SW Florida Cruises ’10

Cruise south from Gasparilla Marina

The 2010 cruise season is officially started for Moonstruck.  On Sunday afternoon Lou and I arrived back at Moonstruck.  She was waiting in the water just as John Chaplin mgr. of Gasparilla Marina said.  With her black hull glistening with a new buffing and wax, she was ready to go.

Monday we stocked up on groceries and drinks.  Sue and Gene had us over for a wonderful dinner with the Florida Crew (all good friends).  Tuesday we drove up to Bradenton to see Jan and Bill.  We then had lunch at BYC.  Wednesday we sorted out the new digital TV sytem on the boat.  I am glad to say that we now have good TV most anyplace we go.

Dolphin in the wake on the way to Boca Grande

Thursday it was time to get travelling.  We pulled out of Gasparilla and moved on down to Boca Grande to meet up with Gerry and Linda Etzold on Monk’s Vineyard, their 36′ Monk trawler.  Gerry and Linda left their home near Annapolis, MD in July and have been cruising the Great Loop.  They are probably about half way and are planning to be home in July of this year.  With them were Michael and Jana Laporte cruising on Second Star a 36′ Krogen.

On the way down we met a pod of  about two dozen dolphin coming directly at the boat.  Several turned to play in our wake.  Lou got a picture of one.

After their settling in the canal anchorage, we met on Moonstruck for happy hour and went to dinner.  Dinner was at PJ’s Sea Grill which is always good.  We all turned in to leave the next morning to anchor for the night in Pilican Bay.

Jana and Michael Laporte, Linda and Gerry Etzold, Lou and Me at PJ's Sea Grill

 Because of predicted winds Monk’s Vineyard and Second Star decided to forego Pelican Bay and move on up to Punta Gorda.  Lou and I were already anchored down, so we decided we were in a good spot for the night.  It proved to be so.  We rode comfortably at anchor.  The temperature was near perfect,  It was a great night at anchor.

Lou doing what she loves best---reading in a quiet anchorage

Just one of the interesting boats in the Pelican Bay anchorage

Saturday morning, after showers and a liesurely breakfast, we hauled anchor and headed for Punta Gorda.  The ride up Charlotte Harbor was choppy but uneventful.  We arrived at Isles Yacht Club at noon.  What a great and active club.  The dockmaster, staff, and members went out of their way to make us feel welcome.

Lunch at the yacht club was delicious.  We walked down to Fishermans Village to have a look around.  Then it was back to the boat for a light dinner.

Isles Yacht Club at Punta Gorda. One of the friendliest yacht clubs

Moonstruck docked at IYC

 We thoroughly enjoyed our two night stay at Isles Yacht Club.  It is one of the friendliest, well organized clubs that we have visited—–the food was good, too.  We look forward to returning.

On the return trip to Gasparilla, Charlotte Harbor was a little choppy, so we picked up speed and ran down to the ICW.  Then we slowed down to enjoy the weather that has turned off nicely.  Dolphin were everywhere.  They swam along with us with some so close you could almost touch them.   There seems to be something about the sound made by 4 blade propellars that attracts them.

There are about 5 boats from Canada wintering at the marina.  When we returned we were invited to an impromptu dock party/happy hour where we got to know some of them.  They are a fun group.

Bill and Jan at IYC

Dolphin close along side the boat

Don and Lou at IYC


2 responses to “SW Florida Cruises ’10

  1. Go for it Don. I did the Abacos in the late ninties. Plam Beach to West End. Easy early morning crossing with the right weather. Watch for long cable tows moving across and into the islands. After West End on to Spanish Cay and then south to Marsh Harbor with a number of stops in between. Be sure to visit Green Turtle Cay. You’ll both love it. Locals were very friendly and you’ve never seen such clear water. Happy Holiday Season to you, Lou and your families. Bob & Gail McMahan

  2. Nice to hear from you Bob. The reason for the May start is to try to go after the wind lays down. The grandkids will probably be down the first week of June. Then it will be back to Boca Grande to put the boat away for the FL hot weather. Then do next fall and winter in FL and leave for the Chesapeake in spring of ’11. We are thinking of wintering in Virginia. That would give us a good start on a trip north for the summer of ’12. Well, one can dream can’t one.

    Merry Christmas to you and Gail.


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