Archive for December, 2010

January 14-December 15 We finish the Great Loop

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010


Arriving in Key West after 11 months was the end of our Great Loop Journey.  It was an amazing part of our lives.  Great memories of people, places, sights & adventures.  We will never forget it.  We now plan to be in Key West for a month & then on to the Bahamas & South Florida for a few months.  Then we will see where the water takes us.

November 18-December 15 Cruising Florida’s Gulf Coast

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010


We always enjoy time in Tarpon Springs.  It’s “Old Florida” with a Greek influence.  Actually the spongeing industry moved from Key West to Tarpon Springs many years ago & brought in the influence.  There are some great Greek churches & restaurants with an interesting waterfront.  From there we moved on to Clearwater with it’s beautiful beach & sunsets.  The next day we passed Tampa Bay, entered Sarasota Bay & docked at Longboat Key Marina.  Our friends from Tryon, Frank & Ann, graciously gave us the use of their slip for 10 days while we flew to Annapolis, MD to join Trip’s family for Thanksgiving.  22 people for dinner is quite an effort but his sister Kate & her husband Jamie made it seem effortless.  While in Longboat we explored Sarasota & St. Armand’s.  Great shops & restaurants.  We continued down the Gulf Coast ICW passing one of the last turning bridges in existence.  Our first stop was Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island, a beautiful island town with streets going under a canopy of banyan trees.  Then it was on to a weekend in Punta Gorda where we were docked in a position to have front row center seats for their annual Lighted Christmas Boat Parade.  Punta Gorda was devistated by a hurricane several years ago & is finishing up rebuilding so almost everything is new.  Historic markers only make mention of a historic building that “used to be” in this location.  Fisherman’s Village still resembles “old Gulf Coast Florida”.  After that it was on to Cabbage Key, one of the most fascinating stops on our entire trip.  It is only accessible by boat & has 3 private homes & a marina with a great old club.  The restaurant/bar walls & ceiling are covered with 50,000 autographed dollar bills, inlcuding one signed by JFK, Jr.    Then it was on to Fort Myers where we docked right next to many old shrimp boats.  Alan’s neice, Chris, who lives in Naples, drove over & took us for a tour of Sanibel & Captiva.  While leaving the boat there we flew to New York City for a long weekend to enjoy the Christmas store windows, Rockefeller Center, great restaurants, shopping, theatre, etc.  We spent the weekend with our friends, Stephen & Jonathan, from Key West and Trip’s Brother Rick.  Once back on board we picked a good day to do the crossing to Key West.  We left at sunrise and cruised in rough seas reaching Key West late afternoon.  Cruise ships in the harbor are the first thing you can spot when approaching.  Arriving in Key West was the finish of our 11 month, 6,000 mile, 66 Locks, 108 Ports of Call and Anchorages  “Great Loop Adventure”.  WE DID IT!  It was a sureal adventure and the trip of a lifetime! The memories will last forever, especially all of the Great Friends and Family we saw along our 6,000 mile voyage!!!