Our first official trip on our new trawler (other than bringing her home) was Memorial Day weekend. This was a much anticipated trip for both Randy and I. He had been travelling the last two weeks straight for work, while I’ve been busy moving stuff onto Blue Turtle as well as managing several small projects on the boat. We were to meet up with a couple of other boats out in Pelican Bay, right next to Cayo Costa State Park. For our group of friends this has been a holiday weekend tradition and typically, if Randy and I were there, we would be on my parent’s boat. So this was the first trip out there on our own boat.
Since we’ve been staying in the same marina as my folks, we both left together at the same time to begin our 4 hour trip to Cayo Costa. Accompanying my parents on their boat (Island Time), were my sister and two nephews and on our boat it was Randy, Corey (his son), Sophie (our dachshund) and I. We stayed together part of the trip out there until we reached Ding Darling on Sanibel, where Randy and I stopped for a brief windless lesson and anchoring exercise (for me). As soon as we felt that I could get us anchored in an emergency, we decided to move on.
When we reached Cayo Costa, my parents were already anchored and we rafted up next to them. We were soon joined by our friends Rich and Carole on Slow-N-Down and once we were all tied up and the lines secured, it was time to begin the weekend festivities. The next day, we were joined by Nick and Holly on Knot Bad as the fourth boat to complete our weekend flotilla.
Cayo Costa State Park has a lot to offer as an anchoring destination. It’s one of the largest barrier islands in Florida and is only accessible by boat. The Tropic Star offers a water taxi service taking visitors without a boat to the island where they can camp, fish and visit the beach. For cruisers, this is a great spot since you can anchor there and stay on your boat and take a short dingy ride over to the island to fish or swim. A couple of times during the weekend, we took the boys (my nephews and Corey) over to the island for some swimming, boogie boarding and sharks tooth hunting on the beach.
The two full days that we were there, we sort of fell into a pattern of having breakfast, relaxing in the morning, and swimming/floating and fishing in the afternoon. Of course, around 4-5pm, we would all converge to one of the boats for Happy Hour hors d’oeuvres and beverages and shortly after that would be dinner time. The last night of our short trip, we were very lucky to have fresh red grouper, thanks to our friend, Rich who had gone spear fishing the previous day. There’s no better way to end a perfect weekend out on hook than to enjoy fresh grouper for dinner.
When it came time to pull up anchor and say our goodbyes, it was too soon…the weekend flew by and Randy and I said how nice it would be to stay an extra day or two. Unfortunately, duties of work and other commitments brought us back to the real world. All in all, this was a great shake down trip for us to learn where things are and how to manage our battery power and generator. And of course, we are already looking forward to our next trip out on the boat…after a few more boat projects.
Here some more photos I took over the holiday weekend:
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