(Bird Island, Manatee River, Passage Key, Sarasota, St Pete)
Oh boy…so our Happy Wife just came back from the yard (I call it her spa lol) where she went to have her bottom painted. Of course there was a long list to “might as well to-do’s” while it as out on the hard. One of those being the rudder packing on the port side. Once we got her back in the water though, we noticed that the steering wasn’t quite right and that we weren’t staying true to course following with the auto pilot. We also came in really clumsily to dock which was not common with our fine captain.
We got the diver who does our monthly bottom cleaning to take a look, and yup, sure enough, they yard had put the rudder in off center. (enter huge sigh with rolling eyes here!)
Of course it’s the new year and we were eager to hit the waterways so Shaun and Bob tried to repair the rudder problem before we leaving. What they thought would be a 30 min job, turned into 4 hours and so by the time we left the dock, it was already 3.30pm.
Our intended destination for this trip was Anna Maria, but because it was late, we decided to anchor at Bird Island, just 2 hours away and 30 min from the yard if we needed to take Happy Wife back again. It seemed to be running better but still not perfectly. We anchored at 5.30. The sun was setting beautifully and Shaun said we should take some footage with the drone. Unfortunately, the captain of the boat is not as capable with the drone as he is with the boat and 2 min after takeoff, it hit the side of Happy Wife and fell into the depths of the ocean!!! (Again…rolling eyes !)
We were so exhausted from the day of rushing back and forth while working, that by the time we anchored and settled we were just about ready to go to bed. We had a glass of wine, made dinner and fell asleep by 9, boaters midnight.
We both rested well and woke early. I made breakfast, cleaned up and got the boat ready to go while Shaun did some commuter work and work on the phone. We left bird island at 11.30 ish for Anna Maria. I love this time together on the fly bridge. Ours is like a patio with lounge suite and deck chairs etc. We always put music on, make snacks and I catch up notes like these while we are underway. Today dolphins followed us in pods and large flocks of ducks flew by on a gorgeous, unbelievably beautiful winter day that is more like a summer one.
We had a dolphin surf our wake alongside us which I captured on camera too.
We anchored at 3.30 up the Manatee River and went up to the river to Riverhouse bar ad Grill for a late lunch. We had been here before with our dear friends from South Africa, Stephen and Philaine. He has since passed away and so it was melancholy to visit again. We came back via dinghy at 5ish and settled in for the night. We had a sun downer while I took a bath in the tub on the fly bridge, a privilege I never take for granted!
In the morning we had some work to do and we left our Happy Wife for Anna Maria at 10.30 with the tender. We decided it would be faster and more efficient this way. I packed a picnic lunch for the beach with folding chairs, towels and so on and off we headed. We stopped on the way at the dock at the bridge and we walked 10 minutes to Publix for supplies and an a beach umbrella. Got to Passage key at just after midday and we stayed until 3. Shaun had to do some work and make some calls there and it was THE best office ever. This is the way to do it. In today’s world, you can work for almost anywhere and barefoot in the sand in the sun just can’t be beat. We walked the island and picked up plastic and trash as we do on every beach to go to.