Tarpon capital of the world Boca Grande
After a windy morning, we decided to leave St Pete a little later than we had originally planned. We made the two and half hour trip to anchor up the Manatee River in our favorite spot. It was a gorgeous afternoon so we took the dinghy to Passage key and spent an hour or two there walking the island and just enjoying the sunshine, birds and looking for shells Sundowners are a given on most evenings while we are out. It’s such lovely time to chat and enjoy the sunsets. May not be too good on the liver though lol I set the table up on the helm and we had a lovely dinner together
We left slightly later than we planned after sleeping in a bit at around 7.30 for Boca. What a gorgeous day with perfect conditions. Wind no more than 10 knots, sunny and calm seas so we took the outside route instead of the channel on the inside. It was perfection. Beautiful jade colored waters to float on for a couple of hours. We had lunch up on the helm and arrived at our anchorage in Charlotte Harbor at around 4.30. Its a tricky one to get into and required us reading up on how to enter the shallow shoaled area to where we could anchor. We held our breaths as we went through places only 4 and half feet deep and our boat drafts 4 foot.
Once settled in we took a quick dinghy ride around the area and came back for cocktail and bath with the setting sun. It was lovely. We made fish tacos for dinner and called it a night after the long day at the helm
Monday morning and I was anxious to go for a run. Cayo Costa is a state park/reserve and we were anchored right next to it. I ran the trails for 6 miles while Shaun did a quick run as well. We came back to make breakfast and headed over to Boca Grand on Happy Life.
After walking around this quaint and impeccable little island’s village and beach, we stopped for a salad lunch at The Loose Caboose (delicious although serve everything in plastic which should be avoided!) and bought a few supplies at the cute little grocery store. Boca Grande is a charming sea-side village with cozy restaurants, island boutiques, classic cottages and historic churches.
We watched the tarpon fishing on the way back to our boat. It was amazing so see hundreds of tarpon jumping and spinning while multiple charter boats chased after them. Shaun did some work on the wiring as we are finishing up the installation of an inverter. This will allow us to have power without using the generator as much. We had a quiet dinner on board Had our morning coffee and went to the little beach across form us to do a quick 30 min yoga workout on the sand.
We later made our way via dinghy to Cabbage Key for lunch. Its is quick 10 minute ride from our anchorage. The whole island is a little resort with a Historic Inn and restaurant. It is rumored that Jimmy Buffet wrote cheeseburger in paradise here and you can see why. The cottages and tiny marina have a New England feel and a vintage ferry carries people in boatloads (excuse the pun) to and from the Island continuously. We had to have a couple of Cabbage Cocktails with lunch and then we climbed the original water tower which fortunately made it through the hurricanes that hit here. It also has a 20 min little trail through the island which is really cool too. The resort dates back to 1936 and its so wonderful to discover all these little places on our doorstep that we never knew existed before.
We woke to another beautiful morning and fast 3 mile walk after breakfast. A typical Florida storm was building so we decided to do a picnic lunch on Cayo Costa right next to us instead of heading across the bay to Boca Grande's beautiful white and turquoise beaches. While is wasn't up to my usual standard of picnic, it was still fun and relaxing. We enjoyed a beautiful evening up on the helm after the quick storm had passed
Today we had to look at the calendar to see what day it was lol. Even though we are working on the go and chatting the girls and kiddies daily, it's just a world away form the norm back home and that's just the best feeling ever. We did a full body weight workout on the bow. Later on, we took the dinghy to check out a marina on Pine Island to get some supplies. We decided to go back into Boca as they did not have what we needed. We docked with the dinghy at the marina and walked the short distance into the little town to have lunch at 3 sisters and went to the stunning beach for a little while before heading back before the afternoon storms came in. We had a cocktail while discussing plans for the next day. It seems we somehow need a cocktail to decide anything now days! Boaters midnight for us and we were asleep by 9.30
We left our beautiful comfortable anchorage at around 9.30 and headed for our next stop, Captiva Island. We were escorted by dolphins on the way and they came to ride our bow about 4 times along the way. I can never get enough of these beautiful creatures. It is on my bucket list to swim with them in the wild one day. I'm sure we will make that happen! I love this travel time...waving to fellow boaters passing by, chatting and catching up on our blogs makes the time fly by all too fast.
We reached our anchorage at around 11.15 and settled in for the next few days thankful for the stunning weather and calm seas that we have been gifted with