Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Gasparilla Island, Boca Grande and Cabbage Key

29 March 2017

Are we ever bored?  NO!  What do we do at anchor?

Begin the day with a cup of coffee in the cockpit while enjoying the beautiful views

Work on boat chores – Jim is still trying to solve an electrical problem with the autopilot and to learn the intricacies of the SSB.  

Itemize smaller projects – the infamous project list never seems to get any shorter

Research the millions of things we need to learn

Strategize what we need/want to do to improve life aboard

Mend – I would never choose to mend jeans by hand at home, but not many other choices exist on the boat – duct tape? stapler?

Mending Jim's jeans
Keep up with the normal household chores which don’t seem to disappear just because we are on a boat: laundry, cleaning, cooking, doing dishes etc. 

Washing machine a la Well, why not?

Clothesline a la Well, why not?

Plan trips off the boat for fun activities or picking up supplies

Play games or read in the evenings

Our last day anchored off of Gasparilla Island, we played tourist.  Having never driven a golf cart, I thoroughly enjoyed mastering the finer art there of.  The island, also referred to as Boca Grande, has a bike/golf cart/walking trail from one end to the other.  We opted to head south to see one of the two lighthouses that currentlly are on the island.  The newer one, known as the Gasparilla Island Lighthouse, was originally erected in 1927.  It is a steel "skeletal" light house which was in the final stages of restoration. 

No accidents or close calls

Jim in front of restored lighthouse

Original lighthouse at Boca Grande, now a museum
Sadly it was not yet open to the public.  So we headed further south to the original light house, now known as the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse.  It was erected in 1890 and has gone through a number of restorations thanks to sand erosion, weather etc.  It has been converted to a delightful small museum, showcasing the lighthouse history, its keepers and families, drawings of the Calusa Indians, early maps, and displays of many shells and sharks’ teeth, including a jawbone full of hundreds of teeth. Lose a tooth?  No problem, a new one takes over - thousands in the course of a lifetime! 

Jim and his key lime pie - a recurring theme!
After a fun lunch at one of the many outdoor cafes which included a key lime pie for Jim, we returned to the boat amid increasingly rambunctious winds and waves. It turned into our roughest night…so far.  Lots of bouncing, rolling and banging!  I, for one, was happy to get underway the next morning.

It was a short jaunt over to the south end of Charlotte Harbor without sails.  Since our episode a few days earlier, the winds have not calmed down enough to try out the sails while at anchor so we opted to motor rather than risk another furler failure in 20 kt winds! Once we arrived at the Intracoastal Waterway we had to motor anyhow.  The waterway itself is well protected from winds and waves and it was a very peaceful ride down to our anchorage between Cabbage Key and Useppa Island. 

Sunrise at Cabbage Key looking eastward toward Useppa

Sunrise, same day, just a few minutes later
For the first time on this trip, we had neighbors!! The fishermen race up and down in their noisy, powerful fishing boats during the day, but they left us alone at night and it became a charming quiet anchorage.

Well, why not? as seen from Cabbage Key - trust me, it's there
Well, why not? seen a little closer up!
Cabbage Key Restaurant is theoretically the inspiration of Jimmy Buffett’s song “Cheeseburger in Paradise”. But part of the restaurant’s claim to fame is the compulsion of every visitor to stick a signed dollar bill onto one of the walls.  One write-up from several years ago boasts there were over $50,000 worth.  I put my dollar bill up last time we were there – I didn’t feel like I needed to do it again and in fact I didn’t even look to see if I could find mine.  The island which is accessible only by boat is very popular with the big tour boats as well as smaller boats going up and down the Intracoastal Waterway. The island itself has a number of walking trails with slight changes in elevation due to shell mounds.  The water tower is climbable and gives an expansive view of the island from 60 feet above ground. Jim pointed out to me that he was that that high when up our mast!

We spent much time riding around in our dinghy looking for the fabled “tunnel of love”, a narrow tunnel created by overhanging mangroves. 

Picnic lunch among the mangroves
Never did find it, but we had a lovely ride in a beautiful area dotted by small islands and little inlets and tucked in at a little mangrove cove for a picnic lunch. Of course, afterwards we had to treat ourselves to ice tea and frozen key lime pie at the restaurant. Apparently Jim is doing a "scientific" survey of various versions of key lime pies.

Frozen key lime pie
If we could eat, so could the osprey - right above our table

1 comment:

  1. How soon will we know the results of the key lime pie research?