We dropped the hook just before noon at the Longboat Key anchorage and hung around for the afternoon. Sometime around 5 p.m. I raised the anchor using the manual windlass. It's a 60 pound anchor with an all chain rode. I wanted to see if I could manage it. It turned out to be no problem at all - actually easier than on my boat where I have to pull it in by hand. We headed down the ICW a bit and grabbed a private mooring just off of Cortez that belonged to one of our friends at Longboat.
Later in the evening our friends on the Irwin (with 3 children) showed up at the anchorage and we invited them over. The kids settled down to watch a movie and I made popcorn. No sooner did I get it popped than DJ stuck his head in and said to pause the movie we all had to come out on deck. We had been boarded by the Coast Guard! The were in the harbor doing routine inspections on all the boats. We all had to sit on the bow of the boat while DJ showed them around inside. I asked if I could at least give the children their popcorn and they agreed. We sat there for about 30 minutes or so while they did their "inspection" finding that all was in order. Our friends on the Irwin were worried about going back to their boat as they were only 1 week on the water and were not entirely sure they had everything in order. So we all sat in the cockpit and took turns with the binoculars watching the Coast Guard show.
At one point a fishing boat went by blaring music. The coasties hailed them to come over. It was a bit of a sight as one man was wearing only a g-string and a ribbon around his neck. They said they were on their way to a party!
About an hour later another Coast Guard boat came by. We explained that we had already been checked. Clearly they had a poorly coordinated effort! It's just amazing to me that they can come aboard and search your vessel without cause - any time day or night. We heard stories from others of boardings in the middle of the night. They'll even board you while underway pulling up alongside and putting someone on board. I guess those of us on the water do not have the same rights as those on land. Imagine if the police were able to just barge into your house in the middle of the night-put everyone including kids on the porch to wait, while they did a "routine check". The entire experience was very unsettling to say the least!