It was time to say goodbye for now to Gulfport. It was a fantastic 2.5 months and really felt like home. One final sunrise over the gorgeous pool and a final picture of our slip.
Our dinghy was in the water and needed to be hoisted so I stayed on the dock while Ben pulled the boat around to the t-head so I could catch lines and tie the boat up there. Low and behold the drama of moving the boat started right then and there. Ben went to hoist the dinghy and the crane wouldn’t lower at all. Seems that while it sat still doing nothing the cable bound up on itself. The first option was to stay put…but we had done that for so long already. I was really not interested in that option. Second was to try to fix it. Ben tackled it right away but to no avail. It wouldn’t budge. Third option was to tow the dinghy. Feeling somewhat frustrated and discouraged, Ben hooked up our tow line and off we went.
It was a beautiful day to cross Tampa Bay and the dinghy did just fine being towed. Once across the bay we pulled up to a restaurant dock and met a fuel truck there. It was a ton cheaper to get fuel that way. The guy just dragged the hose down the dock and fueled us up and we were on our way.
We took the ICW to Venice and stopped at a marina right on the inlet. Not ideal for a calm night but we wanted to be right by the beach and the inlet if we decided to run outside the next day. As soon as we got tied up and settled the girls and I hit the beach. It was a wild day on the Gulf. Huge surf and crazy winds. I was on a hunt for shark’s teeth. This beach is known for them. I searched and searched but didn’t find a single one. The girls took turns running and jumping down the sand ridge and then Molly got right in the waves. Maddy was more tentative. I asked Molly how strong the current was since they were not in life vests and I was not in the water with them. Too chilly for me. The water was super shallow except when a wave came in so I held my breath and kept a close eye on them. They had a blast jumping the waves and watching the surfers.
After getting back to the boat we took the dinghy over to this little island right across from the marina. Molly was chilled from the wind and water so we took a quick walk around and headed back to the boat for dinner. The next morning before heading out I walked into town to stop by the post office and stumbled upon a fabulous farmer’s market. Downtown Venice is adorable and I wished we had a day to spend there but we had our sites set on Cayo Costa and anchoring for a couple of nights so I took a quick walk around town, stocked up on lots of goodies at the farmer’s market and walked back to the marina lugging everything I bought. After enjoying croissants and cinnamon rolls we took the dinghy on a brief run out into the Gulf. It was smooth and calm but had big swells so we decided the ICW with all it’s weekend boaters throwing huge wakes was likely better for those of us who hate swells! We untied lines and headed up the ICW to Cayo Costa. I’m glad we had a quick stopover in Venice and look forward to spending more time there at some point.