Spring Transition 2016: Ohh the Food!!!

Venice Yacht Club is nestled between the ICW and the Gulf of Mexico. This club has found a way of bridging its members between semi formal and relaxing casual. On this trip we were lucky to arrive on pasta night. The chefs created personalized dishes for each guest. There was shrimp, clams,  scallop, sausage, beef and chicken. Veggies included spinach, artichokes, olives, mushrooms, peppers, onions, capers. Sauces were as creative as you wished with scampi, tomato, Alfredo, vodka sauce. I know I left out numerous ingredients!! Oh, garlic!!!And yes, pastas:  spaghetti, penne, fettuccini, and gluten free.
All I know is, if you wanted it, they had it!
Add to this being able to order from the menu if you didn't care for pasta night!!  I know, it's all about the food, right??
Wrong!! The Venice yacht club is located within reasonable walking distance from a wonderful little downtown dotted with numerous shops and restaurants.  Go in the other directions and you can be entertained for hours by the activities at the inlet to the gulf. From sunrise to sunset and beyond Venice is an endearing community.

New Years Charter: 27 Dec 2015 - 2 Jan 2016

On December 27, 2015 we had the fortune of chartering with some great people.  The charter lasted an entire week and ended on January 2, 2016.  Embarking from South Miami beach we spent two days in Key Largo at the John Pennenkamp Coral Reef State park.

This beautiful coral reef is the first undersea park in the US and encompasses approximately 70 nautical square miles.  While the mangrove swans and tropical hammocks in the park’s upland areas offer visitors a unique experience, it is the coral reefs and their associated marine life that bring the most visitors to the park.  Many enjoy the view of the reef from a glass-bottom boat tour, but for an even more unique adventure embarking on a SCUBA diving or snorkeling adventure is fun. Our adventurers took the opportunity for some kayaking as well.

We spent New Year’s Eve at Islamorada.  Islamorada is a "Village of Islands," and is an incorporated village in Monroe County, Florida, United States. It is located on the islands of Tea Table Key, Lower Matecumbe Key, Upper Matecumbe Key, Windley Key and Plantation Key in the Florida Keys.  On the second we said good bye to our wonderful new friends.

Good times had by all and what a great way to start the New Year!!

3 Feb 2015: Meeting Friends- Heading to Miami

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Cruising along the ICW  (intracoastal  waterway) from Venice to Fort Myers at a faster clip makes one realize that this portion of the journey is best enjoyed at a slow pace. The mid Gulf Coast has so much to offer that two weeks just bobbing along is a much more gentle way to stop and poke and enjoy all the quaint gulf towns  and yacht clubs and get the full benefit of soaking up all the positive energy along this coast. Having a individualized custom charter experience allows one to set the pace.

Doing a transition charter, however,  requires staying on course and sticking to a schedule. A transition experience is for learning new skills such as navigating the locks and getting the pace and timing of bridges. Often the captain must make decisions of going open water or protected waterways. There are many factors to consider in making these choices. Yesterday we were able to cruise the ICW in respect of the winds and currents of the time. We almost had no choice to go only open waters due to the closing of the Boca Grande bridge due to construction. That would have meant dealing with rough open seas which requires its own special considerations. The bridge changed closure dates caused by their own setbacks which gave us the desired option of running the ICW.

Our port of call for the evening was the St Charles Yacht Club in Fort Myers. We were heartily welcomed there and enjoyed a scrumptious dinner with some snowbird friends from Pennsylvania/Cape Coral.

 
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24 April 2015 - Pelican Bay Anchorage to Naples Yacht Club

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April 24, 2015 and April 25, 2015

Start: Pelican Bay Anchorage
Finish:  Naples Yacht Club

We awoke to a beautiful sunrise and a tranquil setting, as we begin our trip to Naples Yacht Club.  The club was established in 1964. As we cruise along at our 8 mph pace, the weather was perfect so we could take the outside route in the Gulf of Mexico.  Our fuel is burn per hour is running just below 5 gallons an hour or about 18.00 per hour!  The perfect speed for the easy cruising style of the Trawler life!  No rush no worries!   Needless to say the day on the Grampstr's Pride was an amazing one.

We arrived just about 5 PM.  After docking and checking in with the Dock Master we decided to try the cuisine at the club and made reservations for 6:30.  The food was very good we all had the veal shank special. 

Most of the clubs we visit are in the Florida Council of Yacht Clubs, they strive to have excellent chefs and are reasonably priced, as they are non profit and there for the members.  You must belong to a member of a Yacht Council Club to stay at a participating club. 

What is really nice about the clubs as they go out of there way to assist if there is a need. 

The club is built in southern Florida architecture with a large front porch for causal dining and an upstairs for formal dining and tonight for a large birthday party!  Easy docking and a lovely pool and gardens? 

After dinner we checked the weather and a cold front was moving in with heavy North East winds and was going to stay for several days.  This made us review our plans and we decided to stay another night at Naples and provision the boat I case the weather changed and we could go over the next couple days. 

We had an Uber experience!  Yes there was an Uber in Naples!  He was great!  Took us several places including a West Marine and the Dive shop!  If the weather changes we are ready to go the Ft. Jefferson and the Dry Turguga's!  

The plan is still head for Everglades City and then if the weather breaks plan to Cruise the 100 miles of open water to the Fort!  We are one day behind in our plan, hopefully it will be worth the delay!

 

6 May 2015: Three Night Stay at Key West

May 3, 2015 to May 6, 2015

Start: Key West Florida Mooring Cove
Finish: Key West Florida, Key West Marina

As we prepared to leave our mooring ball the winds are still gusting to the high 20 knot range, it was another gorgeous day, in the mid 80's with a strong sea breeze.  We are glad we made the decisions to spend extra time checking out Key West, as there are so many things to see!

Key West reminds us of Nantucket, lots of actives; snorkeling and diving, fun shops, too many restaurants to count, as well as lots of  interesting history.  We took a 3 hour tour, and, also we bought tickets to stop at the Earnest Hemingway and the summer White House used by Harry S. Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy and Bill Clinton.  John Kennedy met the prime minister of Great Britain there just 22 days before the Bay of Pigs. Colin Powell used it to negotiate with foreign governments.  The tours were great and we can't wait to share with our charter clients. 

We spent the next day walking Key West with its many shops.  We also took a walk to the Key West Light House and the Marker noting it is only 90 miles to Cuba.

The weather treated us well the next day so we could go to Ft. Jefferson and the Dry Torgugas!