This morning we arose and cast off the dock lines at Palm Island Marina shortly after 9 am. This was a day to be spent primarily making our way up the GICW to reach our next destination in Sarasota. Our day’s trip took approximately six hours and took us through seven bridges – five bascule (draw) bridges and two swing bridges. A few of these opened on demand and all, but two, we timed well. Two of the bridges we had to wait around for 15 minutes or so for them to open.
Other than the fact that traveling on the Intracoastal Waterway requires constant vigilance to make sure one stays in the channel, I always enjoy the ICW. The scenery is beautiful, consisting primarily of undeveloped land with lots of wildlife or huge million dollar-plus homes. Tracy mentioned how she was pleasantly surprised, as she expected the ICW to be more commercialized and industrialized. It truly is an enjoyable trip.
The highlight of our day was in catching fish. I decided to try one of those artificial lures that looks like a multi-colored squid. Apparently blue fish like them. We trolled one behind Beatitude most of the way up to Sarasota. Tracy enjoyed the fight of both fish that were caught on the day, each an 18-20 inch Blue Fish. I had caught a blue fish previously, but did not eat it because of the negative comments about its food quality. Others, though, have stated how much they enjoyed blue fish cooked properly. So, I decided to give it a whirl. We caught our first as we were about to have lunch. So, we had blue fish for lunch! It was quite good cooked on the grill. This is fresh fish at its best – less than 30 minutes from water to plate. We took the fish from the net, I cut the gills to bleed it, quickly filleted it and put it on the grill with some salt, pepper and bay seasoning. Mmmm!
Around 3:30, we picked up a mooring ball at Marina Jack’s. This was a seamless process. It is nice that some skills which are required of cruisers are becoming second nature. We lowered the dinghy and got ready to head to dry land, taking the short dinghy ride to the dinghy dock at Marina Jack’s. From the Marina, we walked into downtown Sarasota and had dinner at an lovely Italian restaurant, Garagiulo’s. After an excellent bottle of wine, bread with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, pasta, and pizza, we walked the 0.4 miles to the convenience store for some bread and eggs. Finally, we walked back to the marina and made our way through the mooring field to Beatitude for the night.
Once we were back on board, we had an evening of relaxation and had time for one game, golf, which was handily won by Cindy (who complained prior to the game starting that she wasn’t any good at this game, obviously a bluff). This is the last night away from Regatta Pointe. Tomorrow, we’ll make our way home to Palmetto where we will need to give Beatitude a good cleaning.