75 Tarpon Springs, FL to Palmetto, FL

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One 4′ x 4′ x 4′ storage room swallowed 80% of our stuff carried on Tranquility. Storage room is somewhat of a misnomer. It’s actually a chain link fence enclosing a 4′ cube of space inside a huge storage building. I felt a little sad as I swung the fence gate closed and saw our possessions suddenly looking just like other junk in other chain link storage cages. We’ll go without bikes, some clothes we rarely wear and other stuff until April. Then it will be interesting to see what gets thrown out instead of moved onto the new boat.

We had waited until after sea trials on the Endeavour TrawlerCat 36 before we put our stuff in storage. Then we found a Greek restaurant overlooking the water in Tarpon Springs for a celebration dinner and to reflect on the course change we just made in our lives.

It had been an ideal sea trial day. Our host was Endevour’s Sales Manager Rob Vincent. We were immediately impressed with the TrawlerCat’s maneuvering ability as Rob got us off a face dock with very little clearance to the next boats. Tampa Bay had a nice 2-3′ chop with occasional 5 footers as passing boats made for confused lumpy seas. It was a lousy day for boating, but ideal conditions for finding out how our new boat will perform in less-than-perfect conditions. Rob let us take the helm, and we tried the TrawlerCat at all angles to the waves and at all speeds from drifting in idle to full throttle. We liked the feel. Our only surprise was the hydraulic steering. It was not as responsive as Tranquility’s.

As the sun set over the sponge boats at Tarpon Springs our Greek dinner was consumed unnoticed as we talked over all the day’s events. We went over all the details of the sea trials, reviewed what we’d ordered, and discussed boat options we were still uncertain about ordering. Most of all we made sure we were positive we wanted to make the commitment buying a new boat implied. We confirmed we’d be very happy continuing being boat people living a nomadic life afloat.

Morning brought a new reality. First we noticed Tranquility was riding 2 inches higher out of the water. That stuff we off-loaded weighed more than we realized. Then we became aware of all the little things we needed to do to get her ready to sell. We had a lot of clean up work ahead of us.

Thanksgiving brought a break from our cleanup work. We rented a car again and headed to Vero Beach and many reunions. A few days earlier Tom and Judee from Cheshire Cat met us in Tarpon Springs. They were traveling in their alternative yacht–an Airstream motor home named Ratherbe. They “tied up” at the shore facilities of the marina for a few nights. They were kind enough to provide us with our first ride in a large land yacht–nice ride and great visibility forward, but not quite like riding on the water. Now at Vero Beach we met up with Laurent and Judy from Blitzen and Dick and Sheila from Patriot. We had an all- too- short a time swapping notes about each other’s cruising adventures.

Cindy and Mike made Thanksgiving extra special. At the last minute they decided to drive down and spend the holiday visiting Grandma and us. It was a great time. Always being water people, we couldn’t resist renting a pontoon boat and taking them out on the ICW looking for dolphin and manatee. We had a great time exploring. Mike even ran us aground. He and I had an interesting time getting off and finding deep water again. Mike makes a hell of a towboat. Luck was with us and just before the rental was up we spotted a dolphin and found manatees in one of the canals. However, in the fading light all we could see was their noses as they came up for air.

Thanksgiving was a time for other changes. Jim and Doreen are building on Doreen’s years of assisted living work and are starting an assisted living home. We helped Ruth’s mom move in with them and celebrated the first Thanksgiving together in their new home.

When we got back to Tarpon Springs we found our itch to move overriding our love of Greek food and further exploration of this once thriving sponge fishing community. We slipped our lines on an outgoing tide and headed for the mouth of the river. There in the shelter of an island we dropped the anchor and spent the remainder of the day and night enjoying being on the water again.

One look at all the bridges between Tarpon Springs and Tampa Bay convinced us to take the outside route. We headed to St Petersburg and anchored out just outside the marina where Endeavour keeps the demo TrawlerCat. Rob left it open for us one evening, and we spent a few hours checking out the lighting and getting a better feel for the boat. Now we are really eager for our April delivery date.

Tranquility is now tucked into a marina in Palmetto, FL for a month. We’ve been busy cleaning and taking care of more of those little things we were always going to get to but never did. We take off shortly for Rochester, NY and other points north to spend the holidays with our kids, meet our first grandchild and to visit friends.

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