First Mate Dave Heilman and I flew into Orlando yesterday, picked up a rental and headed to Tarpon Springs. Dear friends Terry and Betty Netherton just happened to be in TS visiting their daughter and son in law Lisa and Pat Hallam. They were out on a boat when I got a text from them asking when we were coming back to the boat. Shortly thereafter here comes this pontoon boat weaving back and forth in the channel. Don’t know what the captain (that would be Lisa) was drinking but if she hit something on the right, she steered to the left! Just kidding, Lisa commanded that pontoon boat like the skilled navigator she is. Later that day we joined Betty, Terry, Lisa, Pat and their friends Darlene and John Turner at Captain Jacks for buckets of beer and wings. Hooray for Terry, he picked up the check!!!
Just after departing Anclote Isle Marina we stopped at River Energy’s fuel dock to top off the tanks. After our fast run burning 25 gallons per hour for 8 hours on the way to Tarpon Springs we needed to reload to the tune of 259 gallons @ $2.73 per gallon. Lowest priced diesel I have seen yet.
View as we left Anclote Isle Marina.
The best part is we are now properly attired in shorts and T shirts. First Mate Dave properly demonstrates his captain skills.
We came upon the Dunedin Honeymoon bridge and Dave thought it looked a little close to the water for WB’s 23′ air draft with the antennaes up. Gave the bridge a call on the VHF radio and he had it opened by the time we got there.
You can see our starting point in Tarpon Springs. The blue dot was our position after 2 hours of travel near Dunedin. The large dot in Saint Petersburg is our bogey for the night. We will be staying on the dock of Mike and Leann Rowe. They are the Harbor Hosts for St. Pete. I called them last night to get a recommendation to stop for Friday night and they have a dock on the back of their home. Mike had posted many times on the AGLCA Forum so I was familiar with their names.
There is this great app called Nebo that a lot of Loopers are using to track each other. You can enter a boats name and (provided the owner has his phone on the boat) find the boat. This is how we will find Mike and Leann’s home when we get to St. Pete later today.
When we got to Dunedin which is a GREAT little town 10 miles south of Tarpon Springs I was on the lookout for our friends Matt and Rene Cassaro’s condo. They have a small beach area that you can’t see from this vantage point, right on the water.
Debbie and I have taken many a photo of sunsets like this whilst pouring copious amounts of Champagne down our necks with Matt and Rene. Special shout out to Stella: see, I learned a lot of really cool words in the 3rd grade.
You had to be there.
Coming up on Clearwater.
We had a number of bridges we had to go under that required lowering the antennae. While doing so I took a short video of our wind indicator that was getting a helluva workout.This fine fellow is Mike Rowe, Harbor Host for Saint Petersburg. He had this really neat setup on his dock to tie boats up at his dock behind his home. He provided us with a safe place to tie up for the evening and shore power. I see a steak dinner in his immediate future.
We no sooner got the boat secure when the storm that had been brewing out in the gulf finally rolled in.
Timing is EVERYTHING!
It is currently raining like crazy.
Rain finally slacked off enought to disembark and go to dinner with Mike. He told us about this local joint that served stone crab calle P J’s.
I knew it was a high class affair when they did not put napkins on the tables.
Great meal, great friends, this is what Looping is all about!