Finally, after three months in St Petersburg, we are leaving this safe home base, and heading south. Ready or not! The marina does start to exert its own gravitational pull. The environment is familiar now; we even have our favorite walks and restaurants. We have made friends on the docks. TC and Suzanne who live on the beautiful sailing vessel Arabella and hope to start cruising next year. Robert and Rhonda on Eagle Too who have given us lots of good advice on cruising and provisioning. Doug and Glenda, from Ontario, who are doing the great loop of North American waterways, and have been fun happy hour companions. Pat and Melana who sail a beautiful catamaran and have been gracious hosts, hopefully leaving about a week after we do when their sails are replaced.
It would have been easy to keep puttering around on projects, socializing, and packing. But Drew and Sharon picked a date, and we used that as our motivation to get moving. I had to have a little heart-to-heart with Mike on our last morning in the marina. In my best wifely tone, I gently suggested “maybe it’s time to stop tearing the boat apart on new projects, and start putting the boat back together again.”
Our last few projects involved registering the car in Florida, so we wouldn’t get fined while storing it (which only took three attempts at the DMV) and selling our townie bikes. That part made me very sad, and I sent mike in to Play it Again Sports to do the deal so I didn’t have to watch. I asked if he told the clerk that her name was Olive Oyl and if he promised to take good care of her.
Anyway, on Sunday morning, 21 Jan, we finished our last fill of the water tank, last check of the electrical systems, said our last goodbyes, and finally untied the lines and left St Petersburg. Gulp!
Super light winds meant we were pretty much just motoring, not sailing, but they also ensured a smooth Tampa Bay, and an easy trip under the Skyway Bridge, past Eggmont Key, and sound into new territory. An easy six hour motor, and we were on a mooring ball at Marina Jack’s in Sarasota by 4:00. Just for comparison, to drive from St Pete to Sarasota would have taken us just over an hour. We are definitely doing slow travel now!
Put the dinghy in the water, and headed ashore to celebrate our first day at happy hour, and luckily stumbled into the Sarasota Seafood and Music Festival. Fun opportunity to dance to a soul and funk band while eating shrimp. So far, this cruising thing is off to a good start!