Bradenton, FL

3 December 2014

Up and off the Marker One Marina dock at 7:30 AM. It’s a nice day, another “hey I can wear shorts” day. It was a nice ride, we saw a number of sets of dolphins. We also fit under all the bridges so we didn’t need to wait for any openings!!

Only interesting part was at Mile 110, where you can take a shortcut running along the I-275 causeway. We turned one marker too early and were in 5′ of water. That leaves 1.5 feet under the keel, plenty but not how I like to travel. We throttled down and coasted across to the channel.

Twin Dolphin Marina is nice, super well protected and with floating docks. A little pricey at $1.75 a foot, but we are expecting that in tourist areas. The museum, planetarium and aquarium is a two block walk.

The two major attractions for us is the aquarium, and Snooty the manatee. He was born 66 years ago and is the oldest living manatee on record. The average age in the wild is about 13-15 years. He is in a tank with two other “rescue” manatees. For the last 20 years they have taken in injured manatees and are the half way location before they are returned to the wild. We were able to see one of the 6 times a day feeding session. Each manatee eats about 10% of their body weight every day. Snooty clocks in at 950 lbs, he eats a box of romaine lettuce at every meal.

The other attraction was the planetarium next door. We got to see two shows. The first was cartoon designed for kids. An insect shaped species with Mom, Dad, and three kids were from Rigel. They, along with the robotic real estate agent were looking at our solar system for some place to vacation. They tour all the planets. Lots of good graphics, good information and it was fun.

The second show is a tour of the universe narrated by Tom Hanks. It’s more actual pictures as we move out of our solar system then out of our galaxy and into deep space. Very, very cool.

About 5PM we were back on the boat and one of Susan’s High School friends showed up to visit. They brought Stone Crab claws and shrimp. It was a great meal and we had a great time chatting for the next 4 hours.

We will head to Sarasota in the morning (only about a 3.5 hour ride) and will tour the town with them.