Days on cruise: 253
Friends Jim and Sharon on “Blue Angel”, two time Loopers and full-time cruisers we met in the Florida Keys a year ago and have seen several times on our Loop, first encouraged us to come to Caladesi, telling us it’s one of their all-time favorite places. We understand why they feel that way.
We’d heard this marina, close to metropolitan areas like Clearwater, Tampa, Sarasota and others, is very busy on weekends. Maybe it’s the unseasonably cool weather, but it was never more than half-full this weekend. Now, Sunday night, it’s down to only 8 boats, two of which are Volunteers who help out in the Park and spend the whole winter here.
Caladesi is served by a ferry from nearby Honeymoon Island, a 20-minute ride away, which arrives hourly during winter months. There’s no access to Caladesi except by boat. The ferry plies it’s way past our slip, only 25 feet off our bow, but fortunately doesn’t begin service until 10am and quits at 5pm. It’s nice to see happy people coming to comb the beach, and they all leave with the last ferry, as there’s no camping or overnight accommodations here except on private boats like ours.
We spent the afternoon walking the beach to the far north point of the island. We saw lots of shore birds, other animals including a raccoon, snails and crabs, and some people, but not many. The beach is so littered with shells that it’s impossible to walk without stepping on them at times.
A long stretch of the beach has benches every 200 yards, so we sat on a bench for our picnic lunch and to watch the boat traffic passing by, including Jet Skis, pontoon boats, a commercial Dive Boat, larger cruising motor boats in the distance, and some airplanes and helicopters overhead.
Near sunset we plopped into beach chairs, and shortly Phyllis and Buddy from Sea-N-Red appeared to share the view, coming from the south end of the beach where they’d been on a walk.
We’re so charmed by this place, its’ beauty, peace and quiet, that we’ve decided to stay another night after tomorrow.