Tuesday, December 28, 2010

December 15-28 On Bay and Land

Finally, on December 15th, a forecasted warm morning, mid 50s, - we took  advantage of it and motor sailed on light winds under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge to the Manatee River at the southeast end of Tampa Bay.  Just a few miles up the river is the Bradenton Yacht Club @ Snead Island, where Keri and her good friend, Lisa, joined us.  For their visit we planned to bike, sail and enjoy our time together.  Both Keri and Lisa are excellent cooks and we were the beneficiaries of their talents – yummy dinners they brought with them.  On Thursday there was little wind with temperatures around 70, perfect for the several mile bike ride to explore Emerson Point Preserve.  There are several ancient Indian Shell Mounds that afford great views of the surround waters.  Dense Mangroves, Live Oak, Magnolia and Gumbo Limbo trees provide nesting areas for the Egrets, Herons, Ibises and many non-aquatic birds like the Palm Warbler and the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.  After this delight sojourn we decided to take a short car ride to St. Armand’s Key to see the shops in all their holiday decorations.  We did not leave empty handed – a Christmas gift or two. Friday’s planned sail had to be postponed as another cold front came roaring through bringing blustery 20-25 knot winds.  After much discussion on Christmas plans, it was decided that we could not cook the traditional “Standing Rib Roast” in our galley oven.  Thus we should trek to Orlando and enjoy a fresh smelling spruce Christmas tree and a feast with all the trimmings.  Their short visit ended and the ladies returned to Orlando.  We braved the cold winds for two more nights at the Yacht Club connected to shore power and warmed by Zephyrina’s heater.  On Monday we moved a couple miles down the Manatee River and anchored off Emerson Point, again enjoying the calmer warmer weather.  To accomplish the logistics getting to Orlando for the holiday we sailed 25 miles north (burr) to the Davis Island Yacht Club (Tampa) to leave Zephyrina.  After a short taxi ride to the Amtrak Station and then a 2-½ hour train ride we were in Winter Park (Orlando).  Santa added a few items under the decorated  tree and Christmas dinner was Keri’s usual culinary treat.  On our return what do you think was approaching – another cold front. We’ve stayed an extra two days to wait it out but tomorrow it will be warm enough to point Zephyrina south again.  Longboat Key (Jewfish) anchorage will be our first stop, then out in the Gulf and to Venice on New Year’s Eve.

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