Dunedin to Charlotte Harbor (Florida)/ December 10 - 18, 2014
December 10, 2014
We stayed at the Marina for another day due to the wind. In the morning, Tim and Pam came to see us ("Sweetwater"). Pam's mother is ill and has been in the hospital for several days. She will be operated on tomorrow and Pam needs to be with her. They asked us if we could help Tim bring their boat to the shipyard in Charlotte Harbor. We were really looking forward to paddling again tomorrow, but on the other hand, we have received so much support and help during this expedition that we felt the need to help them and give back. Tim and Pam are really nice people and it will be our pleasure to give them a hand. It will be a new experience and our trip is all about having different experiences and meeting nice people.
December 11, 2014
We left with Tim aboard "Sweetwater" late in the morning after taking the time to secure and clean "Blue Moon". Again, thank you so much King and Sharon for everything.
It was sunny all day. We saw a lot of dolphins swimming in front of the boat. Jasmine is fascinated by their presence. We crossed Tampa Bay without any problems. Towards the end, there was a bit of waves and current, but nothing disturbing. We re-entered the intracoastal and sailed to the village of Cortez anchoring near the bridge of the same name. We witnessed a beautiful sunset! The sky appeared to be on fire at one time, and then everything became pink and purple. In the evening we received a message from Terry and Pauline Lee. We had briefly met them last summer at Big Chute on the Trent-Severn Waterway. They live on Anna Maria Island in the winter and spend their summers in Ontario. They invited us to visit them and stay at their house. We were super happy to receive the invitation. In addition, Jasmine will have a friend to play with, Wynston.
December 12, 2014
Terry and Pauline arrived by car this morning with Wynston. What a great reunion! :) Terry boarded "Sweetwater" to guide Tim and Pierre through the channel to get to a private dock belonging to their friends, Amy and Robert Harper. “Sweetwater” will remain there for the duration of our stay. I drove in the car with Pauline. She told me all about the island, the region and the small towns surrounding the area. We all met up at Amy and Robert’s house. Amy warmly welcomed us (Robert is away for the weekend). Then we continued on to Terry and Pauline’s home. They have a beautiful home overlooking a protected channel. In the afternoon, Terry contacted the local newspaper and got an invitation for us to participate in the Longboat Key boat parade. That evening they held a dinner in our honour. Many of their friends were present for the occasion. We spent a very pleasant evening. We will stay here overnight in a nice comfortable room. Tim has a room too and will stay with us here. Thank you to our hosts for their hospitality, generosity and kindness.
December 13, 2014
We went for breakfast at the end of Anna Maria Island in a restaurant on a pier (north part of the island). Upon our return, we found a generator and decorative lights, which were generously loaned to us by Laura R., in order to decorate our canoe for the boat parade. Tim worked on the generator of "Sweetwater" in the afternoon. Meanwhile, Terry and Pauline drove us to Sarasota where we could see the statue depicting a sailor kissing a nurse at the end of the Second World War. We had fun, Pierre and I switching roles while Pauline was taking pictures.
Sarasota is a city dedicated to art. We saw the Ringling Museum of Art. John Ringling was the founder and owner of the circus, which was called "The Biggest show on Earth" in the early 1900s.
By late afternoon, everyone went onboard "Sweetwater" (about 10 people). Tim generously invited the group to spend the evening on the water to watch the boat parade next to the Cortez Bridge. He took Pierre and I back to the starting point of the parade. At 18:30, after an interview with the local newspaper, all boats participating in the parade lit their decorations at the same time. It was really beautiful! We managed to follow the group in the parade until Cortez Bridge where we had to parade before the judges. Afterwards, we loaded the canoe back aboard “Sweetwater”.
It was a wonderful and pleasant evening! Thanks Tim for the ride and the hospitality!
December 14, 2014
We spent another very enjoyable day and evening with Pauline and Terry. In the afternoon Tim completed the generator repairs, so we could resume our journey the next day. We went to see the sunset on the beach before going to dinner at the Blue Marlin. Anna Maria is a beautiful island and the community is warm and welcoming. On one side, there is the Gulf of Mexico and the other one, the intracoastal. A true paradise!
December 15, 2014
We said goodbye to our friends in the late morning. We also had the pleasure of meeting Robert, Amy’s husband. Terry and Pauline, thank you for your great hospitality, your kindness, your generosity and your big hearts. We created a deep friendship within just a few days. It was a unique experience. Thank you! Thank you Amy and Robert for letting us dock at your house.
We sailed on a calm sea to Sarasota where we anchored for the night. We walked in the park adjacent to the marina and spent a very pleasant evening with Tim. We appreciate him greatly.
December 16, 2016
We departed shortly after the fog lifted. The sunrise was beautiful and made the water and the sky turn a golden colour. We saw dolphins during the day and they even accompanied us for almost 30 continuous minutes. Beautiful! Jasmine was very intrigued and did not want to miss the show either.
We stopped north of Pine Island, at Bokeelia. The anchorage was perfect. We were able to get to the small marina with Jasmine without problems, although there was a lack of depth at times. We saw several fishermen returning late in the day. There are a lot of white and brown pelicans.
Beautiful boating day and an ideal temperature. We are experiencing, more and more, the southern climate.
December 17, 2014
We left around 7:30 this morning heading towards Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage, where “Sweetwater” will be taken out of the water for dry repairs. We quickly crossed the miles separating us from the entrance of the canal. When we left the bay, we had to lock a self-operating lock. We analyzed the situation to understand how everything worked and locked it without any problems. Tim is a very talented sailor, he controls his boat perfectly.
After the lock, we travelled several miles in fresh water canals. Beautiful! At times, the channel was narrow, but there was still enough depth to keep on moving forward. The place was wilder and reminded us of the Everglades Park. We arrived at Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage shortly before lunch and had time to eat before the boat was hauled out of the water.
Tim was happy to arrive here, but will not have time to relax. Tomorrow, the repairs on his boat begin. We will have to decide what would be the best place to launch our canoe and paddle back to the intracoastal.
December 18, 2014
Admin, laundry and cleaning day. We are preparing for our departure tomorrow. We will miss Tim. We spent a wonderful week in his company. He is a very generous, smiling, friendly and sincere man. He is an experienced pilot too. Tim, thank you for the wonderful week we spent aboard "Sweetwater". It was a really nice experience and we are glad that we could help you and Pam. :)