It is forty-eight statute miles from the Robert’s Bay anchorage at Siesta Key to the state park on Cayo Costa. Dolphins chased and leapt through our wake as “Arkansas Traveler” cut through the open waters of Lemon Bay, Gasparilla Sound, and Charlotte Harbor. The remainder of the seven hour cruise wound through residential areas and manatee zones.
“Arkansas Traveler” requires a 19 foot clearance to safely pass under bridges and generally has no trouble along the Intracoastal Waterway. Today, however, there were two swing bridges and one bascule bridge that required opening for us to pass. We call ahead on the VHF (the bridges generally use their own channels) as we approach the bridge and the operator happily stops traffic to let boats through. Some bridges only open on a set schedule. Today we met both types.