Re-Charging in Stuart

After a busy four days of TrawlerFest, we were happy to give ourselves a little downtime to re-charge.

Days 148 – 150, March 10 – 12, 2019

We actually enjoyed ourselves at Trawler Fest and had a great time showing Esmeralde off to the crowds. But once it was over, we were happy to be on our own again. We did need to re-charge and enjoy our privacy a bit, so we headed back up to Sunset Bay in Stuart again, the third time up that river on this trip, to regroup for a few days.

I confess we were happy to be out of the Hutchinson Island Marina. It’s not a particularly nice place to hang. The marina is mostly for seasonal boats, with some liveaboards and some sportfish and party boats. About half the slips had to be vacated for the event, and the slip owners were not happy about the event and not particularly friendly to the TrawlerFest folks.

The resort is not especially nice. No decent restaurants and a marginal tiki bar. There is nothing nearby (although there is a Publix about half a mile down the road, which is, admittedly, convenient enough) and no place to explore. The area is mostly condos and golf courses: neither of which interests us. I walked about a mile to the beach, which was lovely, but it is a mile away. We don’t have any need to ever go back.

The beach on Hutchinson Island is lovely. We arrived on a very blustery day, with a chilled north wind.

Sunset Bay is entirely different. The marina is vibrant, happy and well-run, with good facilities and a decent (and very popular) restaurant on site, Sailor’s Return. It is just a short and walk along a fitness trail/boardwalk into town, great for dog-walking, exercise and shopping. Lots of restaurants and an all-round good vibe. I understand why a lot of boaters spend a month — or the entire winter season — at Sunset Bay.

The Fitness Trail and Boardwalk are a lovely resource, and perfect for an early morning sunset run.

After a hot, blustery trip up the river, we settled in at Sunset Bay and got the boat hosed off. We decided to take ourselves out to dinner (now there’s a novel new idea!) and ended up at Eighteen Seminole Street. It had good reviews and we were hopeful but, ack, we ended up leaving after just a glass of wine. There was almost no one there, and they just couldn’t handle the service. We were abandoned by our waitress, and they were out of the two appetizers we tried to order first. No-go. So we left, and got a burger at Sailor’s Return.

Esmeralde alongside at Sunset Bay on a lovely Flybridge Evening.

We stayed at Sunset Bay for three nights, and spent our time sterilizing the boat, fighting with Garmin about chart updates, writing the blog, and exploring town. We discovered a wonderful little butcher, The Butcher Shoppe, in the Publix shopping center that no one had bothered to mention to us. First, it was a good butcher, and second (or maybe first!), they had fresh local home made PIE!

The Key Lime Pie from The Butcher Shoppe was excellent.

Bruce also splurged for breakfast one morning, enjoying a special eggs dish made with the gift of SPAM we had received from Rachel at TrawlerFest. He doesn’t do this often, but it seems to have become a trademark this trip, thanks to our friends who live in Facebook and periodically show up alongside. Cruising in the internet age is a new adventure.

SPAM and eggs for breakfast. Bruce’s special splurge.

I did a little window shopping in town and had some nice morning runs along the boardwalk, which is lovely in the morning and evening light. We enjoyed a few splurges at Gilbert’s Coffee Bar, a little gem right at the marina. I particularly liked their Matcha Latte made with oat milk: a special treat.

I love me a well-made Matcha Latte with oat milk. Yum.

We ate on board twice, enjoying cocktails on the Flybridge, and some ribeye and excellent sausages on the BBQ. Both evenings were lovely and we were happy to lie-low for a couple of days. After the third night, we were ready to hit the road. Our journey north was to begin again, this time in earnest.

Sunset Bay Marina is aptly named. We enjoyed numerous Flybridge Evenings aboard Esmeralde, complete with spectacular sunsets every night.

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