Each year, Randy and I try to take some time off the week between Christmas and New Years. Last Year, we went to Keewaydin Island for the first time and stopped at the Naples City Marina on our return trip. Since we really haven’t cruised north past Cayo Costa (except for when we brought home Blue Turtle), we decided to head north and explore the Sarasota area.
We left on Friday, December 26th and stayed a night at Cayo Costa where we met up with Johnny (Randy’s father) and April on Sea Crazy. The next morning, we headed north across Charlotte Harbor and cruised towards Sarasota. Corey decided to ride along (and drive) on Sea Crazy for the second leg of the trip, so I helped Randy navigate the various bridges we encountered. We arrived at Marina Jack’s in Sarasota around 4pm and were assigned mooring balls. Once we got tied up to one of the transient mooring balls we launched the dinghy and all headed to shore to check in with the marina. After checking-in we grabbed a table at one of the 3 restaurants at the marina and ordered dinner and drinks.
The next morning (Sunday), it was flat calm and beautiful in contrast to the rocky waters the day before. The transient mooring field at Marina Jack’s is located right next to the channel which is a no wake zone. Unfortunately, most the boats coming and going weren’t abiding by the markers and they would go by us on plane, creating a very bumpy experience. We were surprised by the lack of law enforcement boats we saw—we didn’t see a single Sheriff, Fish & Wildlife or Coast Guard boat on our entire trip. The locals must know the no wake zone isn’t patrolled which is why the boat traffic was so bad. That was really our only complaint on the whole trip. Later that morning, April’s grand daughter and boyfriend (Brittany and Cody) came out for a visit and we took the dinghies to shore to have lunch at Oleary’s Tiki Bar. After lunch, Randy and I took Corey dinghy surfing. Just a week before, we had swapped out our 9hp Nissan motor for a 15hp motor. Corey definitely enjoyed the extra power and faster speeds while surfing behind it. Once we were fairly certain that we wore Corey out a bit, we returned to our boat and then headed over to Sea Crazy for Johnny’s famous margaritas before seeing Brittany and Cody off.
On Monday, our last day in Sarasota, we piled our bikes into the dinghies and headed to shore for the day. We biked from Marina Jack’s to St. Armand’s Circle and stopped to check out some of the shops before heading on toward Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium. We stopped for lunch at a spot next door to Mote Marine, called The Salty Dog. After lunch, we toured the lab and aquarium. We’ve been to Mote Marine a few times and every time, we learn something new or see a new exhibit and it’s always worth the trip to go again. This time, we happened to be just in time to see a training session with the loggerhead sea turtles. This of course, was my favorite thing of the day. Once we were done at Mote Marine, we biked our way through the 4 miles to get back to the marina.
The next morning, we left Sarasota and headed to Cayo Costa to anchor for the night before returning home the next day to celebrate New Years Eve at Snook Bight Marina.