Late in January some longtime friends of ours were down from Minnesota to escape the cold and spend some time at their home on Siesta Key. They are relatively new Sarasota homeowners and had never seen Sarasota from the water, and we thought it was a great opportunity for us to rent a boat and show off our hometown.
We called Siesta Key Marina and made a reservation for a midweek afternoon rental for our party of seven. One of our passengers is a little nervous on the water so the marina suggested a deck boat that could accommodate our party and provide a smooth ride.
We crossed our fingers that the unseasonably warm January weather would hold out for our day on the water. Turns out, that Mother Nature was on our side, and it was sunny and 80 degrees the day of our boat rental.
My husband and I first stopped at the Crescent Beach Grocery just down the street from the marina for sandwiches from the deli, and to fill our cooler with cold beverages.
The staff at Siesta Key Marina greeted us warmly upon arrival to check in for the rental. My husband filled out the necessary paperwork, and we were on our way down to the boat dock. A deckhand assisted us in loading our bags and coolers and then went over a few brief safety instructions and basic boat operation before we departed.
The 24’ Hurricane Deck Boat with an 11 passenger capacity, was more than adequate for our party of seven. There was plenty of room to spread out a towel and get comfortable without tripping over our bags or coolers for our 4 hour afternoon of boating.
From the marina, we traveled south on the Intracoastal Waterway towards Casey Key. Our friends from Minnesota were impressed with the array of spectacular homes, and the beauty of the mangroves and sparkling waters. As we made our way south, we pointed out Ophelia’s on The Bay, the restaurant we had eaten at earlier in the week, and waved at fellow boaters passing by.
Our plan was to make our way to Midnight Pass Beach in hopes that the tide would be high enough to allow us to make our way to the shore where we could beach the boat and walk over the sand dune and have lunch on the Gulf side of the beach. My husband cautiously raised the motor as we made our way to shore past wading birds and jumping fish.
Once on shore, we grabbed our coolers and towels and headed for the Gulf side of Midnight Pass. The beach was all ours really – there were just a handful of other folks along this secluded stretch of beach.
After lunch, we headed north up the Intracoastal Waterway towards Sarasota Bay. We navigated our way around the northern tip of Siesta Key and over to South Lido Key Beach and Park.
On our way back to return our boat at the end of the day we spotted some dolphins, and they began to follow us and play in our wake, coming right up to the boat! It was the highlight of our afternoon of boating.
Returning the boat couldn’t have been easier. We tied up at the Marina’s fuel dock and their courteous staff took care of everything from there and sent us on our way.