Monday, February 1, 2016


Blossom in her slip at Longboat Key Club Moorings, the marina and grounds are beautiful 

And whoosh – two weeks have passed! Ultimately we had a very lovely visit in Sarasota though we were a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to do all we had hoped. I ended up getting sick with the cough/cold that’s been going around. It started the day we arrived and I just started to feel “myself” yesterday! Then we had some not-so-nice weather (including a tornado touching down 4 miles away). Fortunately, however, our time in Sarasota was also punctuated with several wonderful get-togethers with friends and family which ultimately resulted in a fabulous stay!

Swans on the golf course lake

We started off with a bang – hunkering down in anticipation of the storm to come the evening of our arrival.  Martin and I were both practically comatose on Nightquil but we were both up at 3am which seemed to be the peak of the storm. With our fender boards down and extra lines we didn’t experience much movement at all. We were well protected by the Key. The next day we learned that a tornado had touched down just south of us on Siesta Key, travelled inland and killed two people. It was a tragic storm.

Our first few days we stayed in, cozy with the nasty weather outside, trying to fend off the virus. Our first outings were with Joe & Holly, our friends who had told us about Longboat Key Moorings. We were so happy that we were able to get together with them before they headed back north. One evening they invited us aboard Scamper (their gorgeous Fleming) for cocktails. Then we went to a restaurant down at St. Armand’s square, the big social/retail area just south of the marina. We enjoyed fabulous food and company!  Martin was able to get out and enjoy a game of golf with Joe too. He had a blast and was pleasantly surprised with his game, especially given that he hadn’t played in about 30 years! We’re looking forward to seeing them again, maybe up north on the east coast next year.

We also got to spend a lot of time with family while were here. We enjoyed a lovely dinner with Martin’s family, Penelope, Syd & Brenda the first we arrived down at St. Armand’s Circle. The following week, Penelope’s sister Sally and her friend Chris were visiting, as were my Dad & step-Mom. Penelope graciously hosted us all one evening. She prepared a marvelous dinner and we enjoyed sharing the evening with our two families. The next day Martin’s family came over to Blossom for tea and we got a great picture of the four cousins!

Penelope, Sally, Brenda & Martin

We plan to rent a car in St. Pete’s for a week or two so we’ll be driving down to Sarasota soon to visit with them again!
We also had a great visit with my Dad & step Mom, Annette, who came to visit us for us for three days. Ironically, all four of us had had the same bug this month so we all took it a bit easy! We did get out and about a bit though and we went to see the Ringling Museum, Mote Laboratory and St. Armand’s Circle while they were here. The three days flew by!

At Ca’ D’Zan (Ringling’s house at the museum)

A small part of the huge circus model


Lunch time for the resident manatees and turtle at Mote Laboratory

Enjoying a cocktail on a cool evening on the fly bridge

Another highlight of our trip was getting to know new friends, Don & Nancy. They’re local to the area and took us out to lunch at the Sarasota Yacht Club – which is gorgeous! We were happy to have them over one evening and then check out the club restaurant here, Portofino. Don is a very experienced boater and has a wealth of local knowledge.  He talked with Martin about the tight pass north of here at Jewfish Key (we’ll be going through there on our way to St. Pete’s on Monday) and told us how to get into the inlet here at Sarasota.  Our last day in Sarasota was a memorable one thanks to Don & Nancy. They picked us up on their center console with friends Mike & Sandy. We had an awesome tour of the bay, docked at a restaurant, Mar Vista, on the north side of Longboat Key for lunch, then visited their beautiful N55, Odyssey. Don is an amazing craftsman and has done some professional grade work on their boat. Poor Martin, I took pictures - his “honey do” list got a bit longer that day J It was such a fun day and so nice to leave Sarasota on such a high note. I have a few photos from the day but no pics of the gorgeous ladies. I need to get better about taking people photos! They’re sorely lacking from our time in Sarasota.

Martin, Ron & Mike

Cruising up the bay

My favorite bird, cormorant on a mooring ball

Pelican row, can you see them all?  Oh oh the smell, the smell that surrounds them! (ick)

One of the few outings we had on our own was on a Saturday, when the winds happened to be blowing a sustained 30+ knots, and I had cabin fever. We decided to get out and about so we Ubered into town to check out the farmer’s market. Then we walked back across the Ringling Bridge to St. Armands Key. Unfortunately, there were some victims of the high winds.

Boat ashore on the east side of the bay

Boat ashore on the west side of the bay

The wind was howling, check out those trees!

There was a third sailboat that grounded in the middle of the bay on a shoal. They were pulling her off 2 weeks later as we passed by with Don, Nancy, Mike & Sandy.

Success, she was pulled of the shoal!

Although we spent two weeks in Sarasota, I’m sorry to say that we didn’t really get to know the area as I had hoped we would. We have several activities still on our “to-do” list so we’re simply going to have to visit again!

And now it’s Monday, and February, and we’re off to St. Petersburg, Florida. I really enjoyed our time there last year and I’m looking forward to getting to know it better. Both Martin and I are feeling better and we’re looking forward to exploring and reconnecting with friends here. On to our next adventure!

Boat Business:
  • Flag up. We forgot to take in our flag during one of the windy storms and an eye loop bent. Martin fixed it up and it’s back flying on our stern.
  • 9k Gen. After much consulting with Northern Lights guru, Bob Senter, (he’s fantastic!) we have a tech coming out to help trouble shoot it next Thursday. Seems we might have a couple things going on there. Will post when we know what’s going on…
  • New headsets. Rick & Michelle recommended Sena headsets (one of our Eartecs died) so we got a pair and gave them a try on our way to St. Pete’s. They’re cordless and wrap around the back of your head – very comfortable and loud. We like them a lot (thanks guys J
  • We have very firm plans for the Bahamas in May with multiple guests coming into Nassau, so I went ahead and reserved slips at the marinas there for pick-ups and drop-offs. It’s still a ways away but I feel good knowing we have everything all set up.