By Joe Vizzini

A number of Cape Coral Cruise Club boats got an early start on this cruise by first stopping at either Palm Island or Venice marinas on Monday March 20th. Weather was “picture-perfect” for boating, and dolphins abounded in the GICW. The Venice boaters were able to explore the interesting sites in town, and partake of some of its good restaurant offerings.

Tuesday morning found the boaters taking a leisurely cruise up the GICW on another day of absolutely beautiful boating weather. Five of our boats waited for a short time for the opening of the Blackburn Point swing bridge — a now relic from the past! Most current road bridges over either the GICW or the Atlantic ICW are either 65’ clearance or bascule bridges.

It was up to cruise speed after that and our group arrived at timed intervals. Marina Jack dock master Annie and her staff did a very orderly and professional job getting all 14 CCCC boats into assigned slips. Later that afternoon docktails, accompanied by serious hors d’oeuvres created by our boater group, made for a great wrap-up for the day. No one left hungry!

Wednesday morning cruise leaders provided a nice continental breakfast on the dock. Some of our cruisers then took the shuttle to St Armand’s Circle for browsing, shopping, and lunch, or just good old plain people-watching. Others hit the stores in downtown Sarasota, for lunch favorites and interesting coffee shops. Afternoon docktails brought a surprise of gifts for the cruisers from the Marina Jack dock master. Dinner followed in the beautiful, new, Marina Jack elevated curved-glass dining room that overlooks Sarasota Bay.

After breakfast Thursday morning, 16 of us headed over to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens which boasts 10 acres of beautiful tree and plant specimens, as well as an impressive array of Bonsai trees ranging in age from 7 to 20 years of horticultural “in-training,” where specimens are trimmed and modeled for future display.

The highlight of the Selby Gardens is a huge climate-controlled tropical greenhouse arrayed with incredibly beautiful orchids in a multitude of varieties and colors, displayed in breathtaking settings. A pre-paid catered lunch followed the tour in the outdoor patio underneath a large banyon tree.

After this outstanding afternoon activity and a return to the marina for docktails, our group fanned out through downtown Sarasota seeking interesting and a variety of delicious dinner options.

Friday morning most of the CCCC boaters departed Marina Jack, some extending the cruise north to St. Petersburg or south to Longboat Key.  Others headed back south on the GICW with a stop at Palm Island before returning to Cape Coral.

The Cape Coral Cruise Club is open to new members who own a boat with overnight accommodations and reside in the Cape Coral / Ft. Myers area. For membership information please contact Phil Kryger at 239-541-0236. Read additional Club information on its website,  Like us on Facebook.

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