Thursday, August 4th – Crystal River, FL
The Sea Hag Marina in Steinhatchee had a great weather station set up for boaters to check radar…we were in there early looking at their terminal. It showed greens and yellows right off the coast from where we were. So, we did not get in a big hurry. Pedaled our bikes to the Bridge End Restaurant for breakfast. We did not have cell service for a couple of days, so Dave found a spot on top of the bridge by the restaurant where he was able to get enough service to check the home answering machine. Rode by the house on the water that we’d spent some time looking at the night before. We met the owner, Doug last night, an older gentleman, who was anxious to tell us of his many sailing adventures. He had actually bought his boat many years ago in Charlevoix, MI and sailed it to California. We enjoyed hearing his stories…and his place was interesting…
Untied MemoryMaker from the slip about 10:00. Our ride down the Gulf was a little bumpy at first…not too bad, waves were less than 2 feet. But, about half way down, it got even smoother and turned out to be a very pleasant ride. The only real obstacle we ran into was floating seaweeds out in the water. It was like cut grass…way out in the Gulf…several miles out…big huge patches of it.
Took us about 4 hours to make the run down to Crystal River. From marina to marina, it was 98 miles. We have now traveled 4,452 miles since we left Jacksonville 13 weeks ago. The entrance into Crystal River is about a 10 mile run from the mouth of the Gulf. You actually travel through the Homosassa River to get into the Crystal River. As we were heading toward the marina, we dropped an anchor, jumped off the boat, and enjoyed a swim in the refreshing cold, clear water.
We tied up in Crystal River at Pete’s Pier Marina on their fuel dock. It’s really not a transient type of marina. They cater to local boaters…but this is the only marina close enough for us to be able to get our bikes off and explore the town area. Crystal River has turned out to be one of Barbara’s favorite places along the way. The homes are gorgeous. There are some wide canals and the water is fresh water. This area, including Carrabelle and Steinhatchee, is considered Florida’s Nature Coast. There are lots of birds; Crystal River is also a manatee sanctuary…more than 30 streams fed into the river. We did not make it up to any of the springs but rode the bikes along the water while we were exploring. Several times, we were able to see the sandy bottom through the clear water. It would be great to live here along this water and be able to jump into clear fresh water to cool off.
Found a great place for dinner. Biked for a while…ran into a couple of guys who had their sail boats anchored nearby. Turned out one of them, William Good, is a performer and author of several books (“By the Light of the Lighter Pines”) about old Florida. Enjoyed chatting with him…looking forward to reading some of his short stories about Florida (www.lighterpines.com).