We chose to pick the boat up in person. Most people get their boat delivered to a local dealer. There are some real advantages to the approach. They make sure everything is running properly and clean all the road grime off the boat so that you can just step aboard and turn the key. I looked at the cost of delivery and decided that a pick-up in person would cost about the same, with a cool vacation thrown into the bargain.
The plan was good. We would leave the kids with the grandparents. We would drive down from Connecticut to Boca Grande, FL. After enjoying the island and relazing on Sunday, we would drive to the Yellowfin Yachts factory in Bradenton, FL, to pick the boat up and sea trial her on Monday. Then it was back to Boca Grande for four days of boating and fishing. Being mid-April, we knew that we were on the early side for tarpon season, but our hopes were high. If nothing else we would have fun on the boat and explore an area we've never been.
Packing was a large undertaking, this being a boating/fishing/vacationing type of trip. Rods, life jackets, EPIRB and even paddleboards made their way into the Suburban the weekend prior to the trip. Being so far ahead of ourselves gave us some thinking time, and that always leads to no good.
"You know," I joked to Allison, "we could leave right now. The boat is ready."
"Really?" she replied. "Ok!"
Now, I didn't quite know what to do here. My off the cuff suggestion certainly wasn't serious.
She continued. "If we leave tomorrow"-- today being Wednesday-- "we can drive all night and be at Yellowfin by noon on Friday. Then we pick up the boat and have it to play with all weekend instead of wasting Monday picking it up."
She made some good points, but it was a hard sell. There were things to be done, responsibilities to be responsible about. I did what anyone in my shoes would.
So after a brief scramble to make sure all the supporting logistics were in place for an earlier departure, we hit the road 24 hours early and drove through the night.
Years of racing sailboats at regattas around the country have turned us into a well oiled travel machine. We stopped only for fuel and made terrific time.
|Somewhere in Maryland, 1,000 miles to go|
We pulled into the factory right at noon on Friday, about 20 hours after departure. Kevin, who manages Yellowfin Yachts' small boat business, was waiting for us and invited us in. A few minutes later, 2fly was pulled out from the detailing shop. We went over the boat and systems in detail with the Yellowfin crew, hitched the boat, and hit the road.
Driving away with the new boat, it kind of felt like stealing. "It's still following us," Allison said several times.
We made the hour-long drive south to Boca Grande without incident. We easily found our accommodations for the night, The Innlet. It's a low key hotel with slips right out your front door. We splashed the boat for the first time.
The rest of the week was terrific. We learned how the boat handles.
|Home for the week|
We had friends come join us for part of the trip.
|Jeff and Tracy try for redfish.|
We did some fishing for species I haven't targeted before.
Had some interesting by-catch.
|Blowfish on a Zara spook.|
|Shortly before the first bird droppings found their way on the new boat.|
Took advantage of some of the fine restaurants in the area that provide dockage like The Tarpon Lodge and Cabbage Key.
|Arrival at The Tarpon Lodge|
|Departing Cabbage Key|
Our only disappointment for the week was the wind, which just didn't want to let up. The area was in its 7th cold front in three weeks when we arrived, and the 8th visited before we left. The wind and waves stirred up the waters of the sound and filled the water with sand, driving most of the tarpon into the Gulf of Mexico. We could have jigged or bait fished Boca Grande Pass, but instead we choose to fish the skinny water with light tackle. More on that another time.
Our trip was far too short, but I suspect we'll be pay another visit in the future. While prying ourselves away from Boca Grande was tough, the real purpose was getting 2fly home. Hitched and loaded, we hit the road and pointed the Suburban northward.
|We burned some fuel|
After 3,000 miles round trip travel we pulled into home.
Now begins a new chapter in The Mudhole Chronicles.