Wednesday, October 24, 2018

October 23rd to 25th IE is still in Venice

Tuesday 23rd and Ireland’s Eye will remain at Crows Nest. Tonite Miles, our local handyman, is coming to fix the outboard engine so we can start exploring in the dingy. Wednesday morning Jason , the mechanic, will come to finish the issues with the engines so IE can continue cruising and Thursday morning we will bring IE to Fisherman’s Wharf where she will stay for the month of Novermber. So this time round we will not make it to Sarasota but hopefully when we return we will be done with maintenances - all fingers crossed. Nana and Nandad did take Ireland’s Eye up the ICW and dropped the anchor to have lunch in a very peaceful spot. When it was time to return, while taking the anchor up with the windless , it twisted upon itself in a most peculiar way such that we were unable to get it to lock into place. Well we returned with a dangling anchor and yet another task to fix!! Nothing too complicated once the dingy was operational we were able to untangle - now how to prevent it is another issue? 

Wednesday 24th - Nana needed a little culture today so she took a Lyft to Sarasota to visit The Ringling museum and left Nandad to supervise the workers! What an incredible legacy the circus family have left to the people of Sarasota. The museum has the most incredible collection of art, an amazing miniature circus village with all the spectacle of the circus performer, beautiful gardens with spectacular roses and Millenium Tree Trail, the historic mansion of Mable and John - CA’D’Zan - and the restoration of the historic Asolo Theater ( all the way from Italy ). It was truely the perfect lay day. 

Nana did not have time to tour the mansion so she will have to return another day. The circus village is so incredibly detailed that truly the visitor needs to do a guided tour. The pictures below are of the entrance to the rose garden which really needs to be seen to appreciate the size, concrete statues and labeled roses. The second picture is of one of the actual carriages used by the circus of which there were many.

Tonite is the night of the full moon so after a wonderful dinner at Valenti ‘s Ristorante - we intended to go to Valenti’s Allegro Bistro to listen to Jazz - who would have known that they are owned by the same owner but one mile apart!  [ Downtown Venice is having construction all over the historic area so we decided to get a Lyft out of town for a different experience ] we sit uptop and watch the full moon spread its light over the water and boats with a gentle soft breeze. 

Last blog of this cruising adventure. IE didn’t cruise to far however the weather was wonderful and because the season has not really restatrted we had plenty of choice as to where we docked and what perfect spots we picked, Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club, Boca Grande, Aquamarine Palm Harbor Marina and of course the Crows Nest. Will return November 25th. Happy Halloween to all and a wonderful Thanksgiving. May we continue to be blessed with such opportunity. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

October 22nd Layday in Venice

Today Is the day that the fan belt gets repaired and of course Nandad has four onboard none of which are correct for this particular one! No worries we will simply enjoy the beautiful weather and take advantage of all that surrounds us. Nana started the day with a long walk along the beach and a little yoga to help stretch those muscles. Now I had the perfect companion during my 20 minute routine.Picture below. 

Two hours of scrubbing the decks - Nana is determined to bring them back to a light oak color - we will see!! Hard work was rewarded by a wonderful lunch served by the Skipper. We then took a two mile bike ride to check out Fisherman’s Warf where we will leave IE until after thanksgiving. On our way back we passed a property that was going to be auctioned so of course we had to check it out. Right on the ICW with access to the Gulf, jet ski lift, small watercraft lift and enough dockage for a 70 ft boat!!! Now Nandad had to be reminded that our goal this cruising season is to check out Yacht clubs not homes!! A relaxing afternoon while the mechanic works on the boat and of course laundry is always a good reason to catch up with reading, Again as you all know Nana never misses the oppportunity for a sunset sighting.

A combined effort for a wonderful dinner followed by the perfect evening to watch the ocean, ICW, and the lights of downtown Venice from the upper deck where there was the perfect breeze. Who knows what tomorrow will bring but hopefully the fan belt will work and we can return to cruising.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

October 20th - 21st IE docks in Venice

What a magnificent trip up Lemon Bay, along the Tamiami Trail ( which passes through a corner of the Venice municipal airport), Roberts Bay and final destination the Crows Nest which is right alongside Casey Pass leading out into the Gulf of Mexico. On our journey up we had our first sighting of Dolphin having  fun frolicking along the stern and entertaining all the small watercraft that surrounded IE. We also saw a bald eagle perched high on a tree right along the ICW - unfortunately a cell phone can not do it justice. Now as we all know boating comes with much unpredictability and just as Nandad had decided to stear from the bridge Nana heard what sounded like a little whistle. A few minutes later the temperature alarm goes off and we discover the starboard fan belt has come off!!! This means IE has to continue with one engine to Venice. The good news is it’s only 6 miles, the bad news is the current and tide are very strong in that area with lots of traffic but not to fear Nandad is the Skipper of the day.

