Wow, time goes by quickly when you’re having fun! I think it has been a whole week since we have written to you all. We hope that all is well. We have had nice weather, not too hot, not too cold. Today is a little stormy, but no rain so far. As I write we are circling before the Cortez bascule bridge, which is having some electrical problem and can’t open. We have been going in circles for almost an hour. I might have to ask Reggie to circle the other way, I’m getting a little dizzy.
I think we were in Fort Pierce when we last wrote to you. After leaving there, we went to Cabbage Cay and walked on the nature trail. We learned about some of the native floral and fauna. We’ve had several opportunities to learn about the floral, but we have a hard time putting that information in our long term storage. We did not see any of the fauna, which was OK with me. I had no desire to see the rat snake which can grow to be 10 feet long or the indigo snake which can be even bigger. I’m a little surprised I didn’t see one, as I was looking very carefully with each step. We didn’t see a gopher turtle either, which I would have enjoyed. They live under ground in their burrows. We walked the nature trail two more times at a faster clip to make sure we would be hungry for lunch. The Old House Restaurant, as the name implies, used to be a house, the former home of the son of mystery writer Mary Roberts Rinehart. There were two beautiful fireplaces, which were the only real indications that it was an old house. The walls, ceiling, in fact almost every surface not in use is covered with signed dollar bills. Our 2008 Cruising Guide said there were over 50,000 bills. Lunch was quite tasty. I had shrimp salad and Reggie the steamed shrimp deluxe.
From Cabbage Cay it was a short hop to Cape Haze Marina, where we tied up to their dock. We treated ourselves to real showers and connected to shore power. Shore power enabled us to plug in our electric heater. Aw, what luxury, and warmth! The highlight of our stay, however, was meeting Pete, the previous owner who was responsible for Submit’s paint job. I think it was the paint that sold us on her as much as anything. Pete was very gracious and did not gasp in dismay when he saw her. She really is due for a new paint job. We just have to make sure we have moved all of the hardware that we are going to move, so the holes can be covered up.
Next stop, Sarasota. We picked up a mooring ball, as the anchorage was a long way from the dinghy dock. In the morning, we walked to the Farmers Market, where we purchased srom fresh produce and enjoyed the many and various artisan booths. That afternoon, we caught the bus to the fairgrounds to attend the Celtic Festival. The entertainment included: Celtic square dancing, the telephone pole toss (they were trying to flip it end over end, which none were able to do while we watched), They were also trying to throw a rock on a stick over a pole 18 feet in the air, the hammer throw, which looked more like a big rock on a 4 ft pole, using a discus technique. The last one was another toss over a high pole, but this time they were tossing a small bale of hay with a pitchfork. We couldn’t help but wonder if the origins of these competitions involved copious quantities of Scotch. We ended our time at the festival with a more gentile competition. Young girls in their clan’s kilts were dancing the jig, sword dance, and some other dances I can’t remember. We didn’t have any idea what the judge was looking for, but we picked our favorites.
The next day we again took the bus to the Ringling Estate, a 66 acre estate owned by the circus baron, which he donated to the state of Florida. We visited the Tibbals Learning Center, where there was a huge miniature (think jumbo shrimp) display of a circus, including the kitchen, railway, ‘backyard’ performers tents and of course the big Top. The next museum was the Original Circus Museum which included costumes, wagons, and their person train coach, which was quite luxurious. After our lunch stop, we went to the Ca’d’Zan, their personal home. See picture.
A walk through the grounds brought us to the art gallery. The Ringlings were major art collectors. I was amazed at the paintings they had acquired. We say original artwork 4-5-6oo years old and older. All in all it was a fun filled, full day.
I must close now, as poor Reggie was been out in the cold, windy (15-20, gusts to 35. R.), rainy weather all day. (Don’t forget waves and spray over the bow. R.) We are ready to drop anchor in Gulfport. I’ll fix him a hot toddy and then some dinner.
Fair winds and following seas,
Barbara and Reggie.