Gulfport, FL – Part I

We just spent 2.5 months in Gulfport, FL on Boca Ciega Bay. It was our second time there by boat and fourth time visiting. We’ve been lucky enough to stay at Mike and Leann Rowe’s house in St. Pete Beach on Boca Ciega Bay the two times we were not on our boat. And at their marina the two times we had the boat. We settled into boat life there. We love downtown Gulfport. It’s funky feel, it’s fantastic farmer’s market and great restaurants. It’s a less than 10 minute bike ride with the girls to the library where all three of us were able to get library cards. We opened a PO Box so we could easily get shipments of products for Ben for work and some mail. It really felt like home. And since we were stationary we had a lot of visitors! In an effort to keep my blogging from carrying on and on I think I’ll group blogs from the last couple of months by visitors.

The first thing we did after we arrived (and school work was done) was head to the island! Anyone who has come through Guflport has either been told about the island by us or taken there by us. My girls first played there in 2016. They discovered an awesome tree house and had such fun exploring. This year they discovered three tree houses! They were excited to sign their name like so many others. Not a clue why my image is upside down.

Molly is part monkey with her climbing skills and she clambered right to the top. Maddy is a little more cautious and not as agile so I encourage her to just hang with me and only climb as high as she is comfortable. Thankfully she doesn’t try to keep up if she doesn’t think she can. I even let Molly scramble up with my phone and take a selfie. She didn’t drop it…

After some playtime in the sand we called it a day. The pool at the marina was closed the first 5 weeks we were there so having the island to zip out to was wonderful. It was also cold most days the first 5 weeks we were there so it was again great to have somewhere to run and climb and play in the sand when it wasn’t warm enough to swim.

Our first visitors were the Zeeffs! We managed to jam our water maker in our car when we drove back to the boat in December. They borrowed it to take to the Bahamas (we’re glad the water maker could make the trip…we’re sorry we didn’t get to go too this year!). The Zeeffs were docked in Ft. Myers so they drove up to see us the Saturday after we arrived. They brought some warmth from further south with them and we had a great time trekking out to the island with them, hanging out on the boat and taking them into town to O’Maddy’s for lunch.

We were super sad to say goodbye to them as we knew they were heading across Lake Okeechobee as soon as they got decent weather (and the water maker) to make their way south for a Bahamas crossing. So, on a whim a couple of days later the girls and I hopped in the car when we were done with school work and drove down to Ft. Myers to spend the day with them. They were docked on Ft. Myers Beach so we went across to the beach and played in the powdery sand and flew kites.

After some hang out time on their boat we checked out their pool and then headed to dinner before we really did have to say goodbye. Our plan is make our way across Lake Okeechobee and meet up with them on the east coast of FL after they are back from the Bahamas!

When we weren’t driving to Ft. Myers to see the Zeeffs or Clearwater to see the Wilsons we got to see Gabi and John right there in Madeira Beach. We kept super busy our first week in town. Gabi and John have a lovely heated pool so when the sun was shining on Sunday we headed over. Gabi took the girls for a swim and then we took a walk on the beach.

The girls and I also got the bikes out and zipped around the neighborhood and Molly was welcomed into the Grades 6-12 craft night at the library. I was proud of her that she wanted to go. Our girls are the best of friends but they are both often nervous to do anything alone. Molly was excited and didn’t let herself get worked up over it. We had to leave our visit with the Wilsons to make it in time and she was determined. In she went and she had a blast. They made adorable key chains out of clay. They even used a toaster oven at the library to bake them and applied glaze.

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