The Bald Eagle looks so minute in the picture but it was really amazing to see through binocular! You will have to trust me on that. You can see all the little sail boats and watercraft beached on the little island right beside the docking area at Crows Nest. The Marina is also right beside the most beautiful stretch of Venice beach with incredible sunsets 🌅. Now Nana and Nandad never loose an opportunity so once IE was snug in her slip we got a Lyft to Real Bikes and within 15 minutes Nanas bike was once again ready to go. So hopefully with two new tires and tubes nothing much more can go wrong- but who knows! 

October 21st Sunday Layday started with a 2 mile bike ride to the Epiphany Cathedral for Mass. Then another mile ride to Publix for groceries, Nandad with his backpack and Nana with hers - quite the project. Our reward was a wonderful brunch at the Crows Nest restaurant. Afterwards Nana went to say hallo to the resident parrot Pepe - picture to follow.

Now as I mentioned Nana and Nandad are on a mission this year to check out as many Yacht Clubs as we can. So we discovered that Venice Yacht Club is only reciprocal to FCYC - it is one of the 13 original members - therefore we were unable to stay there. However we rode our bikes over and were given a members package and checked out their wonderful facility. They have a pool, tiki bar, sunset room, dining room, Marina with 46 slips and all kinds of social activities. Did I forget to mention that it is a short walk to historic downtown Venice from the Yacht Club. 

We then continued our biking and found ourselves down at the other end of Venice beach where a group had gathered to celebrate the sunset in what appeared to be some kind of dance and music ritual. It was very entertaining and what better way to celebrate Mother Nature.

Friday, October 19, 2018

October 19th IE at Aquamarine at Palm Harbor Marina

So Nana and Nandad are always looking for an adventure and today we certainly found one. Another flat tire on Nanas bike so she had to take a two mile walk in the sweltering heat! After filling the tanks with diesel at Cape Haze we got distracted on our way out of the marina and ran aground. Then on our way into Aquamarine at Palm Harbour when we went to check into the dockmasters office we passed a boat on the dock and heard the grunt of a 🐖 that’s right if you look carefully you will see the windvane and right beside it the 🐽. 

Nana and Nandad took a water taxi over to Palm Island Resort which on the charts is called Knight Island. There once again we rented a golf cart and toured the island. What a gem. The above picture is Nandad on the beach and the gateway is nicely decorated for Halloween 🎃 this is the entry into a private resort called Bocilla Beach. The picture on the right is an example of the beautiful flowers that are scattered all along the dunes. This island is beautifully maintained and well worth a stay. The picture on the left is the sun setting from the Aquamarina where we had a wonderful swim in their pool before the 🌅 which we caught this time! A fantastic dinner onboard watching the sunset from the bow of the boat. What a life.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Irelands Eye adventure number four begins. October 15th 2018

  • Ireland’s Eye has spent our summer from April to October at Safe Cove Storage in Port Charlotte FL. Nana and Nandad arrived October 15th to get ready for cruising once again up the west coast of FL. Due to a problem with the electrical outlet at the dock and the fact that the temperature in FL is over 90% we decided to stay on Gasparilla Island for two nights while working on the boat during the day - lots of sweating, scrubbing and cleaning and we are ready for our first overnight onboard. Our busy days were rewarded by excellent dinners at the Pink Elephant and Temptations. IE has had a lot of attention over the summer , the hull was buffed, wood work cleaned and new canopy made for the bridge. Not to mention the continued work on the engines!! 

October 17th Wednesday here she is at the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club which is our first overnight on this fourth cruising adventure. This year Nana and Nandad have decided to take advantage of our membership at Newport Yacht Club which is part of the Yachting Club of America. Some of these clubs are also part of the Florida Council Yacht Club which is a group of 36 prestigious clubs all along the Florida coast. Our goal will be to attempt to find a spot where we and the boat will feel comfortable and perhaps become members. So we will see where it takes us. At CHYC we were welcomed by Joe the Dockmaster who not only brought us a bucket of ice but also delivered the local paper in the morning. The club has the most amazing view of Charlotte Harbor and we had an excellent sea food buffet - even the skipper who generally does not eat fish! We were welcomed by Bob Trumm a past commodore who has cruised on his motor boat for several years. We felt very welcomed.

