So long Sarasota…

Yesterday we woke to bright sun and a much lighter wind that had shifted to the NE. We dropped the lines to mooring ball #99 and motored into Marina Jack’s fuel dock to replenish our water tanks and to fill with fuel. (We confirmed that Prairie Dog‘s engines burn just under 2 gallons of fuel/hour.) And then we departed Sarasota after 17 days on a mooring ball.

I love Sarasota, the town. I love its parks, its little restaurants (though we don’t eat out often), its small shops (though neither of us “shop”), its more diverse population (in comparison to other areas of Florida we frequent). Flying in and out of the regional airport is a piece of cake, and we discovered Uber works great in the area. I don’t love its traffic: vehicles and boats abound and it seems both are always in a hurry. And after this year, we’ve discovered that we really don’t like Sarasota’s mooring field.

We’ve been to Sarasota twice before, but our last visit was 3 years ago when the mooring field was still “new.” Both times we were assigned mooring balls near shore on the SE side of the field where we had protection from the NW. Today the field is well populated with “permanent” local boats and there are just 3 mooring balls available to “month-long” transients. Those balls are alongside the entrance channel to Marina Jack’s, next to the “no wake” signs we discovered are are rarely obeyed. Prairie Dog rolled so violently with wakes thrown by boats speeding in and out of the channel, we quickly learned to keep loose items and all cupboard door “travel locks” secured. Not exactly pleasant sitting on the fly bridge in the early evening when one has to grab their drink in one hand and hold on with the other as the boat is tossed violently from side to side!

I flew back to the boat on Monday afternoon. A cold front was coming through with strong NW winds (direction we were very exposed) mid-week that we decided to “ride out” and so we were boat-bound a couple of days: too rough to comfortably get back and forth in our dinghy. We had learned from experience that weekends are really bad in the mooring field, rolling wakes from daybreak to after dark. And so we made our escape: Friday looked good for getting south to Englewood where we could anchor for the night, then move on to the Don Pedro anchorage where we are more protected and I can paddle the mangroves again.

Funny: the cruising guides talk about wakes from the ICW in the Englewood anchorage, but that it calms down at night. We can report those wakes are NOTHING like we’ve experienced over the past 2-1/2 weeks in the Sarasota mooring field. Sad, because I really do like Sarasota…

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