On February 12th Cookin’, Nauti Buoy, Therapy III, Sea Ya’ll, MY Turn, Sachmo, TenneSea Waltz and Wanderer V left Marco in nice seas for Palm Island Marina at Cape Haze. This was our first stop on a four-marina tour that extended north to Bradenton. As luck, and a little help from Mike Brown : would have it, at the last minute, we were all able to scoot under the new Gasparilla Bridge even while the old bridge was being removed. Docktails were in order our first night there, followed by dinner at Leverock’s and a Valentine’s night water-taxi ride to Rum Bay Restaurant on Palm Island where the Browns’ daughters treated everyone to dessert.
On Monday, the 15th, the 8 Palm Island boats headed north up the ICW to Marina Jack in downtown Sarasota where we were joined by Divergent and Che Jac who made the one-day trip up from Marco to be part of the fun. On Tuesday evening the majority of boaters dined at Hyde Park Steakhouse, which is always a Sarasota favorite. Wednesday was undoubtedly the highlight night of the entire cruise as all the boaters : and many “land yachters” from Marco, gathered at a private surprise party, thrown by Dianne Kernan, to celebrate John’s 70th Birthday and the Browns’ 50th Wedding Anniversary. In addition to outstanding music by Billy Dean and Dawn, and a great birthday “walker” presentation by Bob Herndon, the biggest surprise of the night was the unexpected attendance by Kernans’ daughter Amy and her friend Nicole, along with the surprise attendance of the Browns’ daughters, Robyn and Tracey along with their significant others, Chris and Steve. What a fantastic evening enjoyed by over 40 guests! A special thank you to Dianne for putting on this terrific event.
On the 18th we wished Bill Schroeder safe travels back to Marco Island and then did the same to the Herndons on the 19th as the other 8 boats made their way up the ICW and the Manatee River to the Twin Dolphin Marina in Bradenton. This was a new stop for the club and one most of us enjoyed. Unfortunately, Claudette had to make a trip to the local ER for the flu and a number of others came down with “cooties” as Dianne called it. Although a number of us were “under the weather”, we enjoyed another “Docktail Party” our first night in the marina and the Dinner/Theater production of Chess on the 2 night.
Our final leg, of the cruise began on the 22nd as we all headed out Tampa Bav into the Gulf and made our way the 44 miles to an abbreviated stay at the Crow’s Nest just inside the Venice Inlet. The seas on that short trip were among the top 3 best seas ever with about 4″ waves. Knowing it was only going to be an overnight stop, we departed Twin Dolphin early so we could get docked in Venice in time to make lunch at the Soda Fountain Shop. The ladies explored the downtown Venice shopping district after lunch, and then everyone gathered for a final group dinner at the Crow’s Nest where we split into a “healthy” table of 8 and a “sick” table of 8.
With high winds and rough seas forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, we scooted out of Venice early Tuesday morning for a fairly mild ride in the Gulf back to Marco. At about the half-way point, the smaller boats decided to let the “big dog”, known as Therapy III, knock the seas down to size by riding back to Marco close behind him. As a “fast” boater myself, it was hard to go 18 kts but the smoother ride was well worth the extra time.
We had expected to have Ray Rosenberg and Linda Spell, in their new boat, Hunky Dory, join us for their first MBYC cruise as they came across the state from Stuart but, unfortunately, as most boaters experience, a breakdown in Ft. Myers kept them from catching up with us. We look forward to having them join us in April.
All in all, even with a few breakdowns, a number of sick boaters, and some unexpected rough seas at the end, it was another great cruise and wonderful time together on an MBYC Cruise.