Pelican Island to Venice and Back

April 9 – 15, 2017

Miles traveled:  84 miles

Total miles traveled: 3374

My last post described our travel to Pelican Bay where we floated at anchor for three beautiful days.  This may be one of our favorite stops of the trip:  much like Put-in-Bay except anchors instead of mooring balls; a state park instead of restaurants/bars and tomato soup instead of lobster bisque.  Debbie and Tom – thinking of you!!

Pelican Bay is several hundred yards off the GIWW located between an uninhabited island and Cayo Costa giving excellent protection from wind and waves.  One of many highlights of our stay here was a 3 mile hike into the mangroves across the island to a totally secluded beach on the other side that looks out onto Boca Grande Pass and the Gulf.  We kept Sammy on a short leash as we were constantly on the look-out for snakes and alligators, thankfully we saw neither.

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Three mile hike in Cayo Costa State Park

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Another gorgeous sunset from the beach of the uninhabited island where Jim cleaned the dinghy bottom.

Of the fifty or so boats anchored here, two of are particular note.  First, we met Loopers Jim and Linda on board “Leilani” from Annapolis with whom we shared some great laughs.  Meeting them late one afternoon they wondered why in the world we had been spinning in circles at anchor earlier.  Surely there was a good reason?  Well, no!  Jim had accidentally left the boat in gear (button pushed in) when running the engine to generate power for the refrigerator.  This resulted in several 360 degree spins around the anchor before we noticed as we were below deck.  We were all amazed that the anchor held and that later we were actually able to raise it out of the sand.  Second, we watched a sailboat enter the bay ultimately realizing it was Dean and April originally from Cheboygan, MI on board “Aprilfirst”.  This was a boat we knew from our unplanned stay at River Forest for repairs months ago.  They live across the canal from the marina and offered us their dock (for free) as we travel back to Lake Okeechobee at the end of the month.  People are amazingly generous!

After more-than-a-slight kiss of the bottom we left Pelican Bay headed for Englewood and Venice.  The first night we anchored just off Lemon Bay and had nacho dinner at Flounders.  The second night we planned to stop at Fisherman’s Warf in Venice but they could not accommodate us so we went on to the Crow’s Nest in N. Venice.  This was an interesting place offering some of the best showers, a great restaurant and easy access to the Gulf and beaches where we saw perhaps our most spectacular sunset of the season. We also met Wally and Martha on board “Blue Wing” with whom we shared their hair-raising experience of entering a narrow and obstructed slip next to us at high cross-current at the Venice inlet from the Gulf.  After half a dozen tries resulting in frantically backing off, Wally got sideways to the current, drifted across until he was even with the slip and then gave it enough power to enter and get a line on – not easy nor pretty but they were safely docked.  We shared dinner together offering our accolades and recounting the story over and over!  At some point we remembered meeting Wally while on the mooring balls in Naples.  Wally and Martha were delightful!  However, the barge that was pounding posts for a new marina dock was not so we moved back to Fisherman’s Warf as we bid good-by to Blue Wing who was leaving for their home near Clearwater.

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The Venice Inlet – look carefully an you can see the turbulence from the current

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Jim and Sammy patiently waiting for me as dogs weren’t allowed on the jetty

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My favorite sunset picture this year at the Venice inlet heading out to the Gulf as the sun set!

The object of our trip back to Venice this year was my continued sleuth-work and interest in finding my grandparent’s home where they retired in the mid-1950’s and perhaps seeing my parent’s home in Englewood where they retired in 1975.  Another thought was to visit Sharron Bourget who was our Dunham Lake neighbor for many years and currently lives near my parent’s home and daily enjoys the beach that we visited often during the 70’s and 80’s.

We never did find my grandparent’s house but walked four miles in the neighborhood we believed was theirs.  By-the-way, Venice has some of the best shopping we have enjoyed on the Loop!    After connecting on FB, we met Sharron at the Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch.  It was truly a perfect afternoon of shared memories (Mark and Pat playing hockey and  Mike and Michelle off to Kindergarten on the bus) as well as catching up with 20+ years of life.  Sharron thoughtfully asked if there was anything we would like to see or do.  She was reading my mind, as I have been wanting to drive past my parent’s home and walk on her/their beach.  As we are both early risers, Sharron picked me up at 7 a.m. and we found 400 Oriental Poppy Dr. before sunrise followed by a long slow walk along the beautiful Manasota Beach sharing more great memories and life experiences.  Upon my return to the boat, Captain Jim and the Namaste were ready to cast-off from Venice raising six bridges on our way back to Pine Island Sound and Pelican Bay.  Sharon was waiting for us at the Manasota Bridge (the one my mom and dad crossed hundreds of times) and captured the Namaste on an amazing video.  Thanks for everything Sharron!

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Lunch and lots of laughs with Sharron.  A moment when time goes backward.

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A long walk on Manasota beach early after visiting Japanese Gardens where my parents lived for twenty years.

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Fisherman’s Wharf from the Venice Avenue Bridge

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Sharron taking a video of us as we went under the Manasota Bridge heading south on the GIWW

Sammy Sayz:  I am so enjoying running on the beaches, even though the salt water does crazy things with my hair.  Jo Ann says I look like a rag-a-muffin but I think I look pretty good.  Thanks Sharron for sneaking me out for early morning beach-time and all the loving hugs!  

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Quote of the Day:  “To have a friend and to be a friend is what makes life worthwhile.”  unknown

Question of the day:  Have you ever lost a book while you were reading it?

Good Boat Name:  “Be Well”

Bad Boat Name:  “Hauling Grass” (pretty sure they don’t mean sea grass)

Happy Birthday to:  Jen (belated), Emily (today)

One thought on “Pelican Island to Venice and Back

  1. Great sunset pix. We went to Venice last month for ten days. We saw the Nina , Pinta replica ships in Fishermans Wharf and also went to Manasota Beach. Looks like you had a great trip. I have. A couple travel posts about our trip and one I posted today.

    Like

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