Venice Florida

Ambler Isle
V and S
Mon 6 Jun 2011 15:19
June 3, 2011
We enjoyed wonderfully calm seas again today.  Sticking less than a mile from shore we could see the skylines of the cities we passed.  A few stray, left over lobster pots were the only hazard.  Lobster season is closed from April 1-July 31.  The law requires removal of all the lobster traps, but a few are always forgotten.  We are sad to think of creatures trapped there.  Also sad that we have to watch for these hazards:  if we wrap a line around our prop, we have to dive down to free it.    The winds were less than 10k.  Nearing Venice we were surprised to see "diver down" flags.  Attached to small inner tubes or floats, divers could explore the seafloor.  But such tiny warning flags were hard to see.  What could they be diving for here, in 15-20' of water offshore?  Small boats go much faster than we do, and could easy run over someone before they saw them. 
Entering the Venice Inlet, the tide was coming out, and the winds blowing from the NW.  This created a mini rage.  The jetty walls along the inlet were dotted with fishermen and others enjoying the water.  Some stopped to look at the boat.  Through the inlet, past the Crow's Nest Marina, we found the marked channel leading to the City of Venice free dock.  A regular stop for us, it has no electricity nor water.  Just a place to tie up.  This lets us go ashore for a walk and to have dinner out.  The town is about a mile away.  A brand new sign bolted to the dock wall said no overnight dockage.  We'd always stayed here on prior trips.  We decided to stay anyway, we had few other options.  Maybe they would give us a ticket.  Maybe they'd ask us to leave.  We'd make a note on the chart for future trips.  We would not return to Venice.    A small sailboat occupied the front of the dock wall.  10-12 teenagers sat on the boat, enjoying the sunshine.  They waved and complimented the boat.  Once tied up we walked over to say hi to them.  They were very outgoing and fun to talk with.  The young fellow who owned the boat had just bought it and planned to learn to sail as he went.   Next we called George and Inga Svinte who live in Venice.  George is a long time family friend of Valt's.  He and his father came from Latvia after World War II, and the parents were great friends when they all lived in Michigan. Although very short notice, they were delighted to hear from us and agreed to drive over and see us. Aboard Amber Isle we enjoyed drinks and fun conversation.  They'd moved to Venice 8 years ago, and we try to see them when we pass through.  George was getting ready to celebrate his 79th birthday.  He'd had a few health problems the past few years, and we were anxious to see him.  They both looked great.  They were traveling, going on cruises, flying to Europe.  Their life was full and happy.  George insisted we go to their house, he'd just built a tiki bar in his lanai and wanted us to see it.  We went to their beautiful home.  The grounds were immaculate.   Palm trees, floor beds, and decorative lighting were breathtaking.  Inside we sat out at the tiki bar and Inga served us tasty snacks.  Their solar panel heated pool was warm as a bath.  Inga remarked that George was a little down in the dumps today:  he was reminiscing about old friends and how rarely he sees them anymore. Then we called and seemed an answer to his prayers.   The town of Venice is very nice.  Back at the boat we were tired, but happy for the fun, rewarding visit.