Monday, January 28, 2013

Sarasota, Florida

Days on cruise:  261

Distance traveled:  38.6 miles

Travel time: 4 hours, 23 minutes

Total trip odometer:  5,702 statute miles

Stephen from “Jackets II” came for coffee on our boat this morning as he often does when we’re together, and we had a good visit. Cathryn visited Joy and Bill on “Proud Mary” and said goodbye to Charlotte, then it was time to leave.

The weather was mild today with light winds, small whitecaps, and warm temperatures, so our trip across Tampa Bay to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and on to Sarasota was uneventful.


Blog reader Mike, on 40’ DeFever “Full Step” asks what navigation software we use for the screenshots, as above. This is “Garmin Blue Charts Mobile” app, a new Apple app that came out in November which integrates Garmin charts with Active Captain. The app itself is free, but you can buy charts for all of North America, including Canada and Mexico, at a cost of $50, so Bob sprung for it, and we love it!

We were in the Tampa Bay Shipping Channel for a while today, so of course passed big ships.


The new Sunshine Skyway causeway bridge, below, is a 4.1-mile cable-stayed bridge completed in 1987. Cathryn’s  parents lived in Tampa from 1977-1981, and during that time her Dad was General Manager of a network TV station. During a storm in 1980 the freighter “Summit Venture” collided with one of the bridge’s piers sending 1,200 feet of the bridge plummeting into Tampa Bay. This caused 6 cars, a truck and a Greyhound bus to fall 150 feet into the Bay, killing 35 people. Cathryn’s Dad recalls lots of details about the accident, his news crew covering the story on site for more than 24 hours and feeding live news coverage nationwide to tell of the disaster. The new bridge today, beautiful and modern, evokes no negative reminders of that tragedy, especially on a sunny, calm day.


The Sarasota waterfront boasts, among other things, a lavender Performing Arts Center, on left below.


Marina Jack, where we’re now tied to a mooring ball for two nights, is a big, fancy marina. It has valet parking (not something we’ve seen before), HUGE yachts in residence that make “Next To Me” look like a tender by comparison, and every amenity one could wish for, including a fancy on-site restaurant and a shuttle (which is not available for use by those of us on the mooring balls; only for those who pay much higher prices to stay in the marina).


We dinghied to shore and walked into town to get the lay of the land and grocery shop at the nearby Whole Foods Market, not something we’ve seen in ages.


“Next To Me” is surrounded by dozens of sailboats in the mooring field, and only one other power boat.


Late in the day a poor boater came in under tow.


The view from our sundeck back to the city is pretty!


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