Crystal River & Tarpon Springs Grady White Club
United States FL Bradenton
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2012 <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />CrystalRiver and Tarpon Springs Adventure<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
April 28th, 29th, 30th
Sarasota to CRYSTALRIVER a - 3 Day Adventure
Everyone got up early and prepared our boats for a long trip by boat from SarasotaBay to CrystalRiver and an overnight stop at Tarpon Springs. On Liberty, Laura, Bill, Iris, and Lenny headed over to the ICW at Cannon’s Marina to meet the other Suncoast Grady White Boat Club members. Waiting for us were Rob and Barb on Noah Jenda. Soon after Alikat arrived with Al and Kathy. Also there was Waterfaucet with Reg and Sally. Mike and Susan arrived on Pharmasea and we were ready to head out. But, wait we had a problem. One of the engines on Noah Jenda had a cooling problem. They headed into Cannon’s for a quick repair and were soon out again and we were on our way.
The weather was perfect for a two or three hour ride up the coast. The Sun was warm, the air was in the 70’s and the Gulf was flat calm. We were amazed at how clear and clean the water was. If we hadn’t been on this trip it would have been a perfect day to scuba dive or go fishing for the Kingfish.
Because it was so nice we were able to run at about 32 MPH and it didn’t take long before we saw Anclote Key. We headed into the ICW and then up the AncloteRiver. As we were headed into Tarpon Springs it seemed that all the boats were headed out for a beautiful day on the water. Soon we came to our destination at the Turtle Cove Marina. http://www.turtlecove-marina.com/index2.html I can’t say enough nice things about the marina. The facilities were new and beautiful, the service was unbelievable. We had four or five men help us dock. Ed the owner treated us to a tour of the facility. The friendly staff got us checked in. Nikki McKnight (727) 934-2202: Office
The first thing on our agenda was to have lunch. We walked to a wonderful seafood restaurant on the water. The food was great. Al and Mike were very surprised to find potato salad on their Greek Salads. I guess they don’t like potato salad and were a little upset with this unique tradition of Tarpon Springs that was started many years ago my Louie Papas restaurant.
After lunch we walked the sponge docks and visited many of the shops and stores. This is a tourist destination and the sidewalks were full of people shopping. We were happy to see Lynn and Sue join us. They are good friends and drove up to Tarpon Springs to be with us for the day.
Soon it was getting close to the five o’clock happy hour. We headed back to the boats. Everyone brought out their snacks, beer, wine, and rum. We found a picnic table and move it into the shade of some palm trees. Mike brought out his new navigational charts. Al, Rob, and Reg gathered around Mike and they set to plotting a course to CrystalRiver for the next day’s trip.
The sun was getting low in the sky and we decided to walk back into town and find a Greek Restaurant for supper. All the walking built up an appetite for me. Soon we all were seated in a nice place and we all had traditional Greek dinners, except for the potato salad on top of the salad. After dinner six of us headed to the hotel. Lynn and Sue were kind enough to drive us there. The others walked back to their boats.
The six of us had very nice rooms and an impressive breakfast. We took turns riding back to the marina; I guess there is only one taxi in the whole town. We met with the others at their boats. I guess Sally and Reg had a hard time with the facilities arrangements. They were locked out of the showers and the toilet at the marina was out of service. I was sorry to hear that, especially because Ed wanted everything to be just right for us.
By now the sun was getting high in the sky and we headed back out to the Gulf of Mexico. It was another beautiful day out on the water. The Gulf and bay waters were so clear we could easily see the bottom. On the way to CrystalRiver we stopped at a natural reef and we could see the bottom and the structure. Soon we were on our way up the Gulf. We stayed about ten miles offshore because it is very shallow far out from shore. After about a couple of hours we saw the CrystalRiver power plant on the horizon. I plotted a course in and around shoal areas and sandbars. We headed up the CrystalRiver that was dark from the tannic acid. We had to slow many places for the manatee zones. Finally we arrived at the Town of Crystal River and the home of King Spring and two sisters’ springs. We check into The Best Western Crystal River Resort, 800-435-4409, 352-795-3171 http://www.crystalriverresort.com/. The hotel was very nice but their docks were pretty bad, but good enough to hold their beat-up old pontoon rental boats. It took us about two to three hours to travel from Tarpon Springs to CrystalRiver and it took about the same time to tie up our boats! Alikat docked at the Pete’s Pier marina for the night.
It was late afternoon and very hot and we were all hungry for lunch. The Crackers restaurant was busy so we walked to the next restaurant. It was very nice and had great food. We were seated right away.
