Tonight we're sitting in a quiet little anchorage next to Desoto National Monument Park near Bradenton Florida. We just finished a quick dinner of grilled hot dogs, spinach strawberry salad, coleslaw and baked beans. Coleen is watching Pirates of the Caribbean 3 for the second time this week . The wind is just about calm but I'm hopeful a little breeze is on the way as he no seeums are starting to come out-which could end our little party on the foredeck.
We dropped the hook here shortly after 1 p.m. today after traveling across Tampa Bay. It was a very choppy trip not only due to the wind and current, but made a little more fun by all the power boats in the channel. Still it was quite beautiful and as we went past the Skyway bridge Coleen lost one of her top front teeth. Talk about timing. I was not in a position to do anything to help and it was lost in a bowl of cereal :-)
We traveled across the bay and into the Manatee River. Lots of sailboats were out enjoying the day and more power boats than you can count. It made the anchorage very rolly and at one point -- just as we were getting ready to hop in the dinghy and head to shore -- my boat was sent flying by a large wake and crashed into Perseverance bending one of its stanchions. We adjusted fenders and put out another and decided to wait until things calmed down a bit. DJ put out a shade tarp on the foredeck and we all relaxed reading for a while in the nice breeze.
By early evening all the weekenders were gone, the anchorage quiet, and we headed to shore to explore. The Desoto National Monument Park has a very nice interpretive trail through mangroves along the river's edge. The visitors center was closed - as it was after 5, but we promised Coleen to return tomorrow.
Yesterday -I actually had to work a bit early in the morning. We then took the dinghy over for another grocery/ice run and finally left around 10 a.m. It was only a few miles but we had to travel through 4 drawbridges. Just before the 3rd bridge my engine alarm started blaring. I quickly put it in neutral- then decided to move out of the channel and drop the hook. Unfortunately this took a bit too long as my anchor was not that ready. I still hadn't put the Danforth back on the rail after stowing it for the crossing. Anyway, I got it down and then went inside to take a look.
Whew was it ever hot in there! I nearly passed out while working to clear the water strainer. It only took a few minutes though and I had it all back together and was underway in time for the bridge opening. We arrived at the anchorage near Maximo Point around 2:30 pm. It was near a very busy, noisy bridge but was fairly calm. We had a great time swimming and snorkeling - although the water was not very clear. Later we took a fast dinghy ride down the shore a bit to a very nice park. Coleen had fun on the playground while DJ and I took turns having a walk. After heading back to the boats we grilled steaks & sweet potatoes and feasted on some decadent little pastries from the Publix bakery. We ate dinner as a little pinnic sitting on the foredeck of Perserverance while watching a lightening show far in the distance.
It's been a very pleasant weekend, which I badly needed after a pretty stressful, long work week. We had planned to leave that anchorage earlier but I worked late every evening and was unable to travel. Still it was a great place and we managed to have some fun too.
We'll probably stay here all week as I have to make a quick business trip to NY at the end of the week. Now that's going to be a culture shock - leaving in the a.m. via a dinghy -traveling by plane and arriving in Manhattan for a business meeting in the late afternoon. I guess I'll have to wear shoes :-)