The first day of the “North” cruise was as exciting as opening day at Yankee Stadium. Your new cruise leaders were Russell & Kathleen Vance. The winds were a clean Easterly, thus everyone had a great three or four hour sail, depending on their starting time. Entering Pelican Bay were:
Shadowfax, Blank Check, Gopher Baroque, Freestyle, Lazy Susan.
The 5:31 cocktail hour started on time, after the 20-minute tie-up at Shadowfax. Groceries were passed around for an hour, when the great “white squall” appeared out of the East. The 20-minute tie-up turned into a 2-minute take-off as the members fled to their open hatches. 40-knot winds accompanied the two fronts that entered the Bay, as everyone extended their anchor scopes. The rest of the night was “fair to middling””.
Sunday morning we faced 20-knot winds and 3-foot plus seas, forcing us to the inside, rather attempting Boca Grand Pass and the shallow “Swash Channel”. Needless to say, two hours into the trip everything was beautiful. Five bridges later we slid into the Crows Nest Marina in Venice, with Freestyle opting to anchor off Higel Park. Ron and Shirley (“Ix-less”) Maddix, and Steve Romaine and Cindy Carlino joined us for cocktails and dinner at the Crows Nest Restaurant.
Monday we cast off and set out through the Venice Inlet, heading north for Longboat Pass. The wind was 10-15 out of the East, making sailing a beauty. Similar to the seven plagues of biblical times, we were attacked by our local locusts – the love bugs. Relief appeared as we entered the pass and the anchorage at Moores. That night we all had dinner, where the stone crabs were all-you-can-eat for a fixed price.
Tuesday we dinghied to the town of Bradenton Beach for shopping and lunch. Later we went to the inlet beach to enjoy the challenge of swimming in a five-knot current. That evening we had cocktails aboard Freestyle.
Wednesday, we picked up anchors and headed back through the intracoastal and Sarasota Bay to Venice. We en-joyed cocktails in air-conditioned comfort aboard Gopher Baroque, and dinner together at the Crows Nest Pub.
Thursday the fleet separated, with some heading to Palm Island, Pelican Bay, home, and hanging out another day at the Crows Nest.
Friday, NOAA, at 7:30 AM predicted South winds at 10-knots with an afternoon shower, going to Southwest with 1 – 2 foot swells. After eyeballing the sky conditions, we sent up our own weather balloon, which had different readings than NOAA. We took the intracoastal waterway to Pelican Bay, vs. the outside Gulf route. The winds were south all the way, ranging from 18 to 22 knots. Those who traveled in the Gulf may still be there.
Saturday and Sunday provided perfect days at the beach, for exercising, swimming and relaxation. Then we were greeted by the arrival of High Heels with (“wrong-way”) Roger and Kathy Horton. We had spoken to Roger earlier about going on the ―North‖ cruise, however, he must have confused it was the “Going South” cruise. When they arrived in the Keys they realized their error, and turned around, heading for Pelican Bay. Needless to say, cock-tails were on High Heels.