Jan 16/17 Days 80/81 Hidden Treasures

Midnight Pass anchorage was great with long deserted beach walks along the Gulf. Pretty lucky that N’s eagle eyes  had spotted a few boats way off in the distance and that, despite the threat of running aground, we nerved up to check it out ; it’s so shallow that it isn’t shown as an anchorage on the charts—it’s really only used by little pontoon boats and ski boats beaching for an hour or so.

We were disturbed around 11 pm by a small group of teens/20-somethings (who knows these days!…they all look (and sound) the same!) motoring up to have some party time on the beach and light off a bunch of firecrackers. Luckily their stamina isn’t quite like ours in the olden days and they called off the party within 30 minutes of arrival.  But aside from that (and the remnants of all their garbage we found in the morning), it was a pretty idyllic spot but uncharted (for us) waters beckoned so we pulled up anchor and continued southward in the ICW (Inter-Coastal Waterway).

Morning walk at Midnight Pass:

Beach Dog.  Trail Dog.  Lucky Dog.


We got underway and were quickly confronted with the first time for us to make a ‘bridge assessment’: Do we fit under or don’t we?  The on-board debate ensued and only after the bridge-master interrupted us to tell us it was abundantly clear he had job security because of boats like ours, that the debate ended and one of us had to acknowledge that we do, in fact, have a “big boat” and needed the bridge raised!

Did you know that draw bridges are called bascule bridges…oooooh so that’s what that means on the charts!


But then we needed the next one to swing!

These are simply called: Swinging bridges! yay–that’s easier!
Very obviously we are a “Big Boat” next to this one!
Passed by this tiny 4-car ferry…makes our Puget Sound ferries look XXL!

En route, we gassed up and ate a bad lunch at Royal Marina Snooks Café while gazing at this sunken boat through the whole meal…maybe that’s why the food tasted not-so- royal.

This boat sits as a warning to “stay in the channel”! Seriously, it was blown off its anchor in the latest Florida storm and now sits abandoned. Apparently Florida law says if you try to salvage it you’re liable to bring it up to Coast Guard safety standards so no one touches boats like this. That makes NO sense, but it’s as per the gas dock person so no doubt very authoritative!

Made it to an unplanned anchorage south of Venice after by-passing the planned one. LOVE anchoring out! And LOVE finding these little spots all over. We are surprised at how much there is to discover here. Our time here won’t be enough!   But….it was even more “iffy” than the depth at Midnight Pass.

Chart said take a sharp right off of the already shallow channel in the ICW…A little hesitation…..
and even more hesitation as we eased our way down the only “road”  to Don Pedro State Park… but we made it through without even grazing the bottom. Access by water only!

But we made it!  Yay Bayliner!

We were the only ones anchored in a nice little bay with a dinghy dock for easy shore exploration.
Caught this sunset just in time

Up early for another shore excursion…..that’s the good thing about having a dog–makes you get out and explore!



Tale of Two Dinghies:

B pretending to have fun after struggling to start the engine by herself after definitely having fun on the walk.
N having half as much fun cleaning the sand out after the walk.

Now for the exit strategy:

Redundant systems.  Both worked well.  Made it out without a hitch.


We only had a 9 mile day on the water after leaving Don Pedro.  And even though the mornings seem to slip away with all the pre-departure routines, we pulled in well before noon to Boca Grande Marina on Gasparilla Island.

Note the golf course at water’s edge. Where else do you have the same channel serving as a boat hazard AND a golf hazard? Of course N had to make that observation to the harbor master over the radio as we pulled in…not sure he was amused as N was.

We explored the island on our new bikes!  They are fun! They work!  (well…..we stopped at a bike shop to fully pump up the tires and the guy noted that B’s brakes were dragging/touching the rim….hmmmmm, quickly determined that N (our bike assembler) had tried to pull a fast one by adding that handicap to our rides.) They are even more fun now–especially because Florida is SOOOOO flat!  And perhaps some would argue that we LOOK fun(ny)–we kinda look like circus clowns with the mini-tires and high seats and handlebars…and the trick dog.

Ziggy likes bike rides too since she gets treats for sitting quietly, leg-stretches running alongside, and pit stops at  the doggy parks!

You know you’re in an upscale marina when they want to charge you $20 for a pump out! (I think we’ll hold it!)  This boat right next to us dwarfs us–they happen to be former neighbors of cousin Meredith and Gerry up in Cortez/Anna Marie Island! (small world).

2017-1-16-anchor-duoBut look–we can hold our own!  Here we are, the Ultra brand anchor club….on the bottom, a multi-million dollar Fleming motor yacht, on the top, a considerably less expensive Bayliner, but we’re rockin’ the same premium anchor brand!

Dinner on our grill in this fancy marina (probably a social gaffe…but you know B: “who cares!”) since we are about to hang out in Ft Myers with Tacoma friends, Bjorne and Christine, for a few days and surely will be dining out more than usual.


3 thoughts on “Jan 16/17 Days 80/81 Hidden Treasures”

  1. BTW, if you look at that anchor shot closely you’ll see well over $10m worth of boats between the 55′ Fleming, the 45′ Sabre and a piece of a 110’+ yacht in the background (that $ value excludes our boat since it’s not in the pic). The latter is owned by the marina’s owner….. no wonder he needs to charge $3.25/ft. Welcome to south Florida!


  2. Nick, Now your talking. I can see you and Barb on that 55 Fleming for sure. The perfect Loop vessel. BTW- I do have a captains license to run her for you. DDD


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