Seafood & Sponges-OPA!

Published: March 24th 2017
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Monday or Tuesday at lunchtime has become our old Wednesday night Ale House replacement. We still love the Ale House but we love the fresh seafood and cheap prices at Bar Harbor. So off our foursome headed a week ago Monday - March 13th - our dear son Cory's 49th birthday. Happy Birthday again, Cory. Where have all the years gone? makes us seem really old! Let the truth speak for itself. Our birthdays are coming up very soon. Noooooooo. No more!

I did forfeit my lobster roll for fried scallops this time. Sam did, too. Nope....doesn't compare. For me, it will be the luscious lobster roll time at Bar Harbor. Remember, their cooked 1 1/4 lb. lobster is only $6.99. A take home delight! Where? Just tell me where you can get such a lobster for this price. It is beyond delicious. And soooo cheap! While dining at Bar Harbor, the familiar Lobster Feast advertising car was parked there. Where do you think this bountiful Seafood Buffet place gets their lobsters and other seafood and then sells them to you for $$$$$. Hmmmmm. The lobster car even decided to follow us for! The attack of the lobster!

Our bucket list still had some adventures for all of us to do. Tarpon Springs was highlighted. Last year we all went here, remember? Loved it! We had missed sailing on the Odessy cruise boat at that time so we put it at the top of our list this year. Grab your life preservers.....we are going to this wonderful Greek community. Lulu thinks she can get by with just a swim ring around her neck. I think she is right.
It is a hefty ride to get there but no problem when traveling with friends. The time passes quickly. I had made our reservations ahead of time. We would set sail at 12:30 PM. It was chilly this day....actually cold. Wouldn't you just know a cold spell and wind was passing through this area on the day we had made our fun plans. We planned ahead and dressed appropriately for cool weather. Sam is cold even in the hottest weather so he really had to pile the layers on. I think he had on at least 12 layers. He reminded us of the Michelin Man. Once parked, we bought our tickets. Ours were discounted cause we weren't getting
Delivery TruckDelivery TruckDelivery Truck

Lobster-Feast car
off the boat when it stopped at an island beach for its passengers to do some beach-combing.

We had some time to kill so went across the street to Hellas Bakery. Bring on the delicacies: Bring on the pounds! Everything looked so yummy....a hard choice to make but we managed. Lots of carbs, lots of calories, lots of energy. We could swim to the Gulf of Mexico with our sugar rush. Lulu stuffed herself full. Why she doesn't watch her weight, I have no idea. Her head is getting heavier each trip out. Fathead!

Boarding time! Sandy was concerned about getting Sam down into the ship with his walker. We were at low tide so the ramp dropped almost straight down. Sam kept saying "no problem". Cory got ahead of him and a worker held the handles as he wheeled Sam down this steep drop....almost straight down remember? Hold on, Sam! Whew! They made it without losing Sam to the waiting, wavy sea. No fish food this time! Sam is aboard. Hooray.

We took our railing seats at the back of the boat. We had bought drink tickets prior to boarding. Old, scruffy coolers held our cruising
A unique carA unique carA unique car

Following us!
drinks. Our guide asked if anyone wanted a blanket? First clue that maybe it was going to get breezy and cold out on the water. Cory brought our Mexican-bought car blanket but we took the guides offer also. You just never know.

Before departure, our guide pointed out our life preserves: tucked tightly in the roof of the boat. How do we reach them in an emergency? Lulu would have problems (no legs or arms). She is so dependent on us. We had a full boat. The Captain eased it out of the dock and slowly down a channel. The guide began his speech. He was quite informative about Tarpon Springs and their sponge industry. He described various places, etc. along the water's edge. He said we might see wild creatures from the boat. All we saw was an osprey that had made a nest on top of a pole in the water....actually we could only see 3 tuffs of head feathers of that osprey....that was all.

And then we were off! The captain put us in high gear and we were flying across the mighty sea. And we nearly froze to death. The wind was gusting as much as it could around and through us. Our heads and hair looked like hood ornaments on a racing car....all slicked back. Lulu almost lost her red flower on her head. The temperature must have been @ 33 degrees (Fahrenheit). We wrapped ourselves in the cheap blankets provided. Zippered up everything we could. Sam eventually took shelter in front of the teeny restroom. He covered every part of his body so he wouldn't get any frostbite. For the first time, after cajoling Sam almost daily about his regular winter clothes he has worn almost everyday here in Florida, we wanted to strip them off of him and wear them ourselves. Who is crazy now? Not Sam with his 12 layers of clothing. Brrrrrrr. Take pity on us, Sam, and share at least one layer with us. Nope....he was still freezing also and not ready to give up one thread! Sandy looked like Ben Hur's mother in the respective movie. I wasn't a far cry from that either.

As we whizzed over the freezing seas, the guide told us to look for dolphins....right! The waves were so high a whale couldn't even get within the freezing water would have been a major deterrent anyway. So much for the wildlife viewing.

An hour into our brisk and frigid ride, the captain partially steered the boat up onto a sandbar. The passengers had to remove their shoes and socks to debark. Are you kidding me? The gang plank end was resting in the water so that's why they had to do this. Another tour boat, docked somewhat close to us, had their plank right up onto the sand so their customers did not have to strip their foot coverings. Keep this in mind, folks, for future reference. We had not planned to go ashore and all this really convinced us we had made the right decision.

