Little Loop 2012

Tarpon Springs to Madeira Beach

We did our morning routine and left the dock at 8:45. We motored slowly out of the Anclote River channel to St. Joseph Sound where we picked up speed until we got into the ICW. The sky was blue and cloudless, with a nice breeze out of the NE. We were traveling with the wind and waves today, making for a smooth, but warm ride. As we passed under the causeway to Honeymoon Island, we could see many boats and jet skis clustered together on the point for a day of fun on the water.

 
 
After all, today is Saturday and boat traffic was heavy. Tonight we would spend at anchor in Boca Ciega Bay near the American Legion Post and McDonalds. We had passed this American Legion Post a few times in the past and it always looked like a cool place to hang out on the water. This was our chance to check it out. After 4 hours on the ICW, we arrived and dropped anchor at 12:15.

 
 
We made 2 attempts to anchor --the first one didn't hold. We hung out for awhile before dinghying over to the dinghy dock and walking over to the American Legion Post.

 
 
We weren't sure if we could be served without a card, but we would try. At the landing of the dinghy dock, there is a McDonald's Restaurant, a Walgreens, and a Publix grocery store within walking distance. The signs at the dock say 30 minute dockage, but no one really checks. We walked over to the American Legion Post about a block away.

 
 
When we got to the Legion Post, they did ask us for our card. Without a card, you could not get served. The lady sitting next to us offered to let us use her card and so we had a beer. They have a very nice facility with a huge deck overlooking the water.

 
 
We bought the next round before our "new friend" Ann moved outside to sit by the water with a friend that arrived. Besides the inside bar and eating area, they also have a Tiki Bar outside.

 
 
We left there around 3:00 and went back to the boat to pick up Auggie. It was his turn to go ashore. We found a park and a nice piece of grass when he could run and stretch his legs. Back at the boat, we all relaxed and tried to cool off. It was pretty bouncy in the anchorage as all the boats went by. Some boaters don't understand the meaning of "slow-no wake" zones. Once everyone went home, we were hoping the wakes from the boat would stop and it would be quiet. We watched a little TV hoping to catch the Preakness later in the day, but it was not to be. We grilled steaks as the boaters dwindled and things calmed down before dark. Bob and I decided that the anchor had moved a little and we were not comfortable being that close to shore, so we picked up the anchor and moved it. Not once, but twice, until we were satisfied that we were far enough away from the shoreline. Bob took Auggie back to shore for one last trip while I stayed on the boat to keep an eye on things.

 
 
Once they got back, Bob, Auggie, and I sat out on the bow of the boat to watch the sunset. It descended as a beautiful orange ball without a cloud in the sky. Once it went below the horizon, we moved to the cockpit and sat there listening to music and waiting for darkness to overtake us. Off to the east we could see flashes of lightning. The show was quite spectacular, but it worried me, so I went below to check the radar on the computer. It looked like we might get the edge of the storm that was passing near us. We made a contingency plan in case the anchor broke free and we would have to act quickly. We just weren't 100% confident that the anchor was going to hold us, so we wanted to play it safe. The winds picked up again and changed direction. It was making me a little nervous so I decided to get some sleep and not worry about it. Bob stayed up a little while to see what was going to happen, but before long he joined me and came to bed. The winds subsided not long after and we had a quiet, restful night.

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