To get to the CHYC from where IE was , meant we had to cruise about six miles along the Myakka River where we had to operate a self operational lock which was quite the experience - as it was on our way up in April. The photo shows a wonderful Ospreys nest perched on the perfect tree right beside a home. Sometimes the Osprey pick the rooftop for their nest which can cause quite a bit of disruption. 

October 18th Nana and Nandad checked out the bicycles and made our way to a local bike shop where they fixed a slow puncture right there and then and also pumped up Nandad’s electric bike - no excuse now for not riding. IE is heading across Charlotte Harbor for another overnight on Gasparilla Island except this time she will be docked at Boca Grande Marina where we will once again drive a golf cart around and visit the lighthouse beach. The first picture is IE on the dock and the second picture is the small catholic church on the island. Nana and Nandad took the beach chairs down to the beach to watch the sunset 🌅 but neither had their cell phone to capture the magical sunset - now that’s when you know you are relaxed!

While having a drink at the Sunset Grill on the southern part of the island the bartender was telling us all about the red tide. Apparently tourism is down by 80%, over 60 🐬 found floating in the water and over three hundred Manatee, not to mention the fish. A terrible tragedy. A lot of responsibility for us all to make a change. 

On a lighter note the above picture captures the atmosphere on this delightful part of Gasparilla Island. Boca Beacon is their local paper, the beach 200 yards from most spots down town, and Rome a long way away. We feel very lucky to have found this special spot.

Monday, April 23, 2018

April 23 rd Nanas final blog for 2017 to 2018 IE cruising adventures

Today was a very interesting hot day. IE cruised appropriately 30 NM which we discovered later was about 10 miles by car. We cruised up Charlotte Harbor to the mouth of the Myakka River where we entered through a single lock and into six miles of canal to reach Safe Cove. Safe Cove is a storage for boats where IE will remain under cover for the summer. It is where the number two arrow on the chart is. Upon arrival we rented an car from enterprise - to make sure this time we make our flight!!!we drove the car across the causeway to Garperrilla Island which was only about 10 miles away. 

The sailboat in the lock is named Irish Rose. The tall snowy egrets was our audience as we navigated the lock. It was a long cruise up the canal and we arrived at 2pm. The docks do not have electrical outlets so we were very thankful that IE  has a generator - it will be a hot night! 

Tomorrow Nandad will meet with the Volvo Engine Mechanic to get an opinion about the starboard engine. Nana will pack up the boat so that we will return in the fall to a nice clean boat. Nana and Nandad are thinking we will book a room at the Gasperilla Inn - if they have availability. This would be a very nice ending to our 2017/2018 cruising adventures. As always we are externally grateful for the opportunity that presents itself to us and we hope we will continue our exploring next fall.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

April 20th to April 23rd

IE has spent the long weekend at Boca Grande Marine - one of our favorite spots so we were very excited to secure a slip. This is a very busy Marina with lots of boats coming for lunch between 11am and 2pm and then later for dinner. Gasparella Island is truly a unique spot. It is the perfect place to walk, bike, golf cart ,beach and a fisherman’s paradise. The best Tarpon fishing - I believe! According to the local guide the island has no stoplights ( Nandad loves that ), no gas stations, no fast food and no fast paced living. 

On Saturday Nana and Nandad were provided with the best, if not noisiest, entertainment for the afternoon. The highly juiced cigarette boats arrived - 35 in total participating in the Fort Meyers Poker Run. Now these boats are quite the spectacle to watch and arrive with much glamour- helicopter overhead taking all kinds of pictures. Maybe IE will appear in some very high tech boating magazine! After the noise we got to admire all those highly polished and beautiful machines. A sport for the very wealthy.

Sunday as always found Nana and Nandad attending mass at the beautiful little Catholic Church called Our Lady of Mercy. Barbara Bush would attend service here when she was on the Island - all flags are flying half mast in respect of her passing. A wonderful breakfast at The Gasperilla Inn which is truly Florida As It Was Meant To Be - as advertised by the Inn. If you are lucky enough to stay at the Inn you have access to golf, tennis and a beautiful beach club along with a hoard of other activities. 

The Our Lady of Mercy church at Bona Grande 

Nana in her glory at breakfast and Nandad outside Hudson’s grocery where the Pink gas pump is surrounded by beautiful flowers. The store closes on Sundays and opening times are 8am to 5 pm. The perfect schedule to allow some Island time every day. 

Monday morning IE will make her way up to Safe Cove. Safe Cove is 30 nm from Boca Grande where a series of canals  ( 6 mile long) lead to Placida Harbor. She will remain there for the summer and Nana and Nandad hope to return on their adventures once again in the fall. How lucky are we.