Saturday, April 26, 2014

4/23/14-4/26/14: Tarpon Springs to Dunedin: 20 NM

Baby Jaws: I need a smaller boat.

After two nights at anchor off of Anclote Key, a sailor friend I met in Biloxi encouraged me to see Tarpon Springs if I hadn't already.  Why not?  So I caught an incoming tide to help me up the Anclote River.  I docked at the Tarpon Springs city marina and hit the town on foot.  What quickly caught my attention of this nice quaint town was FOOD!, and history of course.  This town is dominated by sponges and everything Greek.  It grew up on the sponge harvesting industry in its early years and is now a prominent tourist attraction driven heavily on its Greek heritage.  And the food, what can I say, it is wonderful.  I stayed a night here and packed in everything I could.  I walked the sponge docks located on the Anclote River and then toured the historic district just a few blocks from the docks.  There I ran into the famous Panellas Trail that runs from Tarpon Springs to Clearwater.  After running a few miles on it I headed back to the sponge docks to relax.

Food and Sponges dominate the sponge docks of Tarpon Springs

A walk through the Historic District and the Panellas Trail

And back to the sponge docks before heading on to Three Rookers Bar

The next morning I motored out to Three Rookery Bar.  It was crowded and loud compared to the Anclote Key anchorage, but most of the traffic left in late afternoon and things became peaceful and nice.  Just as the sun set the birds began to scream, some laughing some crying.  It was a spectacle.  I saw many species of seabirds; gulls, herons, ducks, pipers, osprey, and many others.  That night I set out a shark line and caught a three footer and let him live another day.  The next morning I got the kayak out at daybreak and paddled over to Honeymoon Island two miles away.  There I was going to run the beach for a couple of miles but was stopped by the shell covered beach.  I was running barefoot.  So I paddled back to my boat and prepared for the trip into Dunedin.

Dunedin was just an hour motor away and I was soon at the city dock tied up and secure.  The city marina is very nice but very inexpensive at 90 cents per foot of boat length.  I would say that is the cheapest I have paid anywhere.  What I didn't realize is this dock is smack in the middle of town and a busy sidewalk filled with tourist was right next to my boat.  Chad and Maria, two young teachers in town, were very interested in Mary Annie and we had a nice conversation about it and their profession.  They both teach special needs kids in town.  They were definitely givers, not takers.  I bow my head to them.  Then a fellow came up and told me what a hole in the water boat ownership is.  Yeah yeah.  Then a good looking 70 year old sailor of Swedish descent admired the boat and all of her "systems".  After I tired answering questions from tourist about my boat I left the scene for downtown to become one of the tourists myself.

Dunedin is a town of Scottish heritage.  Bagpipes blow every Friday afternoon just to prove it.  It is a bit more upscale than the working class look of Tarpon Springs.  Downtown is painted up with pastels and lined with palms and upscale restaurants line the streets.  As I walked I came across a trail, the Panellas Trail, the one I ran into in Tarpon Springs.  So I set off on a 4 mile run.  The trail was nicer here than in Tarpon with huge white oak dripping with spanish moss providing shade for the trail goers.

The next day in Dunedin was much the same as the first, some good food, good exercise, and a relaxed mood.  It was a Saturday and there was a farmers market downtown.  I bought some gifts for my girls at home at the market.

Tomorrow I will head out to Moonshine Island near Caledesi Island and try and explore both before heading south out of the Clearwater area for the Manatee River just north of Sarasota.  In the meantime, cheers from the Mary Annie.


  1. Following again - keep it up Pat

    you're doing what I would rather be doin! Euan from Cabatach

  2. Thx Euan. Have you not had time to sail? I have to leave the boat for a month but plan to cover some ground when I get back to it in June. Take care