On Saturday, May 23rd we loaded up Harrison and Griffin, my grandsons, with luggage and 2 bikes and left Chattanooga. We stopped in Cartersville to pick up Lou then to Marietta. Hannah and Alyia with their luggage and 2 bikes came aboard. Then it was on to Florida for the week. The Suburban was loaded, but we were ready to go.
We arrived at the boat Saturday night. Got up Sunday morning to stock up with groceries. Then we moved the boat down to Boca Grande Marina for a couple of nights. By the way, you can’t put enough soft drinks on a boat for four kids for a week.
The kids were free to go where they liked any where on the island. They were off on their bikes. They rode to the beach, ice cream shop, dinner and just generally had a great time. We did lose an Ipod and a cell phone while Griffin was trying to help Hannah onto the boat. The first night we had a stern to dock tie, and the tide was very low.
Then is was dinghy riding through the canals with Griffin (who has had the boating course) taking the kids.
After another night at Boca Grande, we decided to anchor for a night or two at Pelican Bay at Cayo Costa Island. The kids swam off the back of the boat, took the dinghy over to the beach, and fished until I got tired of taking fish off the hooks. Then it was playing cards most of the evening.
About 9:00 pm we had a terrible thunder storm rip through the anchorage. The wind immediately shifted 180 degrees, and the rain came down in sheets for a couple of hours. The anchor held, and after the rain cleared we had a pleasant evening at anchor.
The next morning the kids wanted to go to Cabbage Key for lunch. So, we put the dinghy in tow and left out. We took the dinghy loose while out near the channel and let Griffin take it in following Moonstruck. We had a great lunch, and the kids were free to roam the island.
About 2:30 Griffin and Hannah took the dinghy out to the channel. We met them, took the dinghy in tow, and headed for Gasparilla Marina. Griffin and Aliya followed us into the harbor. We tied up and went to the Fishery Restaurant for dinner.
Thursday morning we went to Sarasota to see the Ringling Circus Museum. This was a great exhibit. Then it was down to drop Lou and the kids at Sue’s home, Lou’s sister, for swimming. I went back to the boat to meet an air conditioning technician who was coming to work on the chiller.
That done I picked up Lou and the kids, and we stopped to have some pizza for dinner.
Friday morning we drove over to Boca Grande to pick up the kids’ bikes that Gary, the marina manager, had stored when we left there. Then we met Jan and Bill Evans for lunch at Applebees in Venice. Then we went to Sue’s and Gene’s for swimming and a cookout that included a gathering of friends.
Sue took the kids “junk shopping” at the second hand stores and flea markets. You would be surprised at what you can buy for $20.00 in those places. The kids love it. This was Griffin and Harrison’s first time, and they were calling Sue “Aunt Sue” when they got back. Harrison especially liked it, and was quite proud of the outfit that he purchased. A picture will follow.
Saturday was packing up the Suburban for the long drive home. After about 12 and a half hours, we arrived back in Chattanooga. It was an active but great trip.