12-30-09 Clearwater…yet again

[Rick] We finally got a decent day, weather-wise. A little chilly in the morning but the afternoon was very nice. We decided to untie the Rick ‘N Roll and go for a short ride to check out the gulf and look for dolphins. We went for about 15 miles up the west coast. We did see dolphins and got to see the beach from the gulf. You will recall that when we first arrived at Clearwater Beach the fog was so thick we couldn’t enjoy the coastline. Today was beautiful and clear and we had a delightful ride. We saw several parasailers and tour boats.

This weekend, Northwestern University and Auburn University will slug it out in the Outback Bowl. The teams, along with their cheerleaders and bands, had a beach day today. They played volley ball, created sand sculptures, tug-o-war, and had cheerleading contests. In general, a fun day, with the team fans on the beach to urge them on. This provided an informal way for the fans to see the team.

We returned to the marina, tied up, and walked to the beach and Pier 60. The pier and surrounding beach area is full of arts and crafts vendors and buskers. Because of the bowl game, the holidays, and the great weather today, the beach is very crowded. So are the restaurants! We’ve noticed in the last couple of days that there are long lines at most of the restaurants. Therefore, we went to dinner at 4:30 today to beat the crowd! Can you say "Earlybird"?

Walking back to the boat, we enjoyed a spectacular sunset.

Tomorrow, we go to look at another possible larger boat. Wish us luck…


  1. Hello; I hope you don't mind, but I have been "eavesdropping" on your Great Loop Story. I see that you are looking for a bigger boat in which to redo the loop. I don't know how much attention the issue of Asian Carp is getting outside of the Chicago area, but several states are suing Illinois to permanently close off the Great Lakes from the Illinois waterways. This may be the last year of the Great Loop unless an alternative way to separate these ecosystems can be found.

  2. We have been following the suits against Illinois and Chicago. It is a very difficult situation. I understand that the fishing industry will be hurt, but so will the barge and transportion industry. If they close the locks, they will have to build a new "big chute" to transport boats over the "carp crap". It also seems that Chicago using over 2 billion gallons of water each day is a huge part of the suits. Very tough issue. Rick