After the late lunch and a little rest I was ready to go snorkeling. Laura talked everyone into going for a boat ride to the spring, but only Lenny and I were brave enough to swim in the cool spring water. A manatee came up to the boat and there were numerous fish in the spring. It was late in the day and we had the whole spring to ourselves. It was so nice. Lenny and I snorkeled, and dove down to take a lot of pictures of the spring and the fish.
Bye the time we slowly motored back it was time of a late happy hour and then the sun was going down so we walked next door to the Crackers restaurant and had a late supper. It was very late, almost half past nine before we finally got the food. We sat on very old and rustic picnic table in the dark. We had a lot to talk about. The weather was turning bad and it looked like the winds would be strong in the afternoon and the waves would build up high in the Gulf. So we all decided to get up before dawn and head back to the ICW a day earlier than planned. There was no sense in staying if no one wanted to swim in the 72 degree spring water anyway.
We were in the lobby at 6:30 and before the sun came up to have breakfast. Soon we were untied and headed down the river. The sun was just coming up over the trees and it was very foggy. It was very beautiful on the quiet river. We were the only ones up at that hour. Even the birds were still in their roost. We motored down the river and head back out to the Gulf. Along the way we say a few manatees. The water in the Gulf was still calm but the breeze was building. Along the way we ran about 33 MPH to get back to the ICW as quickly as we could before the wave height built up. We got more than half way there before we had to slow way down because the wind had really increased and the waves were from our port-aft. As our boat broke into each wave the wind would pick up the spray and shower our boat. Iris and Laura had to move closer to the cabin for protection. Most times a cool spray would feel nice on a hot day, but the sun was not up enough to make it warm.
Finally we made it back to the ICW behind Anclote Key. It was still rough going, but the protection allowed us to pick up speed and head down to Clearwater. Once we were south of Clearwater and traveling down the ICW through Pinellas it was idle speed most of the way. That was ok by us, we were just so happy to be out of high waves. The wind was still strong and getting stronger the more we headed south.
We had thought about staying at a Holiday Inn that is on the ICW, but decided we want to get across TampaBay and go home. We made a plan to actually go back out into the Gulf and hug the shoreline. The wind was strong out to the East and the water was protected close in. We followed the shore along Ft.Desoto park and then over to Egmont Key and then finally close along AnnMariaIsland. We made it back into LongboatPass after a long six hour trip that was non-stop most of the way from CrystalRiver. I couldn’t believe we did that whole trip in one day.
We were all thankful that we made it home safe. No boats were lost and no one was hurt. We were thankful that the weather was nice for most of the trip and that we all had a whole lot of fun and adventure.
AFTER TRIP COMMENTS:
Dear Grady Group,
We had a terrific time. Bill and Laura are the greatest trip planners and great navigators. Mother Nature tried to ruin the trip but they got us home free. The sneak trip around Egmont and Anna Maria worked great. However, we rounded the corner into SarasotaBay we had high 25 mph winds and 35mpg gusts. We could not get the boat into our lift we had to tie up at the dock with a lot of excitement. The trip was shorter than we planned but a good idea to come home early. It was a long day and we are still bouncing and rocking. We would do it again. I have attached a few pics. I have many more.
As usual the Grady Dinner Group, The manatee from the menu. (Don't tell anyone it was from the menu
We arrived home safely after stopping at Bird Key Yacht Club to gas up! It was a great trip thanks to our wonderful planners. Thanks for all your energy. I certainly enjoyed experiencing Tarpon Springs and learning all about sponges. Do wish I had at least gotten my feet wet when Bill and Lenny "swam with the manatees." I think we need to change the name to the "Grady Group Boating and Eating Club". Looking forward to seeing you all soon. Enjoyed meeting Lenny and Iris -- great group.
Al and Kathy -- I'll be sending soon some of the pictures I took of your boat. I probably will have to send them one at a time -- my son has told me many times how to send several pictures in one email, but I never can remember or figure it out. Your boat is beautiful underway -- I never did get to see the inside -- maybe next time.
Hugs to all -- never did get to hug you all when we left and that's always my favorite part -- a big hug!
On Apr 30, 2012, at 3:59 PM, Laura C. wrote:
We are home. We had a wonderful trip. We are hoping all of you had a safe trip home after we turned east to our house. The winds have really increased this afternoon. It was a great decision to stay on the west side of Egmont and Anna Maria islands. Please let us all know you are home safe!! Laura
Glad to hear that everyone made a safe trip home. It was a good call to come all the way back today - weather sounds really breezy the rest of the week. We had a nice trip back yesterday and really had a nice time with everyone in Tarpon. Looking forward to seeing everyone at the next meeting.
Rob and Barb.
We are just now turning into our driveway. Great trip. Great people. Thanks for including us! Lenny
Adjacent to historic Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks