Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Clearwater - St. Petersburg
"Time flies when you are having fun." Indeed. John celebrated his birthday fishing off shore Clearwater with Dale and Pete. Catching should have been the operative word in that sentence as they were very successful. We dined on grouper and grunt for several nights. Helen played tennis with Jeanie and her "fun bunch". On our last day of rental car access we drove to Tarpon Springs to walk the "sponge docks" and enjoy Spanakopita and a Gyro at one of the many Greek restaurants. Last time was by sea on our first Gulf crossing in 2005. Between these activities we took a sojourn to Orlando for Thanksgiving, cycling on Cady Way and building a kitchen shelf for chef Keri. Checking weather is a constant while cruising and seeing an impending cold front approaching for Tuesday night and Wednesday we made the mariners decision to move on to St. Petersburg two days early. Knowing the wind would be on our nose for 2/3s of the sail, outside, from Clearwater to Pass A Grille we went ahead, for the other evil was five drawbridges and the "stop and go" of the Inter Coastal Waterway. It was sunny and the crab pots along the coast were not as numerous as usual. An hour before sunset we dropped anchor at Maximo Point in southern Pinellas County. Three fishermen were wading half way between our stern and the shore as they caught several fish, One looked like a flounder. John tried his luck from Zephyrina's deck. It was catch and release - a Ladyfish and a Silver Seatrout. This was a good anchorage, spacious with 10 to 17 feet depths and protected from all but south wind. It wasn't the quietest though, with the causeway to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge 500 or so yards away. Next time we will anchor further north closer to the public park. We raised anchor by 0900 the next morning and motored into an east wind for an hour. Once around the tip of the mainland, we sailed up Tampa Bay to the St. Petersburg Yacht Club. While enjoying the St. Pete Boast Show, cycling (we have folding bikes aboard), great restaurants and museums, Lippincott Marine Canvas will replace the bimini they made for us in early 2004. The Florida sun is brutal.