Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cruising during the dog days of summer

It's August. Florida and its neighboring coastal states are no doubt gearing up for the dreaded hurricane season. Officially the season begins June 1st and lasts until November 30th, but generally activity starts to pick up this month. According to AccuWeather, the forecast is for a "major reduction in the number of overall storms compared to last year." Three storms of tropical-force winds are expected, two of which could be hurricanes, and perhaps one major hurricane.

This will be our nineth year owning our trawler Mai Thai. We had been lucky to dodge the hurricanes all these years. We spent two hurricane seasons in the lovely cruising grounds of the Chesapeake Bay, a season each at Jekyll Island, Georgia (Jekyll Harbor Marina), and in hurricane holes in Florida - Daytona Beach (Halifax Harbor Marina), Jacksonville (Ortega River Boat Yard), and St Pete (Tierra Verde Resort and Marina). The last three seasons found Mai Thai exploring the inland waterway sytem - Fulton, Mississippi (Midway Marina), and Chattanooga, Tennessee (Hales Bar Marina).

After fuel prices skyrocketed last summer, we are now cruising less, and using the boat more like a cottage. Not a bad situation when you can avoid the hurricanes, pay one third less for insurance on the vessel, and get to explore some new places. By car, which is a LOT cheaper.
Poker Run at Oxford, Maryland
Fort DeSoto's North Beach
So we were back in Florida for a few weeks this summer. Yesterday, on the way to our favorite beach, Fort DeSoto Park, we drove past Tierra Verde Resort and Marina. Not sure what happened there as the docks were mostly empty. When we spent the summer of 2005 over there, the rumor was that the developers had bought the marina but could not convince the timeshare owners to sell out. Now, they are stuck, big time. With foreclosures and unemployment at an all time high, who has the money to buy condos and slips?

The good news is Fort DeSoto Park is still the same, and as beautiful as ever. We have never seen the northside of the beach so crowded (granted it was a Saturday, and people are doing staycations?) Crowds in Florida are nowhere near the size of crowds in, say Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, where my brother and his family are vacationing. Here on the gulf side, we have warm water, calm waves, fine white sand, and amenities from showers, bathhouses, outdoor grills, pavilions and lots of parking.

What better antidote to the dog days of summer than the beach?

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Cruising the Chesapeake Bay Florida Gulf Coast Beaches Horsing around Assateague Island National Seashore, Berlin, Maryland

1 comment:

  1. Hi Eileen,
    It must be so interesting to be able to visit Fla, Delaware, Georgia, Tenn, etc. How are the beaches in Fla, Delaware compared to NJ? Are there a lot of sea life like crabs, sand dollars at your favorite beach fort ... or the beach in Delaware? We went to a local beach in NJ and found all types of shells and sand dollars and were very surprised to see so much life since it was never there during the past years and I only expect to find ocean life in Florida beaches.

    Suet Ying