We awoke to another beautiful day along the Intracoastal Waterway. Upon arising, we pampered ourselves with an early morning swim in the Palm Island Marina pool. Shortly thereafter, we cast off our dock lines without incident and made our way out into the ICW. Today was our longest of the several days of traveling north up the ICW. We left Palm Island around 9 am and arrived in Sarasota around 3:30 pm. It was another gorgeous day with bright sun and slight winds. We made our way through too many draw bridges and swing bridges to keep track of.
Today, Cindy accomplished a number of firsts. While she does very well with the boat when I can get her involved in its running, it is not something for which she ever volunteers. She would much rather hang out with our company on the trampolines – and who could blame her. I don’t mind, but she really needs to become proficient at handling the boat. With minimal prompting today, on two occasions she took over the helm. She was able to get a feel for piloting Beatitude up a narrow channel (the ICW). She also had her first experience on the VHF radio. Not only did she switch the radio channels between 9 (the bridge hailing channel) and 16 (the general calling and hailing channel), but she actually hailed a couple of the bridges and requested openings. She then courageously directed our ship through the bridge openings. I thought she did very well and I’m sure her confidence level increased significantly from the experience.
Along our day’s route, we encountered more dolphins than I can keep track of. I also spotted a manatee swimming along in front of the boat. The joy and excitement from the sightings of animal and plant life as we live and move on our boat is indescribable.
Shortly after passing through the Stickney Point Bridge and making our way into Sarasota Bay, we pulled into the Sarasota Mooring Field and picked up a mooring ball (just to continue to vary our experiences). This was accomplished without significant difficulty. With the boat secured, we three boarded the dinghy and headed into Marina Jack to check in. After doing so, we walked a few blocks into downtown Sarasota. Once we did a little shopping at a consignment store, we made our way to Cafe Amici, a wonderful little Italian restaurant. My Pollo Milanese with Arugula accompanied by some red Sicilian wine was perfect.
Just as we finished our meal, we heard the loud rumble of nearby thunder. We quickly paid our bill and scurried the few blocks back to the marina to beat the rain (we had left the hatches and windows open on the boat). Fortunately, we arrived back on board just as the rain arrived. Thank you, God, once again! This was only the second episode of rain we’ve had on the entire trip. This one, like the first, lasted for about five minutes and was gone. It left in its place a most refreshing cool southerly breeze. I sit on the bow of the boat enjoying its coolness as I type this.
Today is our last evening to spend away from our home marina. In the morning, we will make our way back to Regatta Pointe.