Low bridges, wild animals and the canals of Venice

Today we left Sarasota at 1015 and headed to the canals of Venice. No we do not have to go to Italy, only about 20 miles down to the home of my old fraternity brother Colonel Goree Waugh. We have only seen each other a few times in the last 40+ years but he and wife Barbara graciously offered their home and dock to us.

On the way we encountered a series of low bridges. some were close clearance and others had to open. Some work on a schedule every twenty minutes and others open on demand. Much of this area looks like old Florida. Jan said she thought we were supposed to hail them on VHF 11 and so did I but the first one would not respond. We sat waiting and dealing with wind and current for a scheduled opening. Finally we noticed the bridgetender holding up a sign to tell us it was channel 9. When we got him on the radio he said we should come on but I replied that his bridge was listed on our chart as 18 feet at the center and our boat was 17.5 thus we were hesitant. He said read the rest of the sign which says additional 3 feet at center. How dumb can we be?

At one bridge we saw people standing on surfboardlike devices and using long paddles to move along. I guess it is good exercise but it is too cold in the water to do that balancing act.

Getting very sleepy will finish tomorrow.