I wish we had a good excuse for not having updating this blog more frequently, but we don’t. So, here we go . . . a lot has happened! As I write this, April 2018, we are living in Denver, CO We decided to take a little time away from the boat, and go back to Colorado to do some skiing, see family and friends. So we have rented a “tiny” carriage house in the Denver area for the winter.
So here’s what we were doing in January 2017 . . .
We decided to spend a good part of the winter on the west coast of Florida, and settled on Longboat Key, which is across the bay from Sarasota. We spent three months there, along with a number of other Kadey Krogen’s, who spent anywhere from one month to four months there. We were lucky to be able to bring our car, which had been stored the previous summer and fall in a friend’s garage in Naples, north with us. This provided greatly enhanced mobility which allowed us to both, take full advantage of the nearby highlights and activities, as well as visiting nearby friends..
We left Fort Myers on News Year’s Day, along with Kadey Krogen 44 “Rachel”. We spent the night anchored off of Euseppa Island. We dropped our dinghy and had Cosmo’s aboard Rachel before running over to a funky, and only bar and restaurant on Cabbage Key for dinner. Let me tell you, George Lipscomb shakes up the BEST Cosmo! His secret – he uses gin and has the recipe down to a science. A fun evening with friends.
We arrived at Longboat Key Club Marina and Resort the next day, January 2nd. By marina standards, this marina is pretty posh in many respects. Although, the docks, which are over 20 years old, are definitely going to need some work soon, the staff and ambience are hard to beat. As we mentioned these are fixed, not floating docks and there is a relatively large tidal swing here. Getting on and off of the boat could be challenging at times, depending on the state of the tide. When it was fully out, we could be 3 feet below the dock! The finger (side) pier was a short one, so we had to go in stern first. The sterns on trawlers are much lower than the bows, so at times it was quite a drop to get onto the boat or steep climb to get off of the boat. The marina is part of the Longboat Key Club Resort. Therefore, no cash is exchanged. You are issued a membership card and you use that for all of the club facilities. These included five restaurants, a fitness club, several bars. Only golf was not included in the temporary membership for marina guests – I think we were probably considered not quite up to snuff ! The grounds were beautiful and there was a lovely Italian restaurant on site as well as a swimming pool, tennis courts/pickleball and a bocce ball court. If you wanted to use any of the other facilities, you had to drive, bike or take the shuttle about four miles to the main resort facilities and the Gulf beach. The resort provides a regular shuttle service to the main resort and to St. Armands Circle, if you had no transportation. St. Armands Circle is full of shops and restaurants to explore. The main resort has a very nice fitness center with many classes daily. We took advantage of several of the classes they held.
During our three-month stay we were certainly not idle! Two of our Kadey Krogen friends, Maria Rosa and her husband Roberto, became our unofficial social directors, and planned a number of events almost weekly. Trust us, we needed a vacation after we left Longboat Key. Once a month the resort held a lovely themed dinner which most of us would attend. We were able to arrange tables for our group. The dinners included dancing, great food and an open bar, all reasonably priced with an open bar. These events were the ONLY thing at the resort that was reasonably priced. If you didn’t want to end up with a huge tab at the end of the month, you had to be careful how often you pulled out your membership card for charges!
Our first group dinner was the “Snowflake Ball”. The room was decorated with sparkly snowflakes and white flowers. It was a fun evening and an opportunity to get dressed up and wear heels instead of flip flops! There was a band and they also hired some dance instructors for the evening. A fun time was had by all!
Next dinner dance, “Valentine’s Day”. Another opportunity to get dressed up. The room was decorated in red and white, roses, hearts, etc. Another great night of dancing, a steak and lobster dinner, good wine and of course, great Krogen friends to share the evening with. Then March brought a great evening of “Jazz under the Stars”. Tables were set up outside overlooking the marina. A great night with good music, friends, and yes – wine 🙂 Sorry, for some reason I don’t have a photo of this evening. It was really lovely, elegant and romantic.
