On May 16, nine boats with 17 intrepid boaters from the Cape Coral Power Squadron took off on their annual "Long Cruise and Rendezvous trip." This year's two-week trip stayed on Florida's west coast - Longboat Key, St. Petersburg, Tampa and Sarasota.
On Monday we motored to Longboat Key's Moorings for a three-day stay. During the afternoon we reconnoitered and enjoyed an afternoon in the pool. As usual, cocktails were dockside everyday at 5 p.m. On that day they were followed by grilled steaks, baked potatoes and salad.
Tuesday and Wednesday were spent lounging, exploring (by bike, shuttle or foot), and enjoying the resort's amenities. Tuesday evening we dined at "Portofino's," Longboat Key's restaurant at the docks. Wednesday's dinner was "on your own."
Thursday morning we departed for St. Petersburg and the Vinoy Resort. We couldn't have planned a better weekend to be there. Unknown to us when we made plans, we were fated to be there to celebrate "The Taste of Pinellas." The festival and most of the events took place in the area adjacent to marina. Thursday we dined dockside on pulled pork, salads and cream pies. Friday we went to "Taste of Pinellas" which was held at Vinoy Park (just half a block from the marina). In addition to all the different foods, entertainment consisted of Josh Turner, Chris Isaak and Bonnie Raitt. Saturday's activities started out with a 5K run (which started by the marina at the Vinoy). Since our own Paul Moses runs every day, we convinced him to participate in the 5K run. We all showed up to cheer Paul on and he didn't let us down - he came in second in his age group (due to the great coaching by Ken Partsch). Had Paul known who his competition was, we are sure he would have put on a burst of speed and won his category. He was only 8 seconds behind the winner.
In the afternoon, there was a parade that passed directly in front of the marina on its way to the park. We had front row seats on our boats and enjoyed watching. Saturday's dinner was "on our own." Later that evening we watched an exceptional fireworks display. We sat on our boats and had the best view of the fireworks of anyone around.
Sunday we set off for Tampa.
In Tampa we stayed at the Marriott Waterside near downtown Tampa. Sunday we investigated the resort, its surroundings and had white chicken chili dinner dockside. On Monday we rode the streetcar to investigate Florida's Aquarium, Tampa's History Center, Channelside Seaport and Ybor City. In the evening, after dockside cocktails, we all rode the streetcar to the end of the line in Ybor City and the Columbia restaurant. Our reservations were "down front' and included a flamenco dancer show. Not only was the food superb, but we had great entertainment, too! Tuesday we continued to explore and had dinner 'on our own." Since the musical "Hair" was opening some of the crew took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the play. Wednesday morning we departed for Sarasota and our last stop before heading home.
In Sarasota we stayed at the Sarasota Hyatt. We've been here before several times and always enjoyed their pool with waterfall. That evening we walked a block to the Hotel Indigo for dinner and all enjoyed themselves. Thursday was a communal dinner again with spaghetti and meatballs. As usual the food was great. All our communal meals were homemade at the marina and everyone pitched in. We each had a portion of the meal to make and then everything was brought together to form a great meal and we enjoyed the sense of teamwork this gave us.
Friday morning we headed home to Cape Coral with thoughts of next year's "long C&R." We're considering a trip to the middle and smaller keys since we went to the east coast and Key West last year.
The Cape Coral Power Squadron is a unit of the U.S. Power Squadron, a non-profit boating safety organization. Our primary mission is to promote recreational boating safety through education, civic activities and social events. We can be contacted at our office at 917 S.E. 47th Terrace, Cape Coral. The office is open Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon, or call for information at 239-549-9754.