Monday, October 1, 2012

Tarpon Springs To Madiera Beach

  We made the best of our last day in Crystal River by taking Holly in the dinghy to the beach and then over to the Three Sisters Spring for one last time.
  I also decided, after a good tip from our friend Don at Lake of the Ozarks, to get a new phone instead of a new camera. My old iPhone 3 was acting up, and there is no flash on the camera on that old model, plus the auxiliary jack quit working months ago.
  Don knew we were headed for Tarpon Springs and located an AT&T store there so I called them and after considering the options, had them get an iPhone 4S into the store for me to check out. The 4S is a nice phone and can be gotten at a good discount right now. The camera has a flash and the best thing about it was that the same connection cords for the 3G can be used for the 4S phone.
  We left Crystal River bright and early on Saturday morning after getting fuel at Pete's Pier. We only took on 30.4 gallons and the total was a whopping $140. Like some other places in Florida, the $4.25 price at the pump did not include tax. I am getting tired of having to ask whether or not the price at the pump includes tax or not. Live and learn though.

  Our cruise to Tarpon Springs was about 60 miles of open water and the weather was perfect. The Gulf was flat and we were running in shallow aquamarine blue water. We saw lots of dolphins and turtles along the way. I stopped the boat three times to take a swim and I wanted to get out my snorkeling gear.
  We found one of the very few anchorages in the Tarpon Springs area just east of Anclote Key, and as much as we wanted to join the other boaters lining a nearby white sand beach, we settled in for the night in a very unprotected anchorage which meant a noisy night for us because of the wave action, not the beach goers.
  On Sunday morning we called some friends about 15 miles away and they just happened to be looking for something to do, so we invited them to join us for the day and decided to meet up the river in Tarpon Springs at a marina.

 Tarpon Springs is an old Greek settlement and there are lots of shrimp boats and the sponge docks along the waterway are reminiscent of days gone by.

  This was our view as we waited at the Tarpon Landing Marina for our friends Ed and Peggy Wingo to drive over from Lutz. We hadn't seen Ed and Peggy for nearly 13 years but had no problem recognizing either one of them when they walked onto the dock.
  We went up to the restaurant there called Capt'n Jacks and had a late lunch while we caught up. After lunch we took a cruise and didn't drop them off until nearly dark. By the time we made our way out to the anchorage, it was dark and the wind was whipping up.

  On Monday morning we were treated to a rainbow on the horizon. The white boat in the photo is a very large wooden sailboat keeled over up near the bank in water about a foot deep. Their luck ran out at some point, rainbow or not.
  Once I confirmed that the AT&T store had the phone delivered to their location over the weekend, I dropped the dinghy and left Rosie in charge while I traveled to Spring Bayou, about 5 miles away, and tied up the dinghy at a public dock near the old section of Tarpon Springs. I then walked to the AT&T store over a mile away.
  I made my purchase and called Rosie to tell her I'd be heading back which would take about 90 minutes. When I left the river and headed across the bay to the boat, the wind had really picked up and the ride back to Swing Set was about the roughest I'd ever want to do. I couldn't wait to get the dinghy back on the davits and get out of there because we had some open water to negotiate on the way down to Dunedin.
  Once we got behind some protection from the surrounding keys, the waves let up but a stiff wind was blowing up from the south. I couldn't find an anchorage I liked with any wind protection.
  In Clearwater harbor there was some pretty water but all too shallow for us. I saw promising areas down in Boca Ciera so even though it was getting late, the weather was good and the wind had died down to a pleasant breeze, so we kept on going.
  We passed under the bridge to Madiera Beach and found our anchorage. There are several other boats in here too, some occupied, and some not. We are in about 6 feet of water which will get us only 4 feet when the tide goes out, but there isn't much else in the way of places to drop the hook until we get to Tampa Bay.

   Here's us playing with the new phone. Thanks for the tip, Don!
  Rosie got a good dinner ready in just a few minutes; we were having salad with chicken strips. T.V. reception is good and so is the Internet service. There is a Publix within view and it appears that there is a few people here in the anchorage that we can meet tomorrow. We have some business to attend to at the license office, if we can find one, so we may stay here a couple of nights at least, but not too long because we're meeting Ed and Peggy again this weekend, along with some other friends down here in Florida that we haven't seen for about eight years, over in Apollo Beach on Friday night. We think we'll like it here for a bit, we've already had several dolphins swimming by the boat.
  It's been a long, long day and we're glad to be at anchor in better protected waters than we had for the last two nights. We're both due for some better rest.

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