The Longboat Key Resort organized dinner was “Jazz under the Stars”. We had a table outside on the lawn, where we were serenaded by a great Jazz Combo. A delicious buffet dinner was served, along with that open bar! We had great fun with our Krogen friends who still remained.
In between all of that, we managed to do a fun group outing to a polo match. We all dressed in white shirts, jeans and red cowboy hats and bandanas! No one can say we don’t have fun! Mark and I had a number of Breckenridge friends come for a visit while they were in the area, including Don and Diana Dettmering, Ralph and Lila Stair, Norm and Renee Stoller, Inna Germanotta and Pat and Jane Dewayne. We also drove the short distance to Sarasota and visited the Ringling Museum. Now that the “circus” is no more, it was even more interesting to see all of the wagons used in the parades and the train cars that carried the circus animals. They had a huge miniature circus grounds display showing all of the tents and housing areas for the animals and all of the people and what the behind scenes activity included. We also toured the residence of John Ringling. It wasn’t what we’d call a mansion in today’s standards, but it still was quite large and had to be a spectacular property in it’s day. It was situated right on the water with beautiful views. The inside of the house was very beautiful. One can only imagine the entertaining that went on there.
Probably one of the most enjoyable events while we were in Longboat Key was a “Murder Mystery Dinner” organized by a couple of our Krogen friends. Every attendee had a role to play with a detailed script about what their involvement/activities at the time of the murder. The goal was to solve who committed the murder by asking questions of your fellow guests. It was held in a private club house and, of course, the murder took place on a “yacht”. What a hoot this was! The desert cake was one of the 13 Red Velvet cakes I baked during our stay there. Each of the 13 was made from a slightly different recipe and served as taste test cakes for the wedding cake I was going to be making in May for Scott and Emily’s wedding in Colorado.
We also went to a fabulous movie theater that has the best lounge seating AND they serve dinner and drinks! This is the best way to watch a movie. Mark also had a little “Moh’s” surgery done on his nose while in the Sarasota area.
Oh, and how can I forget the time Pema decided to jump four feet from the caprail of our boat to the finger pier well above us, and failed . . . She was smart enough to cling to the concrete piling. I got our net that we keep for just this reason and tried to scoop her into it. It came apart and the net portion sunk! Luckily Pema was not in it or she would have drowned. So I did what any pet parent would do – I jumped in to save her. By this point she was swimming away from the boat (yes, cats can indeed swim, although I would say most do not like water). So, I swam to her. She was swimming away from our boat. I grabbed her and put her under my one arm and swam back towards our boat. She was so distraught, screamed and turned and latched onto my head! I managed to get her claws out of my head and get both of us back to the swim platform where Mark picked Pema up and I got myself out of the water . . . covered in blood from the scratches. I won’t show you the photos of my bloody head, but here’s what she did to my arm. After that incident, Mark made a “cat catcher” that we hang from the side of the boat in the water. Should one of the cats ever fall off again while we are at a dock or at anchor, they at least have something to latch onto. They still wouldn’t be able to get back on the boat without assistance.
For us, at the end of March we were making ready to head to the Abacos. We were so looking forward to getting to the beautiful clear blue water there. We made our way down the coast to Fort Myers and then up the Caloosahatchee river to Lake Okachobee. We were lucky with our timing. We were one of the last boats to cross the lake and get through the lock system to the east coast due to drought driven very low water. They actually closed the locks the next day. When our friends, who remained in Long Boat Key until the end of April, finally headed south, they were not able to cross the state via the canals/lake and had to work their way down and around the Florida Keys before starting their journey north. Not the worst thing to have happen. It just added two or three additional days t to their schedules.
We’re going to close this segment here. Next, we will be Bahamas bound . . . at last!
Until then, fair winds and following seas.
Mark & Pauline Masuhr (Ming & Pema, most excellent boat cats)