Travel Log – Gulf Coast Trip Part 2

September 03, 2014

This is the completion of our vacation story, which I first started way back when. If you've forgotten all of that, go give it a quick look. I'll meet you back here.

Wednesday, June 18 - Thursday, June 19

When we last checked in with our intrepid voyagers on Velvet Elvis, they were at a nice little anchorage at about the spot where the civilized Florida coast dissappears for good. We left there between 5:00 and 6:00, knowing that our first all day-all night-all day sail was ahead of us.
Kids reunited at the St. Petersburg resort.

It turned out to be pretty uneventful. Winds were light and progress was slow, but there were no real mishaps. V continued to fight seasickness, but he slept all night in the cockpit. Then, he followed that by sleeping most of the day.

We had planned to go all the way to St. Petersburg, but with dusk approaching and us having still several hours to go, we found a calm anchorage outside of Tarpon Springs. The water was a beautiful deep turquoise, and the spot we found was deliciously free of other boats.

Friday, June 20

We started early again on Friday morning, and had a coastal sail of just a few hours. The wind was good early, and we didn't have to start the motor until we were out in front of the tourist boats and results of St. Petersburg. We motored the last little while, entering the bay though a long cut with light sandy shallow water on each side.

There was a little marina where we had planned to stay, a mile or so South of the resort where the Linkins would be staying. Once we checked it out though, we decided to refuel, and then motor up the bay and just anchor even closer. The marina really had nothing to offer.
Kolya dancing with a mermaid.

We found a pretty little anchorage, and to one end was a dock where sailboats take tourits out to see dolphins. They were nice enough to let us tie our dinghy there while we walked up to the resorts to play. There were also groceries and a drugstore right there, so it was most convenient.

We made our way to the resort, ordered lunch, and found the Linkins. A nice concierge heard my story and gave me passes to use the pools and amenities.

As is usual for a beach trip, the stories are best told by the pictures, so be sure to check those out.

Saturday, June 21

Saturday was a pretty normal, lazy beach and pool day. Late afternoon, we went in to get ready to walk down to dinner, and Kolya treated us to an energetic dance with an inflatible mermaid. Mrs. theskinnyonbenny changed clothes in a closet, and Vanya crushed hard on a girl who will consider him much too young until he is 22 and she is 27.

Mrs. theskinnyonbenny had a beachfront restaurant in mind a mile or so down the beach, and walking down in the early evening gave us the opportunity to pass behind a couple of weddings. I wanted to be disruptive without being obnoxious or vulgar, so I settled on passing behind the wedding trellis while walking like an Egyption. I was most pleased to have V and Jake join me.

We drank and laughed through dinner, and then we walked past our part of the resort to a different building where they were having some sort of "party." It was really just a pool and a big outside bar that was open, along with a lot of communal seating. We sat around and made friends with strangers while the kids did their own thing, and then we called it a night.

Sunday, June 22/img/gal/114%20-%202014%20Vacation%20-%20South%20Florida/resIMG_20140621_190542_2614.JPG

Another beach/pool/bar day. The only noteworthy event I can remember is this: Crystal was lying around a cabana, not moving, but mentioning every 20 minutes or so that we should feed the kids lunch. Mrs. theskinnyonbenny finally got annoyed and walked up to buy sandwhiches and pizza. She returned a long while later, and food was distributed to all of the young beggars.

I was trying to fall asleep, but I couldn't do with with all of the commotion. I finally sat up and accepted a piece of pizza. Then, while looking to my side in conversation, a damned seagull swooped down, pecked me in the hand, and flew off with my pizza.

After that, Kolya would charge the birds screaming loudly as they came near, but they seemed almost as big as he was. No doubt that they were planning to team up and eat the little brown kid.

This episode was still playing out in my mind some weeks later:

Later, the whole crew came out to Velvet Elvis, and we motored around to Downtown St. Petersburg. We got down there around dark and had dinner overlooking the marina.

Monday, June 23

The next day, I spent the a lot of the day at the marina with some work and some boat maintenance. I got out to the resort and to the beach. I walked down to the place we had eaten the previous night and enjoyed some cocktail time all by myself. It was a much-needed respite.

That night, we hit a restaurant down the beach that had this giant aquarium built by the reality show crew. It was sort of cool. Then, we played outside in the dark, knowing that this was the last time we would see our friends for many months.

Tuesday, June 24/img/gal/114%20-%202014%20Vacation%20-%20South%20Florida/resIMG_20140624_093010_2793.JPG

Tuesday was our day long Disney World marathon. The plan was to get up early, drive there in time to open the park, let K meet Mickey Mouse and maybe one of the princesses from Frozen, ride some rides, and get back home.

Of that, we got up early, and we rode some rides.

I don't want to be too negative, but even getting there soon after the park opened, it was crowded and hot enough to swampify the crotch of the shorts. There were definitely some fun moments, especially for the kids, but I have no idea how people spend day after day out there.

At the end of our long, tiring day, we drove back out to the marina and rested up.

Wednesday, June 25 - Sunday, June 29

My dad came down Wednesday afternoon, and shortly after he arrived, we shoved off and headed West. By sunset, we were out of sight of land. We worked night shifts of three hours on, six hours off, and it really couldn't have been easier. For the first two days, wind was light to nonexistent, and we had to motor a lot. But after that, it filled in just as forecast. By Saturday night, we were flying along at breakneck pace.

We saw lots of little flying fish and a huge pod of dolphins. The dolphins darted all around, and the water was clear enough to let us watch them zig and zag under water.

I also had one night where the boat was rising up gently and settling back down into its bow wave. As it sunk down, it would throw a gentle wave of water off to the side, and that water would light up with bio-luminescent plankton. Really cool stuff.

There was lots of reading, lots of sweat, and one epic water gun fight in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.

We made it home Sunday morning and spent the rest of the day cleaning up and getting ourselves back to Baton Rouge.

We ate frozen and boxed prepped foods, and out there, they were good.

In case you were skimming, the whole photo gallery is here.