Monday, December 5, 2011

Friday to Sunday, December 2-4, 2011

We had beautiful weather all weekend, sunshine and blue skies, mid to high 70s during the day and 60s at night.  On Friday, Joe and I took the dinghy into the marina and Bill picked us up, then he and Eileen took us to one of their favorite restaurants for lunch.  We stopped for a few necessities, then headed to a quiet waterfront bar where we had happy hour.

The view when we headed back out to Paradise in the dinghy.

On Saturday morning, we discovered that a fresh water hose had gotten disconnected (probably jostled loose during our crossing) and 300+ gallons of water had been emptied into the bilge and pumped out into the ICW, leaving us with no fresh water.  So we took Paradise to the municipal marina in Clearwater to fill our tanks.  When we came back to Dunedin, we decided to anchor on the east side of the channel, closer to the marina, so that we'd have a good spot to watch the annual Christmas boat parade.
For dinner, I made a black rye bread recipe from Beard on Bread and we had it with the oysters that we bought in Apalachicola--OMG everything was so good!  We bought the last pint of fresh oysters in the store that day we were in Apalachicola; someone else had come in earlier and bought a dozen pints--that must have been some party they were throwing.  I sure wish we could have gotten more because we've never had fresh shucked oysters that good.

We had front row seats for the boat parade and it was a good one.  There were probably 30 boats that started out at Marker 1 marina then cruised past us to the Dunedin marina where there was live music and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
Our inexpensive camera couldn't capture how pretty they all looked, but you can get an idea.

On Sunday morning, this sailboat cruised on by.  I'll bet it has an interesting history.

Around noon we dinghied into the marina and Bill picked us up.  He and Eileen went out for brunch and let us use his car to do some running around.  We discovered a seafood store we'd never seen before and bought grouper and smoked fish spread--our two favorite things to eat when we're here. 
When we got back to Paradise, we discovered a sailing school circling it with students that looked to be 7 or 8 years old on up to maybe 14 or 15.  The boats were not much bigger than a bathtub and the kids were all adorable.  Three or four power boats held the instructors who shouted instructions to the student sailors. 
We immediately set up happy hour on the aft deck to watch them and enjoyed our excellent fish spread with crackers and Coronas.  I think I died and went to heaven!

I started dinner as the sun went down; I made chopped salad and mashed garlic potatoes and Joe sauteed grouper and made a quick lemon pan sauce.  We decided that it was probably the best and freshest grouper we've ever had. 

Tomorrow, we'll move into the Dunedin marina for a month.  Then we'll be able to start using our folding bicycles to get around.  The marina is located just two blocks from historic downtown Dunedin, three blocks from the beautiful Pinellas County bike trail that runs all the way from St. Petersburg to Tarpon Springs, and about eight blocks from the Dunedin public library. I can't wait to get out and spend time exploring the places we haven't seen in two years.

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