Monthly Archives: October 2014

Longboat/Anna Maria for Cruisers

We love to visit Longboat Key. We recently spent a few weeks there hanging out on the beach and taking in gorgeous sunsets every night. The only problem with this area, is little to no services are available for cruisers with no car. That’s where Anna Maria comes in. There is a dinghy dock (free) at Brandenton Beach. Just below the Cortez Bridge there’s a fishing pier (currently under construction). The dinghy dock not only gives you land access, it has trash and recycling receptacles and fresh water can be found on the pier. There are mens/womens restrooms on the pier as well as a shower with hot water. These are free for your use, but of questionable cleanliness.
The anchorage at Brandenton Beach is to be avoided in our opinion. It’s full of derelict boats and possibly some derelict people as well. Shady looking group of liveaboards and local vagrants hang out here. It’s much nicer to anchor at Longbeach, on the north end of Longboat Key. The dinghy ride to BB is two miles. Anna Maria runs a FREE trolley that will take you to Publix or Walgreens. The trolley stop is two blocks from the dinghy dock. Perfect!

Longbeach-LB-Pass

As you can see, there are two options. The anchorage near the restaurants is the preferred one. It is sometimes crowded though, especially in season. If you are forced to chose the Jewfish Key area, beware of strong current that flows through from Longboat Pass. The open area between Longboat and Jewfish has swinging room for a small freighter, but man the current is wicked.

Longbeach-Longboat-Lg

Entering the anchorage from the ICW can be slighty tricky. There is severe shoaling just off the channel which has been marked with floating buoys. Do not try to shortcut this area. Stay well inside the markers until you approach Jewfish Key before turning west. Plenty of water inside, and the holding is good. The beach is a quick dinghy ride and weekends feature large gatherings of locals on a sandbar inside the Pass. It’s just a fun place to hangout and the sunsets are incredible. We even saw our very first Green Flash.

The water was nice and clear while we were there. There were plenty of dolphins and even a few manatee to entertain us as well. Happy Hour at Moore’s Stone Crab is 4 to 6. Eat in the bar not the dining room. Happy Hour at Mar Vista is from 4 to 7, but only applies at the bar itself. (important info there)

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This is a recommended stop for anyone traveling the west coast of Florida. Don’t pass it up.

The Green Flash

A few days ago . . .

We we anchored in the Longboat anchorage, north end of Longboat Key. We decided to take the dinghy to the beach to watch the sunset. We do this very often. We never miss a sunset if its visible. There were a few boats in Longboat Pass viewing. There was no one else on the beach.

Kim and I witnessed the Green Flash for the very first time. We both clearly saw it. It felt magical. We decided it was some sort of good luck charm or omen of good things to come. Later we heard from friends on Anna Maria Island, just a few miles away, had witnessed it too.

I posted on my personal Facebook page about seeing it. To my surprise, someone called me a liar! I also mentioned it on my fanpage. Someone there said “It’s a myth”. I was shocked by these comments. We saw the dang thing! I guess there are those who don’t believe it’s real, but let me tell you – It Is A Real Thing.

I did not actually get a picture of the Green Flash, but this was a split second before:

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A quick search of Google Images results in plenty of Green Flash captures;

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Even Youtube has several good videos that clearly show a Green Flash:

And from Widipedia:

Green flashes and green rays are optical phenomena that sometimes occur right after sunset or right before sunrise. When the conditions are right, a green spot is visible above the upper rim of the disk of the sun. The green appearance usually lasts for no more than a second or two. Sometimes (rarely) the green flash can resemble a green ray shooting up from the sunset (or sunrise) point. Green flashes occur because the atmosphere can cause the light from the sun to separate out into different colors. Green flashes are a group of phenomena which stem from slightly different causes, and therefore some types of green flashes are more common than others.[1]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_flash

 

Anyway, we feel blessed to have witnessed this rare phenomena. Someone on my FB page brought up an interesting point. They said they had seen it, but they’ve watched thousands of sunsets. Most people don’t take the time, or are in the position to see so many, so often. One of the wonders of life aboard is the ability to observe sunsets almost every single day. We celebrate them. We take joy in them. We’ve seen thousands too. We are thankful to have actually witnessed the Green Flash. To all the doubters . . . pppffffffffffffffffttttttttttttttt!