Day 69, 70, 71 & 72 Down the Intracoastal

We had planned to stay in the Tampa area and just hang out for a while since we were way ahead of schedule. I was worried about my transmission leak and looked into finding a mechanic that could help me out. I found a guy who came highly recommended on the AGLCA site. He said he could help me out but he was based out of the Ft. Myers Yacht basin and it would be better for him if we were closer to there. I called and got a slip for Monday the 25th of November.

The trip down the intracoastal from Tarpon Springs was a pleasant 4 days of travel down Florida’s west coast.

Day 1 we had planned on a short hop to Caladesi Island State park. A State park only accessible by boat with an awesome beach. But when we tried to get in, it was low tide. Watson’s on Knot Diggin tried to go in first but they started stirring up bottom and turned back. We draw a little more water than they do so we didn’t even try. We continued on and found an anchorage in a bay behind Reddington Shores beach area.

The bay was surrounded by houses and I prefer to anchor out in secluded areas but this was a pleasant surprise. When we dropped the dinghy in to go to shore so we could walk on the beach, we ran into some other Loopers from Forever Friday who told us about the Seabreeze Restaurant. It was one of their favourite stops and they anchor here just to go to dinner.

So after a nice walk on the beach we went into the Seabreeze for happy hour. Full dinners for $12 and a free beer if you show up by boat. Now it’s one of my favourite stops too!

Day 2 was calm so we travelled out through John’s Pass and ran on the gulf to Tampa Bay.

Janet had a conversation with this guy who called us on the radio to compliment us on our boat as he had the same one back home.

The Tampa Bay Bridge.

We crossed Tampa Bay and went back into the intracoastal dropping anchor behind Lido Key. Another dinghy ride to walk the beach, dinner on the boat and a quiet night at anchor.

Day 3, November 23rd we stayed on the inside past some impressive coastal properties.

Through a couple of bridges that required opening.

This one we had to wait for the bridge tender to leisurely walk out, stop traffic and then open the bridge by hand. It’s good not to be in a hurry.

We stopped at Venice beach to take on a little fuel and fresh water. Things were a little tight as they had a dredging operation going on, but we made it in and out without incident.

We were going to anchor near Englewood but it was very busy with an Offshore boat event going on, so we just drove by and took a few pics of the boats.

Then we continued on to anchor out in Gasparilla Sound, for another quiet night on the hook.

The start of Day 4. Was fun watching Janet out on the bow watching the dolphins as we crossed Charoltte Harbor.

We stopped at Cabbage Key for our “Cheeseburger in Paradise” for lunch.

The most expensive cheeseburger ever. Apparently if you can get a hit song written about your food, you can charge big bucks fot it.

Since we didn’t spend enough on lunch we threw a few more dollars at the wall to say that we were there.

That night we made it Cape Coral in time to meet our friends from Port Franks, Darlene and Gary, for a few drinks at Fathoms.

It was a great 4 days of cruising in the Sunny warm waters of Florida.

Don McCulloch
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