Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #38 Gone Cruisin’!

The engine is running! And we have refrigeration! Jim did an excellent job of reinstalling the heat exchanger, connecting all the hoses, wires, etc., and draining and replacing the engine coolant. As I write this, the engine purrs contentedly. This week, however, we have an appointment for a refrigeration expert to assess our system with an eye to installing an additional system that will run off our batteries, so that we don’t have to run our engine twice each day for refrigeration. We’ll see if it’s affordable and/or sensible.

We had a delightful visit with Mike this weekend. He came up from Sarasota yesterday and stayed overnight with us. It was great to have the time to catch up with each other’s lives. He still doesn’t have a job, although he has made some money doing hurricane brush clean-up. He hopes that situation will change soon. This was Mike’s first opportunity to really see Caloosa Spirit since he visited us in the BVI six years ago, while the boat was still in charter. Having grown up on our weekender sailboat, he seemed right at home. Mike has an interest in working on the design of our website, so look for some interesting changes here in the near future.

Laundry has been done, provisions and spare parts have been stored, Caloosa Spirit has been cleaned inside and out, and we’re goin’ cruisin’. Lauri and her boyfriend Alex arrived this evening to spend a week on board with us. We hope to see and do some fun stuff, because we’re on vacation with them. For one week nothing will be fixed, installed, repaired, or cleaned—well, that’s the plan, anyway. Tomorrow we leave the dock here at Cathy and Carl’s—otherwise known as Marina del Petersen. We can never repay their friendship and hospitality, but we can give them a big THANK YOU!!

When we left St. Petersburg this afternoon, we wondered if we would find some newly reorganized shoals in the bay after the hurricanes, especially in the already shallow areas. But fortunately our keel never did kiss the sea bottom. We had an enjoyable sail across Tampa Bay—without the engine running, even. We’re now anchored in the entrance to the Manatee River at DeSoto Point. This is a new anchorage for us, but it seems to be well-known and well-attended among the local folk. The breeze is delightful, although it took until sundown for the wakes off the main channel to diminish.

DeSoto Point offers a national park with a monument, but not only to honor Hernando DeSoto. In 1539 Hernando DeSoto landed in Florida, and he then led an exploration into the present-day southeastern U.S. that lasted over three years. When I had to learn about all the “new world” explorers in my childhood education, I never read about the devastation they wrought on the native peoples they encountered. Apparently, in my day and age such unflattering information was conveniently omitted from the history books. But it seems that in more recent years history has been rewritten from a more judicious perspective. The story we heard today did its part to honor the native peoples who suffered under the oppression of the Spaniards who searched in vain for gold and riches throughout the southeast. Too bad the conquistadores couldn’t recognize the richness of those ancient cultures that were right before their eyes.

Memorial cross at DeSoto Point

After exploring the natural beauty of DeSoto Point, we left there and motored down the ICW to Longboat Key, one of our favorite anchorages. It has been a superb day ended at a serene anchorage. It’s a great vacation so far.

Lauri and Alex got to experience the best of Longboat Key—the tranquil anchorage, the sugar-sand beach, the peacocks in the peaceful village. After a couple of nights there, today we sailed down to Sarasota. In our previous experiences this anchorage has been exposed and rolly, with a long dinghy ride to the shore. But this time we managed to find a spot further in. It appears that there are fewer boats in the anchorage, perhaps courtesy of Charley, Frances, Ivan, and Jeanne. We spent the afternoon wandering around Sarasota’s downtown area, and engaging in one of Lauri’s favorite activities—perusing a book store. Mike came out to the boat for a visit this evening. It’s fun to have the family together.

With the aid of the bus system we made an excursion to St. Armand’s Circle for shopping, and then on to Lido Key for beaching. What a lovely beach! As at Longboat and most other beaches on the Gulf Coast, the sand is white, soft, and enticing, and the water is clear and shallow. This evening Mike and Stephanee picked us up and drove us to Friendly’s for burgers and ice cream. You may recall from this log about a year ago our excitement in discovering this transplanted treasure from New England. Although it was a new experience for Alex and Steph, the rest of us reveled in memories of our previous Friendly’s delights.

How fitting that on Jim’s birthday we got enough wind to really sail. With both sails full, we sailed back up to Longboat Key for a very important dinner engagement. Moore’s Restaurant, where we had dined as a family some 20 years ago, was our destination for Jim’s birthday dinner. Mike drove up to join us for a feast and celebration. Another great day.

Moore's for Jim's 62nd

With no wind and no immediate plans, Lauri declared the day a “library day”. So we all relaxed, slept, read, swam, fished, and generally vacationed on the boat. A delicious pork tenderloin dinner capped off the day.

All good things must come to an end, they say. So tonight we had to bid good-bye to Lauri and Alex as they boarded their return flight to Indianapolis. It was wonderful to spend a whole week with them, making more lifetime memories. We expect to stay here in Sarasota for another week or so, spending some more quality time with Mike and Stephanee. Whether we will head south soon depends on our refrigeration plans. If we decide to add a supplemental system at this time (so that we don’t have to run the engine twice daily), then we’ll return to Clearwater to have the work done there. The affordability of such a project is still a question mark. In any case, we’ll keep you all updated.

Fair winds until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford

P. S. Don’t forget to vote!! And don’t forget to look up Reaching a Far Horizon at www.lulu.com!

Posted Sunday October 31, 2004

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