Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Sarasota Shenanigans

On March 16th we left St. Petersburg for Sarasota, covering about forty miles over a five-hour period on a beautiful, sunny Wednesday. Several of our boating friends had gathered in Sarasota for a Defever rendezvous being held at Marina Jack’s the upcoming weekend so the plan was to meet them there for some St. Patty’s Day fun.

Posing by our newly mounted “For Sale” sign as we say goodbye to Cathy.


That evening Bob & Stephanie invited the gang to “September Song” for cocktails before heading over to Marina Jack’s for dinner. It was great seeing everyone again and meeting Paul & Helen, Steve’s cousin and wife.



On St. Patrick’s Day we walked into the downtown area to have a burger at Patricks (how apropos is that?) before going in search of the Shamrock Irish Pub where a big block party was supposed to be going on.

Stephanie loaned us these cool beer goggles to wear for St. Patty’s Day!


A couple of shots of downtown Sarasota.



The Shamrock ended up being a very long hike away from the marina and it was not the happening place to be! So we let the rest of the gang know and headed back to the main part of the downtown area where, lo and behold, we ran into Norm & Vicki (“Tide Hiker”) having a drink at The Gator Club.


Before long the rest of the gang joined us and it was all downhill from there!







Then it was back to Patricks for dinner where we were pleasantly surprised to find Don & Barbara having dinner with Steve & Diane, Paul & Helen and another couple. We first met Don & Barbara on their boat “Cavara” in Cambridge, Maryland and also spent time with them in Oxford, Maryland, both on the Chesapeake, in late August. We had no idea they were planning to attend the rendezvous. So after dinner we went back to the “real” block party being held in the street next to The Gator Club to finish off the evening.

Dinner at Patricks where they had some great Irish specials!


Getting reacquainted with Barbara & Don.


Now this is a block party!


Shots anyone?



Late Friday morning Todd dinghied over to the marina to pick up George & Mary, a couple from Wisconsin who are interested in buying a trawler. George has been following our blog and he and Todd have been conversing via e-mail and on the telephone. At any rate, they were in the area and decided to drive down to Sarasota to look at “Life’s2Short.” We think they really liked her but since we’re not quite ready to become “dirt dwellers” again, we didn’t push it. But we were asked not to sell “Life’s2Short” to anyone else without first notifying them so I view that as a positive sign of their interest.


After treating us to a late lunch at Marina Jack’s, George & Mary hit the road and we went to find Don & Barbara. We dinghied them out to “Life’s2Short” to spend some time catching up and then dinghied back to “September Song” for the arrival of Doug & Tammy whose boat, “Gypsies in the Palace,” is docked at Harbortown Marina on Merritt Island. And then it was off to the Defever dock party.

The fearless foursome: Doug, Tammy, Stephanie and Bob. These guys are party animals!



These are Helen’s three babies. Aren’t they adorable in their little outfits! Paul & Helen’s boat is named “Lucky Dogs” and has a picture of the dogs next to the name.


Diane & Steve (“Aurora”) with Helen in the background.


Bob (“September Song”) and Joe (“Sea Pearl”) looking like the cool dudes they are!



And it was back to “September Song” before hitting Marina Jack’s for live music and dancing.



Julia and Todd tearing up the dance floor!


Is that a man or a woman with Bob?


Late Saturday morning we walked downtown to Whole Foods (since we had never been to one) and it was quite a place. The displays in the produce section were amazing!



As we were leaving Whole Foods we stumbled upon the Saturday Farmer’s Market covering several blocks and spent some time touring it. Then it was back to “Life’s2Short” for a much-needed quiet afternoon.

By early evening we were ready for another adventure so we went to O’Learys Tiki Bar for drinks and an appetizer while the rest of the group attended a rendezvous dinner event.


We met up with the group at Marina Jack’s around 8:30 for more live music and dancing on our final evening in Sarasota.

A gorgeous moonrise over Sarasota. According to the news, this is the brightest the moon has been, and the closest to the earth it’s been, in eighteen years!


Let the party begin!



Greetings from the Cambridge crew to Bill & Ana on “Knot Tide Down.” We miss you!







After our fourth night of shenanigans in Sarasota, it was time to head south. We hauled anchor about 9:30 a.m. and had a nice offshore run to Charlotte Harbor. Seven hours later we were anchored at Punta Blanca where we spent a mellow afternoon and evening. We were both so worn out from our late nights in Sarasota that we were in bed by 9:00 p.m.!

Sunset from our anchorage.


Monday morning Todd went out fishing and came back with a couple of flounder and a nice sea trout. He tried again early afternoon and snagged several more sea trout before returning to the boat. Since we didn’t need any more fish for dinner, Todd cleaned them and gave them to our cove-mates on “SouthernFlite.” That evening we enjoyed grilled flounder and lemon pepper sea trout accompanied by mushroom & broccoli stuffed shells and cheese. Nice meal, Captain!

Todd fished again Tuesday morning for a while and just as he was returning, we received a text from Cathy in St. Petersburg letting us know that her beloved Rhodesian Ridgeback, Taz, had gone to heaven. A sad day for all who knew and loved Taz. Cathy, our hearts go out to you!


That afternoon we took a dinghy ride in search of the Tunnel of Love on Cayo Costa. We had unsuccessfully searched for it when we were anchored at Punta Blanca last year and no one we asked knew anything about it. I have since read that the hurricanes of 2005 made it impassible but we searched anyway. If what we found was truly the Tunnel of Love, and we believe it is, it is now impassable after a short distance. Perhaps that’s why no one knows where it is anymore!

We still wanted to see the beach on Cayo Costa, though, so we continued in search of a path and finally found one. After a short hike across the island we were rewarded with a beautiful, isolated beach.



The Captain is chillin’ with a cold one.


Today is Wednesday, March 23rd, and after another mellow evening aboard “Life’s2Short,” it is time to make our way to Ft. Myers Beach where we will fuel up and spend a few days at Bonita Bill’s before continuing south to the Ten Thousand Islands.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Our Final Weeks in St. Petersburg

Since our last update we have been working hard to cross projects off the Captain’s long list. After Todd got the engines put back together, he tore into the VacuFlush toilet in the aft stateroom. Although frustrating at times, it was a successful experience and we have a fully functional head again and that’s a beautiful thing!

Staining the inside of the front hatch.


Todd also spent a couple of days decorating Cathy’s dock with colorful floats he found and brought back from the Exumas in 2009.


The weekend of February 19th, longtime boaters Mike & Mary Hall paid Cathy a visit on their way to the Keys to visit friends. Their boat, “WhatDazeIt?,” is currently docked at Eagle Cove Marina in Alabama on the Black Warrior River so this was a road trip for them. Lisa & Steve also came over to join the festivities.

It was a beautiful weekend to hang by the pool.


Steve, Todd & Mike relaxing in what Cathy calls her Key West area.


Lisa wraps her 17-year-old dog Lucky up in a towel after he took an unexpected dip in the pool – twice. Poor Lucky’s eyesight isn’t what it used to be!


Lisa, Mary and Cathy chatting poolside.


Todd and Lisa partnering in a game of bags. Not sure why they’re both on the ground?


I’m rich, I’m rich!!!


Ms. Davis sacked out on us – again!


After our weekend of fun, we forced ourselves to start on the sundeck wing doors. Cathy’s next door neighbor, Ted, helped Todd scrape off the old varnish and sand the doors while I started scraping the varnish off the door frames. What an extremely time-consuming and labor intensive project that turned out to be!

Don’t let this picture fool you, the Captain did most of the work!


On Sunday, February 27th, Don (another neighbor and friend of Cathy’s) invited Todd to go fishing with him. They were hoping to catch sheepshead but only came back with one nice sea trout.

Captain Don at the helm.


Don & Patty join us for fish tacos featuring Todd’s sea trout.


A familiar position for Cathy. When she isn’t at the office or meeting with clients, she’s working at the couch.


For Cathy’s birthday, we hired a tree service to trim five of her palm trees. An interesting process to watch, especially on a windy day!

Notice how the guy’s feet are no longer on the ladder in the second photo? Yikes!

P3040114 P3040121


The weekend of March 5th, also Cathy’s birthday weekend, Cathy invited Jim & MaryAnn, friends from Apollo Beach, and Don & Patty over for more poolside fun. Todd’s sister Jennifer also came over from Orlando for the party.

Sampling Jello shots in the kitchen.


Cathy shares Jello shots with the young studs across the street who were also having a party.


And Todd shares Jello shots with the cute coeds!


Speaking of shots, here’s one for the guys!


Jennifer and Todd poolside. Can you tell they’re related?


Everyone enjoying another beautiful sunny day.



MaryAnn & Jim (front) sitting next to Patty & Don.


Cathy getting ready to refill her tiki torches.


Cathy blows out the candles on MaryAnn’s famous Kahlua cake.


Another night of fun and games on the lanai.


Then it was back to work. We finally finished the wing doors and frames and hung the doors, and even though they were a TON of hard work, they really do look beautiful.


Stocking up in preparation of our upcoming departure from land.


We also took “Life’s2Short” out for a spin to make sure everything was in proper working order with the new heat exchangers, transmission coolers and oil coolers. When we came back to the dock, we pointed the boat in the opposite direction so the Captain could wax the other side. He then spent most of a day giving the boat a thorough bath while I tackled the dreaded cleaning of the inside of the flybridge canvas.

Over the next several days, Todd spent countless hours waxing the top side of the boat. We’ve both commented that “Life’s2Short” probably looks as good now as she has since we’ve owned her!


Patty came over early Saturday morning to get things set up for the annual neighborhood garage sale. Even though Cathy wasn’t keen on participating, Patty more or less roped her into it by bringing her garage sale goodies to Cathy’s house to sell.


Cathy with next door neighbor and wing door assistant, Ted.


On Sunday, March 13th, we borrowed Cathy’s car and drove to Tampa Bay Downs for a final day at the horse track with Lisa & Steve. It was a gorgeous day to be outside, even though the ponies weren’t very good to us.

And they’re off!



No napping, Lisa!


We have been busy these past few days making final preparations to leave the dock for points south. Our first stop will be Sarasota where we plan to meet up with several boating friends to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Among them will be Bob & Stephanie on “September Song,” Steve & Diane on "Aurora," Norm & Vicki on “Tide Hiker,” and Joe & Julia on “Sea Pearl,” all of whom have been on the blog several times over the years.

Having been at the dock now since November 26th, the Captain is more than ready to do some cruising! After Sarasota we will continue south to Ft. Myers Beach for a few days and then on to the Ten Thousand Islands in the Everglades before turning back north. We had kicked around the idea of going to the Exumas one last time before putting “Life’s2Short” on the market but have decided to stay closer to home.

Yes, “Life’s2Short” is now officially for sale, boo-hoo. She’s not listed with a broker yet as we would like to save both us and a potential buyer broker fees.


Our plans beyond the Ten Thousand Islands are fairly loose but we will probably be back in the St. Petersburg area for a brief visit around the middle of April before continuing a leisurely cruise north along the west coast of Florida and then west along the Florida panhandle to Mobile, Alabama. After that we will head north on the Tenn-Tom Waterway with a stop in Demopolis, Alabama, to visit friends before continuing north to the Tennessee River for the summer – IF “Life’s2Short” doesn’t sell between now and then!