast of grits, scrambled eggs and praline French toast, and a dinner of steak, potatoes and salad to mention a few. Mike and Andrea joined us for the steaks after spending the day at a mountain bike race- Mike racing and Andrea serving as his pit crew. Mike set a PB and finished 6th in his class, covering over 60 miles in a 6 hour period. Andrea, a registered nurse, was ready to administer first aid but Mike finished with only minor scrapes and bruises.
After returning to the boat, Gerry and Roger launched into their list of tasks, foremost of which was to replace the bulb in the steaming light. Gerry, being the brave one, donned the Bosun's chair and was winched into position to successfully change the bulb. Like all boat tasks, locating the Bosun's chair required a deep dive into the lazarette removing one layer of boat stores. The gals walked to the beach (Clearwater Beach) so Jean could collect a sample of sand for her rare and off-beat beach sand collection. Late in the day, the crew gathered on deck for their daily supply of grog before walking to Crabby Bill's for a dinner of stone crab legs. Before retiring, the crew completed stowing the food provisions, remade their berths, and generally tried to bring some order to the chaos.
Tuesday we waited all day for the repairman to come to repair the battery charger. Supposed to arrive early a.m., but didn't get here until 4:15 p.m. Everything's fixed now and we'll be departing early in the morning for Longboat Key. We'll probably stay in the ICW because the offshore winds do not appear favorable for sailing. We're starting to ask if we should trade our sailboat for a motor vessel- nah!(RKS)