Sarasota to Gasparilla

Wednesday was Regis’ birthday and he was hoping for a smooth motoring day. We left the mooring ball at sunrise and by the time we got into the main channel for the intracoastal waterway (ICW), Regis said we had to turn around. That quickly changed to “We have to anchor now!” The engine was overheating. Regis spent 2 1/2 hours cleaning out the hoses, muffler, etc. and replacing the impeller. The problem was related to running aground Tuesday. After he was finished, he washed up and wanted to get moving.

Magnificent Frigatebird.

We had good weather down to Gasparilla Bay but often had to idle or motor with minimum wake. Add the requirement to wait for bridge openings and it made for slow progress. Along the route, we listened on the marine band VHF radio to the coast guard searching for a boat on the Gulf about 50 miles from Gasparilla Pass. A boat saw three flares go up in the morning, so the search began but they never found anything. If something bad happened, it is a reminder that it is dangerous out there. Hurricane Ian made a direct hit on the area south of here at the end of September and there is likely stuff floating around.

I had wanted to stay in a slip for the night but there were none to be found. Either the marinas are closed for repairs or filled to capacity if they are still open. Therefore, we anchored, and it worked out well.

We saw numerous white pelicans on the ride down. We anchored shortly before dark and began to see waves of white pelicans flying directly overhead heading south. This went on until it became dark, and it was almost non-stop. A wave would be about 50 to 200 white pelicans. It was a sight to see, and I sat on top of the boat watching until the show was over.

White Pelicans.

While up top, I heard splashing and turned to see a couple dolphins playing with something in the water. They would throw it up in the air over and over again. It looked like vegetation. Once it got dark, we sat inside with the windows closed for protection against the mosquitoes. At one point, I was startled by heavy breathing. A couple dolphins were directly next to the boat. We heard them several times at night.

We hope to be able to make it to the Okeechobee Waterway Thursday where we will cross the State to the east coast. The entrance to the waterway is in the area heavily damaged by hurricane Ian and know that will impact how quickly we get through the area.

2 Comments on “Sarasota to Gasparilla

  1. So interesting. I never knew that boating could have so many complications and hazards.


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