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Michael Shields' Blog

Six Day Sea Trials -- Day One
By Michael D Shields
Posted on 4/13/2017 7:05 AM
After loading supplies on the boat, I didn't get started until noon. First was a trip to my local marina, Manatee Landings. I spoke to the owner's son who is now 23 and started working for his father at the marina when he was 7. Apparently the first thing his father did was go down to Home Depot and buy a tool belt for his son and put him to work. The father says he loved working there and was a big part of the labor force. Wow, is all I have to say. While speaking to him, he was very attentive and professional and respective of the customers. Folks, this is quite the story in the making. Manatee Landings is a multi-million dollar complex and the son has been involved from the ground up. The father says he's looking forward to retiring and handing the reins over to the son. However, the father is hand on in the management, not to the point of overdoing, but simply jumping in to ensure the operation runs smoothly. Such a different attitude from where I bought my boat (which will go unnamed) and I really would go to practically any other marina.

Anyway, back to the story. The seas were rough that day, my friend. Indeed they were with a 20 to 25 knot northwesterly stirring up Tampa Bay with 4 to 6 foot chop, so I invented Boating Rule #1 "When the weather says No, one must be prepared not to go. I poked my nose out of the Manatee River and into Tampa Bay and was quickly rewarded with huge salt sprays all over my boat. OK, I get the message. Back to DeSoto Memorial anchorage nestled right at the mouth of the bay. This is the exact spot where Hernando DeSoto is reputed to have first landed on his epic voyage throughout Southeast United States. It does seem logical as it is the only spot where it's 6 foot deep only 10 feet from shore. Very easy to put a ship's dingy's ashore. Had a very peaceful first evening. Had the KFC since it can only be stored for a few days. Nice sunset. and it quickly cooled down. Got the blanket and the TV out and watched a little before turning in.
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Southport Marina
Pelican's Perch