Epilogue – photographs of our last 3 weeks on Carina

We spent a few days in St Pete coming down off Cloud 9 and trying to decide what to do. It was comforting to be somewhere familiar after so many new and strange places.

Downtown St Petersburg

St Pete Marina, from the restaurant where we celebrated completing the Loop

One place in St Pete that we hadn’t visited first time around was the stunning Chihuly Collection of glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly.

Fiore
Morning at St Pete Municipal Marina

This lady paddling her windsurfer against the backdrop of the high-rise buildings reminded me of our Hongkong days and the sampans in the harbour there.

Our journey across Tampa Bay to Sarasota held no terrors for us this time, unlike the first occasion five years ago.

Sunshine Skyway Bridge
Sunshine Skyway Bridge

In Sarasota, we stayed on a mooring ball at Marina Jack’s.

Sarasota
Marina Jack, Sarasota, from our mooring ball
Evening light, Sarasota

We found a hidden gem, the Sarasota Garden Club.

Sarasota Garden Club
Euphorbia milii

Afterwards we wandered back through the town, and came across this ibis on the sidewalk, who was quite unconcerned about our presence.

Ibis
2nd St, Sarasota
Sarasota Public Library
Five Points Park Sarasota
Sarasota

After Sarasota, we followed the Intra-coastal Waterway down to Cayo Costa.

Approaching Cayo Costa
Evening at Cayo Costa
Waiting for the thunderstorm at Cayo Costa
Sunrise at Cayo Costa

From Cayo Costa we went on to Sanibel. It seemed more developed than when we first visited five years previously, and it was apparently too hot for the wildlife at JN Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The bike ride round the refuge and on to the beach was something of a struggle in the heat, but we managed it.

In the marina at Sanibel, we were transfixed when a family of manatees swam slowly past Carina. I was too mesmerised to even think of grabbing my camera.

Enjoying flying our Gold Looper burgee
Captiva Island
Arriving at Sanibel Marina
On the beach at Sanibel
The beach at Sanibel
J.N. Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

Next stop, the Fort Myers Beach City Mooring Field and a trollee(sic) ride to Lovers’ Key State Park.

Dawn at Fort Myers Beach mooring
Fort Myers Beach
The pier at Fort Myers Beach
Riding the trollee to Lovers’ Key
Lovers’ Key State Park
On the beach at Lovers’ Key
Estero Island from the mooring field

Opposite the mooring field was a fish restaurant and we decided to go there in the dinghy and moor on their dock. What we had failed to appreciate was the tidal range, and to our chagrin, ran aground in full view of the diners. Fortunately Ian’s efforts to refloat the dinghy were fairly quickly rewarded.

The Dixie Fish Company and Doc Ford’s, from the mooring field.
Evening at Fort Myers Beach
Sunrise at Fort Myers Beach
Entero Island at dawn

We had liked Cayo Costa and decided to go back and have another look.

Sanibel Causeway
Sanibel Causeway – pareidolia
Morning at Cayo Costa
The beach at Cayo Costa
Flowers on the beach

It was time to be heading towards Charlotte Harbor, where we were going to store Carina prior to selling her. From Burnt Store Marina we set off across Gasparilla Sound on our last journey.

Leaving Burnt Store, Gasparilla Sound

On our last night on the boat, an alligator came to visit.

At Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage

The following day, Carina was lifted out of the water and taken to a nearby storage facility, J & R Marine Services. We had about a week to get her ready for sale and our things packed. We couldn’t run the airconditioner and it was too hot to cook or sleep on the boat without it, so we stayed in a hotel for the last few nights.

View from the hotel balcony at night

We revisited Mill Dam and Juniper Springs, in the Ocala National Forest, north of Orlando. Last time had been in January, and there had been few other people there. This time, it was nearly summer and the day we went to Juniper Springs was a public holiday.

Mill Dam
Mill Dam
The little beach at Mill Dam
Juniper Springs

We left Carina looking clean, neat and tidy after our strenuous efforts over four days. Our hope is that she’ll have some new owners before too long, and that they’ll enjoy their time with her as much as we have.

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Postscript – Juniper Springs

Our breakfast at IHOP didn’t materialise, mainly because we didn’t pass an IHOP en route to Ocala National Forest, and we had to content ourselves with sausage sandwiches from the grocery/deli at Salt Springs, eaten in the car. At $1.99 it was value for money, at least.

Juniper Springs, within the forest, was magical. There was a swimming pool cut into the rock. It maintains a constant temperature of 70degrees throughout the year, and only the fact that my bathers were at the bottom of my suitcase stopped me going in.

The swimming pool at Juniper Springs

The swimming pool at Juniper Springs

The pool and the trails had been built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, part of Roosevelt’s New Deal programme. There was millwheel which regulated water in the pool and provided power.

The millwheel

The millwheel

Carolina jasmine growing through the trees

Carolina jasmine growing through the trees


Squirrel

Squirrel

? Indigo

? Indigo


Small fishes and one of the springs

Small fishes and one of the springs


And finally…..
Turtles

Turtles

Turtles!