We will always remember what a welcome site the Clearwater Harbor was!
After avoiding what seemed like thousands of crab pots on our way in, we
crossing when we entered Clearwater's Harbor.
Looking back on the past 19 hours,
the Captain and I were happy to have safely arrived here.
The Big Bend crossing was
now behind us and we could rest up for a few days before
It was like a
weight had been lifted to have the crossing finished. We were beyond
thankful to have
had the weather window we needed to complete the crossing.
We were all tired and decided to relax a while and later go out for a celebratory dinner together.
Clearwater had its beginning around 1835 when the U.S. Army
of Fort Harrison, on a bluff overlooking
Clearwater Harbor, as an outpost during the
Clearwater Beach is one of the northern-most points on the west
of Florida that would be
recommended for wintering over. Any area
of Clearwater Beach gets too cold to
be recommended as a winter stopover.
Below: The birds didn't bother the boats on the transient slips as much as those boats that seem to
more long term dockage. Sure looks like the boat owners will come back to a mess on their boats!
The following day we rode the Jolley Trolley to see and have lunch with David and
Angelika who had
just finished their crossing ending in Tarpon Springs. We ate at the Rusty Bellies restaurant.
Waterfront Grill is a family owned restaurant and is named for the family's love of fishing, namely
grouper fishing. A "Rusty Bellie” is the nickname given to the large male gag grouper. A "Rusty Bellie"
generally ranges between twenty and sixty pounds and is typically caught by the true at heart fisherpersons.
It was fun to see them again!
Tarpon Springs was settled by Greek Divers who were recruited there from the 1880's to the early 1900's
for sponges in the Gulf. Sponge diving was a thriving industry until a red tide algae boom
killed most of the
sponges in 1947. Tarpon Springs still has the highest percentage of Greek-
Americans in any US city.
downtown held many sponge shops, Greek restaurants and
shops selling Greek pottery. Tarpon Springs is advertised as the Sponge Capital of the world!
Below: a sponge boat that just came in with a load of sponges.
Below: there are all kinds of uses for sponges!
The next day we rode our bicycles to Dunedin, had a bite to eat and enjoyed an ice cream cone.
"It is beginning to look a lot like Christmas"... kind of, anyway in this warmer climate.
It doesn't feel like Christmas is just weeks away, when the weather is so nice.
Even Santa has to be
creative! In Apalachicola, Santa was going to make an appearance on a Shrimp boat!
Apalachicola is an Indian word for “land beyond”. There were once more than 40,000 Indians in that region.
The first Apalachicola Indians
were members of the Mississippian Culture, mound builders who lived in large
permanent settlements and
traded over a much wider region than their neighbors to the north.
non-natives arrived from Spain in the 1700s. Early trade between the Spanish and Creek
and fur. Apalachicola was established in 1831 and grew quickly as a cotton shipping port town.
It was a sunny beautiful morning when we left the Clearwater Marina en route to Sarasota. Our route for
took us out side into the Gulf of Mexico for about 12 miles. We entered the gulf at Madeira Beach.
We had a pleasant ride in the Gulf however, we
did need to steer clear of many crab pot floats
dotted the water. The floats are normally secured to their pots
with a sinking line that
which allows boats to pass near the floats without getting tangled.
However, we have heard that there are times, for some unfathomable reason, some pots
lines. The floating
lines could stretch along the surface as much as forty feet
the float. We held
as we passed by the crab
pot floats, hoping that the crab
pots didn't start to follow us, meaning
that we had
hooked on to their line!
It all went well.
It was a well marked waterway as we turned back into the ICW at the enormous
Many dolphins jumped and played around our boat, while pelicans dove for fish.
See the two dolphins below.
The photo below shows the narrow stretch of land between the ICW and the Gulf of Mexico.
Below: you can see the
Gulf of Mexico in the distance.
It was a beautiful 77 degree
day when we arrived at Marina Jack at Sarasota.
The couple joining us in the picture below is from Canada. In conversation we found out
that they crossed the Gulf the very same evening we did! In fact, while we were at Dog Island, we
saw a boat in a distance that looked like a trawler coming out of Carribelle and entered the Gulf.
We had tried to give it a call on the radio, to see how the water was out there.... but they didn't answer.
Of course, we didn't know their name, so we couldn't address them.
They said they heard someone call for a trawler that left Carribelle, they didn't answer
the call because
they didn't see any boats around and didn't think the call was
for them... and here they are docked right
next to us in at Marina Jack!
We've heard it said before, "you just can't make this stuff up!" What a small world!
We woke up to a cloudless sky. It was sunny, there was a light breeze blowing and the morning air was warm
enough that we wore shorts as usual. The marina staff delivered a complimentary newspaper to us at our slip.
We were ready to proceed south, however we realized that we experienced a transmission cooler failure!
So our plans changed! We now are waiting for the parts to come, hopefully they'll be here in three days.
If they come in as expected we'll be on the water again the next day!
There are worse places to be stranded at!
We are about two travel days from Ft. Myers!