Days on cruise: 255
Distance traveled: 23.7 miles
Travel time: 3 hours, 1 minute
Total trip odometer: 5,640 statute miles
Being back in the land of palm trees, shallow waters, pelicans and dolphins feels familiar, much like last winter and spring when we took a “shake down” cruise on Next To Me from Fort Pierce to the Keys and back, then headed north on the Intracoastal Waterway to Georgia. What’s different this time is the weather is unseasonably chilly. We’ve had a few warm days (70s) but mostly since our return to the boat January 3, daily high temps have been in the 50s and 60s, with lows in the 30s, 40s or 50s. And it’s been windy!
Today’s journey was mostly in the narrow, dredged ICW channel with very shallow water just outside the channel, requiring constant attention to the red and green marks. We’re pretty relaxed about this kind of travel now, unlike when we were first trained by Captains Chris and Alyse Caldwell exactly a year ago.
We passed under a number of bridges including Clearwater Bridge below, and all were high enough we didn’t need to call for an opening.
Considering the temperature and wind, we saw more boat traffic than we expected . . .
. . . . and mile after mile after mile of both high-rise and low-rise condominiums.
We don’t understand what the tall hardware on this boat is for; it doesn’t look like a typical fishing or crabbing boat.
And there were zillions of cheek-by-jowl houses in the 5,000 to 15,000 square foot range. WHERE does all that money come from?
And an occasional “old Florida” house with lots of color and character.
The blue circle with a blue dot in the middle shows tonight’s marina on Treasure Island, just east of John’s Pass, the inlet that leads to the Gulf of Mexico from the ICW. This shows, too, the beautiful, white sand beaches and shallow water.
More condos, and the marina (yellow fuel dock and office building) where we’re tied up for tonight. Mostly empty.
There could be LOTS of cold, bored folks sitting inside their condos with binoculars trained on our boat for entertainment, for all we know! We’ll be sure to close the blinds and curtains after dark.
We spent the afternoon wandering the John’s Pass boardwalk. This place is full of colorful, silly kitsch. The Gators (football team) are big here, so this entire restaurant is devoted to them.
A pet store invites you (not us, as we have no pets) to buy fashionable items for your dog.
All in all, we found the John’s Pass tourist area not very interesting. Maybe on a sunny, warm day when lots of people are out and about, sitting on decks drinking margaritas and listening to music, it might be fun. Today it just looked sorta sad. But the beach looks gorgeous, and we’ll check that out tomorrow if the wind dies down.