After getting Shelby strapped into place we left Boca Ciega Bay and Gulfport City Marina and cruised into Tampa Bay heading up to the Endeavour boatyard for a few days to get a window leak fixed and a few other items looked at from the manufacturer of our powercat.
As always cruising along and watching dolphins is a favorite. Check out our video above to see a mother and baby together which was the highlight of our morning.
Soon we could see the Tampa skyline and Harley enjoyed soaking up the sun while the engines were running. She is such a sucker for an engine running and the warm sun shining down on her black coat. We were able to get tied up and docked before sunset and enjoyed the evening tied to the dock excited about getting some work done and having some new areas to explore.
We spent the next five days at the boatyard. Along with the work that was done we were able to explore the areas back in the mangroves, where we saw pink flamingos and enjoyed the local wildlife. Much of that was the comings and goings at the Getaway Bar next door. The weekend was packed and we just sat on the deck and watched. Finally, we ventured over one week night to enjoy happy hour and get some great photos of Journey at the dock.
Valentine’s Day we headed back out into Tampa Bay and then under the Skyway Bridge, Harley once again was in her happy place and we were finally free from the dock and looking for some white sand.
We anchored out along Egmont Key just before the sun went down and the next day we enjoyed some warm beach time! Harley was happy to run along the beach and explore. We tucked in the Manatee River for the night in order to catch up with Allie’s parents the next day before heading further south.
After lunch with Allie’s parents in Palmetto at the Riverside Cafe, (the link actually takes you to same area but a favorite restaurant of ours in Palmetto) we picked up some supplies they had brought and headed back out to Journey. Trying to get a jump start south we pulled anchored and headed down to Longboat Key just outside of the Mar Vista restaurant. We didn’t get a chance to eat there but have heard it is the best! We had a nice evening and were able to get out again early so we could get in early to Sarasota and secure our first mooring ball for the night.
The wind was picking up as we headed into the Sarasota Mooring field and Allie soon learned that she was not the one to pick up a mooring ball. After finally securing ourselves to the mooring ball we were able drop Shelby and ready ourselves to head in to check in with Marina Jacks. Next order of business was for Harley to enjoy some time off the boat. She enjoyed the Bayfront park and stretching her legs and her ears enjoyed the wind. The winds were up while in Sarasota and Journey did some swinging but the evening skyline around Sarasota was spectacular. With all the winds we chose a window and left the mooring ball after a few days to head further south tucking in for the night around Siesta Key. Dee has just finished replacing the shower pump in the guest head and was ready to use it for the first time when the generator cut off by itself. We spent the evening figuring that one out. Impeller was shot and would need to be replaced. Thankfully we had that part on board.
The next day we headed down toward Venice with Dee tucked into the garage changing the impeller. Other than have to work while we moved he was able to make the change and the generator was happy again. We headed around Venice and into Port Charlotte. Finding a little hurricane hole in Caya Costa for the night. This was a quiet no rocking spot and we enjoyed exploring Caya Costa and sleeping well.
After securing their Uber and waving by to Eddie and Joan as they headed back to NC. We set out down toward Marco Island with our first experience out in the Gulf since crossing in January. Now we were south and warmer and looking forward to enjoying some time in Naples with friends.
We tucked into Gordon Pass for the night in among some very expensive homes and anchored with 3 other boats near by. The next morning we headed down toward Marco Island and the gulf was beautiful. We had been looking for an affordable marina in the area and stumbled across the Port of the Islands. We didn’t know then that this would become a safe haven for Journey during the coming Hurricane season.
Before heading in to Port of the Islands which takes about an hour something we did not really know at the time. We spend a night along Panther Key. Panther Key is among the Ten Thousand Islands area in the Everglades. This was a place totally different from anywhere we had been and the quiet and lack of light pollution at night made the stars reach down and almost touch you. We enjoyed the evening here and a beautiful sunset.
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