We departed Sarasota this morning. It was a beautiful marina and a beautiful city, but not for me. If you haven't picked up on this by now, Rhonda and I are not "metropolitan" anything. We like quiet and simple and that, Sarasota is not.
Today was a 38-mile day from Sarasota to Cape Haze Marina in Englewood. You'd think that would be a nice easy run, and from a distance standpoint it was. But we had about 7 or 8 bridges, houses after houses after houses, lots of other boats, fishermen that seemed to think they owned the entire waterway, manatee zones, idle speed zones, no wake zones, minimum wake zones, minimum safe speed zones, no wake zone if outside of the waterway and 25 MPH limit if in the waterway, no wake zone if outside the waterway and 35 MPH limit if in the waterway, seagrass zones, hazardous areas, resume normal safe operation zones - after a couple of hours of that, it just gets tiring and we had 5 hours of it!
But, just about the time we had seen enough "manatee this" and "manatee that" signs for a lifetime, we actually saw one, right off the bow. It surfaced three times but not long enough for me to get the camera and take a pic. You'll just have to take our word for it. It was funny, Rhonda had just commented how silly all of this is - like the manatees know where the manatee zones start and stop. Well, apparently they do because this one surfaced just as the manatee zone began! Rhonda and I have seen manatee before when we lived in Ft. Myers from 1987 to 1990 but it's pretty cool to see them again. They are huge and docile creatures.
Not long after the manatee, we saw a bald eagle perched on top of one of the marker posts, about 20 feet away where you would normally find a pelican, sea gull, or some other more common bird or waterfowl.
Cape Haze Marina is very nice and quiet which was a bit restful after all of the above!
But the highlight of the day was without a doubt, reuniting with an old friend of mine, Ira Funderburk, from Lancaster High School. Ira was in the Class of 1970 and I was in the Class of 1971, so it has been 42 years! We reconnected a few months ago on Facebook and he and his wife moved to Northport, FL recently. So, we took advantage of their location and us passing through to get together again.