Thursday, May 21, 2009

And….They’re Off! Starting Out at Egmont Key

This posting is nearly two weeks late, but we’ve just gotten internet access. We left the dock on Thursday, May 7th, and had a nice sail to Egmont Key. Dolphin and turtle sightings! Egmont is at the mouth of Tampa Bay, and it’s a great place to spend some time. On a good day it can look just like the Caribbean, as you can see in this picture that we took a few years ago. Access is only by boat; there’s a ferry that will bring you over if you don’t have your own boat. The water was beautifully clear (for Tampa Bay, that is, which is pretty clear, but still lots of stuff floating around) and warm, and we swam each of the three days we were there. Snorkeling is good on the gulf side of the island. Old gun emplacements have been inundated, and they now lie off of the beach. The rubble attracts lots of fish, especially small ones (we saw baby barracudas that were so cute!). Although weekend days it can be crowded with lots of small (and large) powerboats pulled right into the shore, and people wading about in the water, by dusk most of them have gone home, and only a few boats stay for the night. Peaceful! Actually, peaceful is a relative word, because a large portion of the island is a breeding bird sanctuary, and the sound of thousands of birds can get quite raucous. And I tell you, you don’t want to be close to shore when you’re downwind, because the smell is far from pleasant. But we prefer the sound and smell of birds to those of jet skis and diesel fuel, so it was peaceful by our terms. You can see from the pictures that we had a beautiful moonrise one night, and a great sunrise on the day of our departure.

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