Egmont Key

What a beautiful January day! 83 degrees with magnificent sun!

Today, we went out sailing with our friends, Lynn and Steve Simons. We left the docks at the Marina around 10 a.m. and made our way out the Manatee River. Upon hitting the bay, we found 14-15 knots of wind out of the ESE, raised the mainsail and the genoa and cut through the water at almost 7 knots. Egmont key is a 300 acre island which guards the entrance to Tampa Bay. It has been on our wish list to visit since starting sailing, but the time was not right until today. We made our way to the anchorage on the SE side of the island and dropped anchor in approximately 10 feet of water. After putting out 70′ of all chain road and feeling comfortable that we were not at risk of dragging anchor, we settle in for lunch. Steve and Lynn had brought along some Cubans and Crab Rolls from Brocato’s sandwich shop in Tampa. What a delicious meal (especially the crab roll!)

Barry and Steve chatting on the trampolines/bow while the autopilot does the work.

Steve and Lynn assisting with dousing the mainsail.

We all got into the dinghy, our 12′ Caribe rigid bottom inflatable powered by a 15 hp Yamaha outboard. After covering the approximate 1 mile distance up the eastern side of the water (and nearly grounding our dinghy in about a foot of water) we pulled up onto the beach to explore. I was pleasantly surprised at how many interesting sights there were. After a couple of hours we made our way back to Beatitude and made the 2 hour journey back to the marina. At the risk of jinxing myself with overconfidence, today’s leaving and arriving at the dock/slip went off without a hitch and was as smooth as could be.

The crew (Lynn, Steve, and Cindy) enjoying the dinghy ride.

The four of us in front of the Egmont Key Lighthouse, built in 1858.

One of the many Gopher Tortoises seen on the island.

An unexpected find… A civil war cemetery. All but two died of yellow fever or typhoid fever. Two died of gunshot wounds (one a “civilian and union sympathizer”). An adjacent cemetery contained the remains of Spanish-American war casualties, Seminole Indians, and family members of the lighthouse keeper.

Our beautiful home – Beatitude.

We finished off the day with fish tacos, fish and chips, and lobster corn chowder at Riverhouse Reef and Grill. I’m happy, tired, and sore!

Sunset back at the marina.