Days on cruise: 252
Distance traveled: 16.8 miles
Travel time: 2 hrs, 11 min
Total trip odometer: 5,617
After a week of resting up and playing with crew from 5-9 other Looper boats, the time to depart Tarpon Springs arrived Saturday.
Turtle Cove Marina has shallow water, and boats with our 3’7” draft can only get in and out at mid-tide or higher, so we waited until 1:30 p.m. when Darrell and Lisa on Why Knot cast us off.
We were followed by Proud Lady, Catmandu and Sea-N-Red, all headed for points south.
Back in the Florida Intracoastal Waterway, and on a sunny weekend afternoon, we were quickly reminded that the many Go-Fast Boats will do just that: pass you close by as fast as possible, leaving you wildly rocking and rolling in their wakes, with no regard whatsoever for the fact they’re legally responsible for any damage caused by their wake. (Do we sound grumpy? We get that way after a few of these, and then practice our short words).
After passing under the Honeymoon Island Causeway bridge with 4 feet of clearance above Next To Me, we at first missed the turn up the side channel headed for Caladesi State Park. Note the green-marked back-tracking 500 feet. And note just how shallow the water is outside the marked channel, as it will be throughout Florida waters.
Proud Lady and Catmandu continued south to Clearwater, but Sea-N-Red, a pretty American Tug, was also headed to Caladesi.
The marina is part of Caladesi State Park and almost all the slips are for boats 40-feet or shorter, with beams of 12 feet or less. Our boat, at 42 feet and with a 14’3” beam, can only fit in 2 or 3 of their slips. Fortunately, a suitable slip was available, and before 5:00 we were secured for the night.
We immediately headed to the beach to catch the sunset with Buddy and Phyllis from Sea-N-Red, wonderful folks who were part of our Gulf Crossing flotilla and hail from Pensacola and Wyoming. They just started their Loop in Pensacola a few weeks ago.
Though it was a cloudy evening, and the sunset wasn’t spectacular, the sand was white, the water clear, the air warm enough, and we were all relaxed and happy, counting our blessings to be able to experience this beautiful place.
Life is good.