Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Days 194-196 - Tarpon Springs to Punta Gorda

We left Tarpon Springs on a beautiful morning with our new buddy boat, Dash Away close behind.  Lots of scenery around us.

An interesting lighthouse

We are done with the locks now, but there are many bridges, most we can go under with room to spare,

Some are very pretty!

but some are too low for us to get under and we must have them raised.  They usually raise them about every 30 minutes so we must wait if we get there early.

Dash Away following behind with another boat on his tail.  Boat traffic is busy in Florida!

We were pleased to see Elpis again.  These are two girls doing the Loop on a break from college.  Looks like one of the girls' parents have joined them for this portion!

 Houses seem to get larger and larger....

... and more numerous.

 Fancy stairways

"Cages" usually denote a pool inside.

Lots of decks.

LOTS of decks!

Most are 3 stories or taller.

And larger yet!!


And fancy roofs!

And then there are the condos!!!!

Even the condos have style!

The water is quite shallow with many sand bars.  Even the tour boats pull right up on to the bar for the tourists to play in the sand.

The danger comes when you hit an unplanned sandbar.  Ooops!!

Even the fishermen stop on the sandbars, get out, and go fishing from the bar!

Even the birds like to fish from the sandbar - it looks so strange to see a bird STANDING in the water so far from the shore.

Then there is the more familiar sights of the birds on signs...(Brown Pelicans)

...and daymarks :)  (Osprey)

The birds love the trees...

and bushes!!!

We stopped for the night at a lovely anchorage with a beautiful sunset. 

This lovely house was in the bay where we anchored.  Love the tiny lookout on the top!

Moving on the next day we see many houses with their own docks, most with boats. This house found a different use for their dock - and outdoor "room".  Looks very comfortable!

We do pass some areas of mangroves, those fun trees with roots that seem to "walk"

This picture is for Joni Russell - who builds a purple dock??

Boats are anchored out all over the bays.

Lots of sailboats enjoying the breeze.

 Interesting looking boats abound... 
This one is taller than I'd be comfortable with!

Each area seems to have their favorite type of fishing boat.  This is the boat of choice here.

Another favorite style - sometimes we even see them steering the boat from the loft.  Looks really strange.

There are also many smaller water craft.  We saw several "shells" of various sizes out practicing.

Here's an entire kayaking class in front of a gorgeous home.

And of course, the all popular jet skis! Boy can they throw a wake!

We've also seen many of these floating cranes, mostly working on private docks.

 Then there are the sad reminders of storms gone by.

 Our one disappointment so far is that we haven't see a manatee - I know we will eventually.  Florida has warning signs and educational notices about manatees everywhere.

 Dolphins, however, are everywhere and we enjoy watching them soooooo much!

We love the murals some towns specialize in.  Once in a while we can see one from the water.

As we came up the open water approaching Punta Gorda the water became quite a bit choppier.  Since we were running into the wind (compared to the wind hitting us broadside) it was bumpy but not uncomfortable.  As you can see from the video below, I had a difficult time holding the camera steady. Notice the sailboat at the beginning of the video rides the waves very smoothly (ignore the up and downs of my camera if you can), compared to the speed boat bouncing along.

And of course this was the time the dolphins chose to be active.  I apologize for the poor quality but this is the first time I've caught them jumping out of the water!

That's the end of our trip to Punta Gorda except for the rest of the beautiful have my permission to stop now unless you share my love of homes.  For those who like the houses - enjoy!

Talk about a LARGE cage!!  Not sure why it's so big.

The same house from a different angle

Anchored at Redington Shores - Dec. 26
Anchored at Bird Key North, Sarasota, FL - Dec. 27 - with Dash Away
Anchored at Cape Haze - Placida, FL - Dec. 28 - with Dash Away
Docked at Laishley Park Marina, Punta Gorda, FL - Dec. 29 with Lab Partners and Liberty