January 21, 2013

January 20, 2013 Day 254
Boca Grande Marina, Boca Grande, FL
Total miles to date: 4462.4

We said goodbye to Venice this morning, knowing it is a place we would put on our “need to see again” list.  We left shortly after 10:00 and headed back out into the Gulf ICW, which at this point is very narrow!  Our destination: Boca Grande, a trip just over 30 miles. 

We had a smooth cruising day, even though there were lots of little boats out with passengers. We decided it was a real Sunday driving day. It is also a holiday weekend with Martin Luther King Day tomorrow.  We had to have two bridges open for us – one that opens on demand and one that opens every 15 minutes on the weekend – no problems there!  We finally saw several dolphins today!  We hope this will continue!  The water also cleared and we got farther south, and there were fewer dead fish in the water. This was all due to the effect of the red tide that happened a few days before we reached Venice.  The red tide happens when there is a great deal of algae in the water. The level of oxygen decreases causing the fish to die.  Not a pretty sight (or smell).

This big boat "Banyan"that  docked next to us,
left as soon as we arrived!
We arrived at Boca Grande Marina about 2:15. There were a few “big boats” here, but two of them left as we arrived.  The third boat, Hilarium, with a length overall of 133 feet, and a crew of eight, left late at night.  We assumed they needed to wait for high tide as the entrance to the marina is shallow.

The Gasparilla Inn
A step back in time?
Boca Grande is a small upscale community on Gasparilla Island, known for visits by the rich and famous. (Both of the George Bush families and Jeb Bush family come here for example.  After checking in we went for a walk into the town. (We turned down the offer from the marina to rent a golf cart for $50.00) The island is so narrow we reached the gulf side in a short time. Then we walked back to the ICW side, after stopping to see the Gasparilla Inn. It is a beautiful, stately old inn that dates back to the 1920’s.  We did not attempt to go inside as there were many people coming out in semi-formal wear, so there was obviously an event happening!  There are several nice restaurants here, but we chose to eat on board.

We watched parts of each of the NFL playoff games and Joyce finally got caught up on the blog!  We are still unhappy that we cannot post photos to the blog now. Bill thinks we may have reached a size limit? We will try to resolve that. 

We will leave Boca Grande in the morning and head to an anchorage for a couple of days.