Saturday, March 22, 2014–We pulled away from our dock in Palmetto at 9:00 and headed out into southern Tampa Bay. It was partly cloudy with a temp. of 65 degrees. There was a light breeze blowing creating a small chop on the water. Auggie took his place beside me and we were on our way.
Bob commented, “At least this time we made it more than 10 feet from the dock”. Last year when we tried taking this trip, we had engine problems. Since then, we had two brand new motors installed and should be good to go. Crossing the bay, we entered the ICW just north of Anna Maria Island. Traffic was light for a Saturday, but it was still early…some cruisers, mostly fishermen. Pleasure boat traffic increased as the morning wore on. In Sarasota Bay, a whole fleet of go-fast boats passed us going north, followed by a helicopter that was taking pictures.
Passing Marina Jacks in Sarasota we encountered a beautiful yacht turning north up the ICW.
South of Sarasota we had to slow down to pass a crew of 8 kids practicing their rowing skills. We didn’t want to swamp them and the Coast Guard boat was watching things closely.
As we motored south, we called Blackburn Pt. Swing Bridge for an opening. It opened on cue for us and another Sea Ray that was traveling with us since Siesta Key Bridge.
As we approached Albee Rd. Bridge further down the ICW, boat traffic was heavy, as usual, due to the appearance of dolphins in the area. We had to wait for an opening here while the bridge tender cleared the traffic on the bridge.
Venice was a flurry of activity, but not at the island near the entrance to the inlet where it was undergoing renourishment. Normally, it’s swarming with people, but not today. We cleared the Venice Inlet around noon and continued south through the “trench” between Venice and Englewood for about 3 miles. We arrived in our Englewood anchorage around 1:30 and settled in for 2 nights.
We watched the stream of boats going to and from the beach all afternoon in “ski alley”. It’s an area where you do not have to go at idle speed, so boats tend to really move through there until they hit the “slow, no wake” zone where the anchorage is. Later in the afternoon, we took a dinghy ride down “ski alley” to check out the action. Auggie was anxious to get in the dinghy and go for a ride. There were people everywhere, beached on the sand bars, enjoying the afternoon.
We made a stop at Stump Pass State Park on our way back and took Auggie for a walk. We all returned and relaxed a little before dinner. We’re going to celebrate on our first night out with steak on the grill. It should be a calm, peaceful night once everyone goes home from the beach.