The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Smoked Mullett & Dog Races???

Lately Carrie and I have felt a bit like Charlie Brown, where the storm cloud seems to follow him around.  For the last several weeks it seems like every time we get to a warmer port, the weather god’s know we’re there and send in a cold front.  Clearwater was no exception.   When we arrived there on Tuesday it was about 78 degrees and sunny.  
We rented a car on Wednesday, and along with Fred and Julaine from Boreas, backtracked to the neat little town of Tarpon Springs.  It is a Greek community, and they still free dive for sponges as their ancestors in Greece had done for centuries.  The town is full of great restaurants.  On a tip from Ron and Jan we ate lunch at Dimitri’s and left there stuffed and happy.  We started cruising the shops, but within an hour or so a cold wind came up and blew a rainstorm into town.  We were in tee shirts, shorts and flip flops.  We toughed it out for a while, but were soon ready to head back to the boats.
Wednesday night the wind howled through the marina, the temperature dropped and Thursday morning was little better.  We decided to stick around for another day, but by noon the wind had dropped off quite a bit.  Since we only had 30 miles or so to go to St. Petersburg we decided to follow Boreas down there.  We slipped the lines at about 1:00 PM and were at Maximo Marina by 4:30.  Jan and Ron from Jolly Tolly met us on the fuel dock.  Their boat will call Maximo home through the third week of January as they take time off to return home for the holidays.  Once Around will be here through the first week of January.  Boreas left for ports south the following day.
The house of the day...

Carrie said this cormorant was in attack mode!

The approach into Maximo Marina
Jan and Ron had rented a car and offered to show us the sites.  Now, I’m sure St. Petersburg has much to offer, but our first night out with the Jolly Tolly crew was, shall we say, interesting.  Ron has a favorite local restaurant called “Crab Shack” that specializes in Smoked Mullet.  He says he’s brave enough every other year to try it, as he says it sort of “sticks with you” for a few days.  Of course, I make him order before me to make sure he’s not setting me up and was surprised when he actually ordered it.  Now, with my courage in question, I had no alternative but to follow suit.  Having done so, I now think it must be an acquired taste.  Maybe I’ll try it again in a couple of years!
The "tasteful" decor of The Crab Shack!

And Captain Ron with the "tasty" evidence!

And of course, not to be outdone...

But, our Georgia tour guides were just getting started.  We left the Crab Shack and headed for their next haunt, Derby Lane, the dog racing track!  What the heck, when in Rome…
It didn’t take our Admirals long to get into the swing of things.  Jan and Carrie had great fun betting on the dogs.  Carrie actually won her second bet, and if she had listened to my suggestion, she would have won big with the Trifecta.  Still, that little taste of winning and the two girls had a blast for several more races.  Ron and I had a couple of rum and cokes and started betting on which of the dog handlers would win their sprint down the track to retrieve the greyhounds.  I was sure I had picked the right guy, but he finished out of the money the first two times and scratched after that!  I had to buy the drinks.
We returned to the boats Friday night laughing about our meal and the night at the races.  Can’t wait to see what our tour guides come up with later in the weekend!


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