Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Trying to Figure Out What to Do

This is the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, They have a large piece of the Municipal Marina just across the Street.

We were watching the 10pm news and learned you could go to this Coal Powered power plant and view the Manatees in their outflow channel to Tampa Bay. An unusual relationship between nature and a power plant. The Manatees seek shelter in the warmer waters in the outflow channel.

We must have seen 50 or more manatees, sometimes you just see their back, or their nose sticking out or their curved tail flipper coming out of the water. They had a really nice viewing area for the public to come in for free, we stayed about 3 hours here.

Caught this sunset from our marina where their after a lot of those fishing boats stacked 6 high in the dry stack storage building.

Another shot of the same sunset, you can see the mast of WS.

This is the view just off the bow of WS, little islands to kayak to.

We took a day trip over to Clearwater on a very windy day to get off the rocking boat. The beaches have lots of public access, The water was a lot like Port A's since the gulf was all churned up from 2 days of high winds.

The Clearwater Pass from the Gulf of Mexico is right at the second big building from the left.

This is the entrance from the Gulf at Clearwater, I always like to see a pass from the land side in the event we ever use it to come in from the Gulf.

After clearing the Pass you travel under this bridge and you are at the GICW.

While the Admiral make a run to Austin to make a Dr. Appointment I made took a day to go check out all the Tampa Bay area Marinas, This is St. Petersburg Municipal. It has fixed docks but it's location is adjacent to a very vibrant downtown and would be a great place to stay for a while.

This is the entrance to the Municipal marina from the Bay, easy to get right out in great sailing waters.

This is Harborage Marina at Bayboro about 1/2 mile West of the Municipal Marina.

They are a bit more $$ but they have floating docks. Much Better.

We sailed under The Sunshine Skyway Bridge on the way to Tampa Harbor but it is not near as impressive as it is driving over it. I tried to take a pic through the windshield but it didn't work to well so I snatched this off the Internet, I think it is 170' clearance. This bridge goes from St. Petersburg to the Bradenton Fl area where I was headed to see 2 marinas on the Manatee River.

This is the Regatta Point Marina, a huge facility where cruisers and liveaboards flock to. They cater to this community and have all sorts of amenities and activities to keep them coming back. They are fixed docks but very well maintained and very close to prime cruising waters from here to Sarasota.

If we come over here this would be the docks for us.

Straight across the river on the Bradenton side is the Twin Dolphins Marina, the most expensive I saw on this day trip but they are floating docks and one very well traveled cruiser told me the best of all the marinas in the area. He said the Bradenton/Sarasota area is the #1 retirement spot in the US.

All these Marinas over here have swimming pools and lots of resort type amenities.

This would be our dock here if we come this way.

Here is the Little truck that can. A 1997 with 225,000 miles. Just like a Timex.

On day 2 of my Marina survey I went to downtown Tampa and Davis Island. This is the Very Quaint Marjoire Park Marina, to bad no live aboards but what a neat spot to come for a few nights. Davis Island is all residential and in the shadow of all the high rise Tampa buildings.

A great view, the big ships do not come into this part of the channel, they are not far though.

This Little Green Heron was just killin time.

This is the channel leading out to Tampa Bay. Only recreational vessels in this part of the channel.

On the South end of Davis Island is this cove that has this rather large mooring field that is free to habit. All sorts of vessels in here right next to the Davis Island Yacht Club.

As you can see the mooring field is just a couple of miles from downtown Tampa.

Here is the Davis Island Yacht Club, there was a lot of activity there on a Thursday afternoon.

A local fisherman told me this vessel is over 128 years old a a young couple live aboard and work somewhere in Tampa.

I thought this was a Irwin just like our friends Dean and Aleta, but it is not a ketch, looks a lot like Adagio though.

This is a very Salty Fisher, a great Bluewater boat and I wondered how long she had been on this mooring

Just them I noticed there was a mast sticking out of the water and this diver was over there trying to raise the vessel. The fisherman told me this was the second vessel that week that had been raised from the bottom.

Well we are in the midst of trying to figure out just exactly what our best move is since we will be delayed probably till the end of April while the Admiral gets her Cataract Surgery completed and back in shape to be aboard a cruising sailboat. We will just have May and June to make it around Florida and up the East Coast into waters that are relatively safe for Hurricane season. This means we would be constantly moving and not really enjoying the trip since we would have to leave the best parts of Florida as soon as we get there. And we are finding out this is a great place to stay awhile and enjoy the local cruising waters near Tampa from Sarasota to Tarpon Springs.

I decided to take a couple of days while the Admiral is back in Austin to survey all the area marinas and research the possibility of just staying put in this area through the 2012 Hurricane Season, then we can continue on to the East coast next November. My trip to visit all the Tampa Bay area Marinas by land also offered the opportunity to gain the local knowledge we would need if we decided to commit to a 7 month stay in this area. Well it is clear there is plenty to keep us entertained here for a long time with lots of either very well developed destinations to almost secluded anchorages in every direction. Just have to pick the best marina community for a home base. The Manatee River is very attractive since it has two really impressive Marinas and just a short day cruise to Sarasota waters. St. Petersburg offers a very vibrant downtown area and easy cruising either North to Clearwater and Tarpon Springs. or South to Sarasota. There were two marinas in a very protected Little Manatee River on the Tampa Bay South West shore. Then you have to decide if the +'s around the marinas with fixed docks are worth it or just take the convience of the marinas with floating docks. Of the 6 marinas under consideration they are all relatively safe from storms. The two in the Little Manatee River offer the best protection but they are very secluded from even grocery stores. For now we have a very safe marina with floating docks and once we get through March we should know exactly what we want to do.

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