Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tarpon Springs

We are still in Tarpon Springs and it is a great place to be. The weather is darn near sublime and the marina, Turtle Cove Marina, is terrific! It is new-ish with all of the amenities including a swimming pool and hot tub, and the staff is incredibly friendly and helpful. The marina is located scant minutes from the old sea port, so to speak, of Tarpon Springs which is now touristy but has a long history as an area where sponges are harvested from the Gulf of Mexico. There are several sponge businesses still going and you can walk to them very easily amongst the shops and restaurants on the main drag.

Interestingly, this area is very Greek. Greek sponge-fishing immigrants populated the area decades ago so there are lots of places with names that end in “-aki” and “-opolis”. A few evenings ago all twenty of us loopers went to a really fascinating Greek restaurant named Hella's. (See previous post for pictures) It was quite the place with lots of flaming cheese and people yelling “Opah” (Yes, I know my spelling of “Opah” is up for debate.) The restaurant is large with light blue neon and incandescent lights all around the ceiling that casts a somewhat haunting hew over everything – kind of like blacklights but not as intense. Hella's also has a pastry and desert store that is just outrageous.

During the days we go about working on some minor chores such as cleaning the boat, tying up loose ends in the engine compartment and getting to that list of little nagging repair needs that all boaters have. It’s that list of small non-critical things that all boaters have that deserve attention but fall victim to being always able to be put off. For instance on Why Knot one of these items was to fix a challenge with our fresh water pressure. Back in Pickwick, MS we had to replace our fresh water pump. Without getting into minutia the new pump was a bit more powerful than the old pump. This caused the cold water pressure to fluctuate out of the galley and head faucets between cold and hot water. The shower pressure worked fine. I mean we still had running water and it was manageable but not correct. I figured out that something in the plumbing was backing up the water pressure that caused the new water pump to cycle on and off during water flow. We picked up a couple of new faucet aerators that were not as restrictive and that did the trick. I also had to replace the VHF radio at the lower helm.

Some boat chores were not so mundane. Remember Proud Lady having engine problems during the crossing? Bill dug into that heavily and was able to fix it. He basically rebuilt the fuel injection system on his starboard engine. Nice job! (I wish I was handy with mechanical things like that.)

The people in our Crossing flotilla are great. Everyone is friendly and a lot of fun to be with. But we all need to move on sometime. Sareanna was the first boat to leave on Tuesday. On Wednesday Lime Light and Memsahib took off. We’re sorry to see them go but we all have our cruise plans to follow and over the next several days other boats will start peeling away as well for locations further south. Soon it will be just Why Knot and The Zone left here. Ross and Laura are heading off to the east coast of Florida by rent-a-car for a short side trip. We must head back to St. Louis for February and March and have decided to leave Why Knot during this time in Palmetto (Sarasota) Florida which is only a long-ish one day cruise away. So we have decided to remain here in Tarpon Springs for a while longer until we have head out. We are hoping that the Zone will cruise with us so we can show them a bit of what we know of the area as we will be someplace where we have actually been before, which in itself is an odd feeling.

Life is good.

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