Saturday, February 6, 2016

Anchoring in the Manatee

Since we got back from Christmas life has not been very exciting.  We spent 9 days working on boat projects while at the Davis Island marina in Tampa and walking 4 miles every day to take off the pounds we accumulated in Arizona.

Onn Jan 10th Harry took the boat back down to the Manatee River to anchor.  It only took him about 5 hours.  I drove the truck that Linda has loaned us.  So now here we are back between Bradenton and Palmetto.  Haven’t done much of anything exciting except walking every day, house hunting, and dinner out with Linda, our truck savior.

We had 2 events on the same night that were a trouble.  We had been gone all afternoon one day only to come back and find the dinghy caught under the dock.  I mean really caught.  The motor was jammed up under the boards that hold the dock up.  We spent a very frustrating hour trying to get it out with Harry even going into the yucky water to work on it but there was no getting it out. (Wish I had taken a picture).   Low tied was not for 2 hours and then we would have to wait another 2 hours.  So at 5pm we left in the truck, got food and went to Linda’s to hold up til the tide went down.  She is such a gracious host.  At close to 10 PM we finally got the dinghy freed but completely full of water to the point off pouring over the sides.  We have one little bilge pump (looks like a bicycle pump) to pump out so Harry pumped for half an hour.  Got back to the boat just as the rain started. 
At 3:15 AM I awoke because of the horrible storm going on outside with extremely high winds and rain.  My phone said tornado warnings, take cover.  I thought, ok what will we do:  take our dinghy to shore in 60 mile/hr winds and heavy rain or just stay put and hope we don’t end up in Kansas.  Bottom line is we did just fine, our wonderful CQR anchor that people make fun of held great.  It was very scary though.  Harry slept through most of it, finally waking up after the tornado threat was gone in our area but there were 4 touch downs in Sarasota and one west of us. 

The last week has been really cold to the point that we finally got our propane heater out to take the chill off.  So glad we have lots of blankets, sweatshirts etc to keep us warm.  This is not supposed to be happening in Florida.

So here we sit in the Manatee River walking every day, searching for a home on dirt, talking about a trip to Cuba before it gets nuts and Harry working on getting his business back up to par and visiting with a lot of old friends who live around here. 

On January 31 we found a home in Venice, Fl with all the old folks in a 55 and over community.  Harry was not excited about living with “old people” but when we found this huge community with 3 pools, 200 activities and a house we loved.  That was it.  These are manufactured homes which we could rent since we really don’t know where we want to permanently settle.  We can spend a year enjoying Venice and getting to know the area and then if we like where we are, we can buy.  So once again we will be living on dirt.  Venice is such a cute town with a ton of things to do and very close to the gulf and beautiful beaches.  We love the downtown.
View of downtown Venice
Another view.  It's amazing we are ending up where my Mom and Dad retired way back in the 70's.

Just another street view of Venice.  There are no empty stores and the town is extremely busy with all the snowbirds.

Our new house.  It have 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, 3 screened in porches and an extra room for Harry's office.  Also a big back yard that the park mows, not us, Yea.

  The fun or scary part is we don’t have a lick of furniture.   We have been to 13 furniture places, mostly consignment shops being overwhelmed with choices and decisions to make.  We have found out we both don’t like the same things so the word compromise keeps coming up.  It’s fun to think we will have all new furniture but scary as hell as to making decisions and paying for it.
The next month will be very busy trying to clean out the boat, get the house set up and buying a car. Yuk.  Harry's sister and husband are coming to Florida for 3 weeks in March so that will keep us busy plus we know they will be helping us move in.  Pay back since in 1974 we helped them move into the house they still live in. 

We will be doing some boating things, like an anchoring out weekend with the SSCA folks up near St. Pete and then taking the boat down to the Venice area.  Not sure what we will do with Sea Schell but somewhere in the near future, sadly, we will have to get her ready to sell.  It’s been 14 years and that’s long enough.  It’s time for a new chapter in our lives.


  1. great pictures Harry and Melinda. I hope we get to chat or see each other soon. Had a lot of fun with family for xmas. Amelie our granddtr is a blast. she warms up the room in an instant. Kelly is due again in September so will be making a trip to Belgium to help out. Will keep in touch.

  2. Hi Harry & Melinda, congrats on "living on dirt" again! Your house looks really nice. We'll be in Tampa on Feb. 17 for a couple weeks (making a road trip to Delray Beach too) and I will try calling you to see if we could rendezvous. Son in Law's relative lives in Bradenton. Joyce & Carl

  3. Yes, all boating things do come to an end. But we will always cherish our trips, the different cultures we were able to experience. New friends we made!! Best of luck, when you get settled in, call us, will pop in to see you and you can come visit, we have spare bedroom.