Tuesday proved to be a promising travel day and we left the anchorage at Egmont Key soon after enjoying our apple and walnut-studded oatmeal.
Once across the mouth of Tampa Bay, we entered the narrow channel that makes up the ICW north of Sarasota. This is a very populated coastline and though it was a chilly weekday, folks in kayaks, paddle boards, sailboats, and small fishing boats enjoyed the beautiful water and sunshine.
At Sarasota Bay the navigable water widened and we could maintain a constant speed across. South of Sarasota the ICW again narrows as it winds along the coast in a well-marked and well-protected channel.
After a long day of cruising, we reached Charlotte Harbor and headed east 10 miles towards Punta Gorda. We hoped to reach Burnt Store Marina before sunset, but manatee zones and bridge opening schedules delayed us. The waning light on the water in Charlotte Harbor was beautiful as dozens of dolphins fed on the fish around us.
The approach to the marina is well lit by a flashing red marker and we left it to starboard as we picked our way through the dark into the channel. The harbormaster had given us a slip number earlier in the day and we found it easily in the light from the docks and the stars. We tied up and washed down the hull and deck, removing the salt from our Gulf crossing two days before. We were tired and happy to have made another 84 miles into warm weather. We were so close to Sanibel Island that we could almost taste the grouper sandwiches at Gramma Dot’s.