Wow it has been a busy few days so I have some catching up to do. We spent an extra day at anchor up in Pass-a-Grill / Egmont key. Steve went in the cold water to clean prop and bottom of boat; found it is much harder to stay down in the salty water than it was back in Offats. We had a relaxing day Steve made a fabulous dinner (using every pan on the boat, guess who had cleanup duty!). Thursday by 8 AM we were on our way out of the anchorage. Glad that we have the wash down pump now as the last 2 times at anchor it has been mud to wash of , not sand that just fell off. We motor sail out into the Gulf with just the jib out, by 9:30 we turn south and we have 20 knot winds on the beam , have 1 reef in the jib full main and cruising down the gulf at 8+ knots. A few more clouds today BUT still a beautiful day. By 3 we are docked at the Crows Nest Marina in Venice. Great little place and town. They have free "bikes" we can use so we peddle into "downtown" Venice - missing our former bikes the whole time we are riding. All kinds of little shops, but since we just got rid of everything we are not in the buying market - still hard not to look! We did get a little 20 minute shower early that evening but we are sure enjoying our run of great luck with the weather so far. We meet another sailing couple Jeff and Jean on a 51' ketch with a 7' draft, 70' mast . (http://www.twocansail.com/) So we get all kinds of local and beyond knowledge from them as to where we can go that we will "fit". They are planning on heading to the keys around the same time we should be so hope to meet up with them again. Friday 4/16 we have a sunrise departure from Venice-
We have a great sail down to Charlotte Harbor and by noon we are entering the channel. Have to motor up the channel but once in and turn north towards Punta Gorda we put the sails back up and are doing 9+ knots with a reefed jib. We make contact with friends Richard and Joanne Collins who we are going to visit and they are just ahead of us returning from their own few days out cruising to a marina at a near by Island. Richard had sent us the info on how to get to their rental house / dock as they will leave their boat at the local yacht club they belong to so we can keep our boat behind their house. By 3 we are tied up at their dock.
Later that night we go to dinner and watch another fabulous sunset, Life is good.
Will continue the Punta Gorda update on next blog BUT as you can see I have received some very helpful tips from Richard on how to do my blog postings :)