The promoters of this boat ride said we would enjoy staying aboard because there would be music and drinks...nice. Sounds festive, right? Wrong!! The music ended up being a scratchy, musical tape of Caribbean music. The drinks were in the worn, grubby coolers. The guide handed us our chilled, ice cold, cokes in a can...and opened them. We had preferred he hadn't opened them as it was way too cold to be guzzling an ice cold pop! Our lips were frozen. Cory was
Our BoatOur BoatOur Boat

Sam is ready to board
handed 2 margaritas in plastic cups....with ice! He didn't care and sucked them down.

In the meantime, the rest of the passengers were roaming around on this small sandbar gathering sea shells. We could see, through our frozen eyelashes, the Gulf of Mexico on the other side of this sandbar. After about 1/2 hour or more, the sand bar wanderers came back to the boat. The squeals they made coming aboard with wet, freezing cold feet was deafening. For sure, no sea-faring creature would come close to our area with all their bellowing. One little old lady showed us her four, small seashells she had collected. You could find the same in parking lot gravel spots. I told her I could see how they would be well worth The future amputation of her feet....they were so small and pretty (the shells). Her feet: not so much! Lulu quietly looked. Her face told her story! It was so pathetic watching these people try to return some circulation to their lower extremities and struggle to get socks & shoes back on. The guide never did....he stayed barefoot for the rest of the trip! Crazy guy!

As we all searched for
Sam going down the gang plankSam going down the gang plankSam going down the gang plank

One slip & he's fish bait
more items to add layers to our frozen bodies, the captain headed the boat back for our return. We loudly sang the song from Frozen: 🎶🎶 Let It Go, Let It Go🎶🎶. As we sat in huddled masses; we endured our plight of super high speeds again, super high winds again and super freezing temperatures.

OMG....what's happening now? Water is heavily splashing onto those folks foolish enough to sit up front where there was no covering on the boat at all. We had only partial plastic sides (useless) where we sat. The wind still whipped viciously around us. The water splashed onto the seats close to us. Jump up, Jump up! Lulu struggled with this (no legs). Water poured down the floor from front to back. We were prisoners of Mother Nature's wrath. Is this what it was like on the Titanic? This is when Sam positioned himself in front of the teeny bathroom and covered every inch of his skin. "Toto, this does not look like we are on the Harmony of the Seas". Lulu begged not to be brought out of her carry bag. I tried to use her and her carry bag as a layer of
Lulu is excited Lulu is excited Lulu is excited

The beginning of the cruise
protection. It didn't help. We looked like we were trying appear gothic with our blue lips and dark eyes and capes. God, was it cold!!

After almost another hour, we finally returned to the dock. Certainly couldn't say it was a short ride. We truly got our money's worth ($14.98)....and more! I'm sure it would have been terrific on a nice, hot day. Poor timing but that's life sometimes. You can't control Mother Nature! We never expected it to be that cold! At least, we are now prepared for cold weather when we head back north. We are survivors!

Fortunately, our favorite Greek restaurant, Hellas, was right across the road from this boat tour site. We raced to get there and get warm inside. It was busy, as usual. This time, we sat inside and not out on their open air patio like last year. Let's see....what should we order. Of course, the most obvious was Saganaki....the famous Flamed Cheese. OPA! Our waiter brought this appetizer treat to our table and set it afire. Ah....warmth. Didn't last as long as a campfire but it was delightful for a minute. And, so tasty! OPA we all called out. We dallied over our meal to make it last as long as relaxing and comfy. After the flaming cheese, we were back to normal with our core temperatures. Whew!

Time to walk off the meals' calories. We trekked up and down the main drag through this exciting town. In and out of the gift shops. Lulu was in her glory. Out of her carry bag and posing again. Oh, how she loves to have her picture taken...she's so vain, I know.

After a long and challenging but fun day, we called it quits and headed home. No matter what the circumstance, we always laugh our way through it. Hope you had a good time and shared the laughs. Ha, Ha, Ha.....I can hear you! We hope you all have thawed out. They don't call Florida The Sunshine State for nothing! But sometimes, it does have an "off" day. We know....we survived it!

There are 29 photos to check out this time. Hoping you will feel sorry for us in some of the pictures. We love sympathy. Especially Lulu....even though she didn't have as much skin to protect as we did.

Additional photos below
Photos: 29, Displayed: 29


Our guide and LuluOur guide and Lulu
Our guide and Lulu

Sam relocates himself on the boat: bathroom attendant
Another boat at the sandbarAnother boat at the sandbar
Another boat at the sandbar

Going on land at sandbar sans footwear
Waiting for the beach combers Waiting for the beach combers
Waiting for the beach combers

Listening to taped music in the cold
Wrapped in anything availableWrapped in anything available
Wrapped in anything available

Passengers try to warm themselves
Sam disappeared into his shellSam disappeared into his shell
Sam disappeared into his shell

Cheap warmth
Hellas RestaurantHellas Restaurant
Hellas Restaurant

Saganaki: flaming cheese

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