Wesley Chapel, Florida
We got up about 5:30 am, had a few cups of coffee, and were out the door by 7:30.
It was already 80 degrees when we left the house, so we knew it was going to be a hot day….for everyone else, but us. We were going to be out on the water!
We stopped by and reminded the campground office that we were going to be gone all day and were concerned about another power outage. They assured us that someone would check the coach several times. I gave them my phone number….just in case. I reminded them we had kitties inside.
We had about an hour drive north to Homosassa, Florida. Our friends, Skip and Terry have a beautiful vacation house right on the Homosassa River. They aren’t far from the head springs where the crystal clear water flows into the river at the rate of 64 million gallons per day.
They have two boats that the are kept up, and out of the water on davits inside the boat house. When they want to use the boat, they just push a button to lower it into the water. What a great system.
Here is the boat we used today. I think it was about a 22 footer. Plenty roomy enough for the four of us and all our stuff.
They also have a pontoon boat that is better for river travels. We had hoped to get a chance to cruise the river, but there was so much boat traffic on the river, that it wasn’t a great time for a pontoon boat. It’s also kept high and dry on davits.
We loaded all of our stuff into the boat and headed down the river. It was a about a 3-4 mile trip from their house to the Gulf of Mexico, and then another 6-8 miles north in the Gulf, up to Crystal River.
They had been very successful in this area the past few days.
Terry and I sat up front in the shade from the bimini top. There were a lot of boats on the water and it was choppy at times, but Skips boat went right over those waves and it was a pretty smooth ride. Al’s getting boat fever again, I’m afraid! I am too, actually.
We went by this interesting house right at the end of the river, facing the gulf. They rent it out by the week. I’m sure It’s very expensive.
It had a wonderful huge weather vane.
We couldn’t believe how many boats there were. They were everywhere!
We finally got in the vicinity we wanted. We could tell it was a good spot because there were hundreds of boats in the area. I’m not exaggerating.
That is Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant in the background.
Lots of boats.
Scallops are found in grassy areas. We were in about 3-4 feet of water, with a very grassy bottom. I wished I could have taken some underwater pictures, but I didn’t bring my underwater camera with me.
This is a picture that I borrowed from the internet. It clearly shows the little blue eyes. I felt kind of bad grabbing them with those blue eyes looking at me.
The scallops are just laying in the grass part way open like in the picture above. You just reach down and get them. They will try to get out of your ditty bag if you’re not careful. They move by just flapping around. All you need are a mask, fins, and snorkel and you’re in business.
Here is a very wet Al posing with some of our catch.
Apparently, Skip picked a good spot because the scallops were plentiful and we had our two gallons per person limit in about an hour and a half.
Terry lost her $40 snorkel, so we all went in and searched (unsuccessfully) for it. That’s the price of scuba and snorkeling. The ocean seems to claim a lot of gear.
We headed back towards their house for the unpleasant part of scalloping…….the cleaning process.
Terry pulled out the awning on their dock so we were in the shade. She made us margaritas and then set up cleaning stations for the three of us . Skips job was to clean the boat. I would have much rather cleaned the boat, let me tell you!
I didn’t ever quite get around to taking pictures of the cleaning process. I had gooey fingers, most of the time.
Terry showed us how to do it. Those scallops are pretty yucky inside. It looks kind of like a combination of guts and thick snot. After I sort of gagged a big, Terry took pity on me and said she would remove the guts and then I could finish the cleaning of the scallop. Okay….I can do this. Now, how do I do it without touching the stuff?
She gave Al instructions on how to clean a scallop but after he murdered about a dozen, she fired him and he and Skip went to the dive shop to pick up a new snorkel for Terry.
Hey, don’t fire Al…he can learn….don’t leave me….
It was a slow process. I guess you can’t say it was slow. Terry was very fast, we just had a LOT of scallops….hundreds…I guess. My back was hurting sitting there on a cooler cleaning. Terry was a real trooper. She was sitting on the dock on a towel, going to town and never complained once!
Finally, Skip and Al got back and with Skips expert help we got to the end of the scallops. yea…
We started with two five gallon buckets almost full.
Here is what we ended up with.
We had such a wonderful day. The weather was perfect. The water was crystal clear and warm. The scallops were plentiful. Our hosts were wonderful and we were back on the water! We left their place about 6:30 pm and got home about 12 hours after we left. It was a long day.
We came home (carryout pizza in hand), tired and happy. The a/c was running and the house was nice and cool. We were both very tired and were in bed shortly.
Thank you Skip and Terry. We had such a wonderful time!!!!! I neglected to take a picture of our hosts. I actually took a few of Terry but they weren’t flattering and I didn’t dare use them.