Friday, January 31, 2014

Gasparilla--It's a Pirate Festival

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival held on the last Saturday of January is a local tradition too large for us to miss.  We headed to Tampa after a tennis match to discover that the roads to the marina where we were to meet friends to view the boat parade were closed.  Parking was easy to find but finding the marina was another story.  People dressed as pirates flooded the streets with their ales in hand.  Steve and I using our handy cell phones to find the marina and walked the two miles to meet friends.  By the time we arrived, the boat parade had passed.  But the Gasparilla Parade of the Pirates on land had just begun about the time we had decided we better get started on our walk back to the truck.    

The Gasparilla Pirate Festival is a tribute to the legendary pirate Jose Gaspar who liked to call himself Gasparilla.   Gaspar is known as the "last of the Buccaneers" during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.  Legend has it that he served in the Royal Spanish Navy until 1783 when he sized a sloop of war and headed for Florida to begin a life as an outlaw.  In 1821 Gaspar had accumulated much wealth and decided to give up his life as a pirate, split his fortunes with  his crew and retire.  However,  one last merchant sailing ship seemed like the perfect victim for a last thrilling raid.  A little too late, they discovered that their intended victim was a United States Navy warship in disguise.  Legend has it that as the commander of the USS Enterprise was boarding the defeated pirate ship, Gaspar wrapped himself in a chain and leaped into the water, to his final resting ground at the bottom of the sea. 

In 1904 Tampa's civic leaders adopted the pirate Gaspar as the patron rogue of their city wide celebration.  Forty Tampa citizens formed  "Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla" and planned to surprise the locals with a mock pirate attack on Tampa.  They captured the city during the Festival Parade which to this day involves two parades--one for children, one for adults, a boat parade, the  pyrotechnics show Piratetechnic and much more.   700 of the most prominent citizens of Tampa are now members of Ye Mystic Krewe.  

In 1954 the Krewe commissioned the building of the world's only fully rigged pirate ship to be built in modern times and named her  the Jose Gasparilla, . She is constructed of steel at 165' long by 35' across the beam, with 3 steel masts standing 100' tall.

Steve took these pictures that show just how many people attend this event in Tampa

It appears that no expenses were spared in the preparation of the floats It would be my suggestion to purchase tickets to sit in the stands which are in a fenced area to get the best view of the parade.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Life on Meandering Joy

We have spent so much time on board this year 2014, that it seems quite normal and writing about this normality is perhaps too boring.  After a  year of traveling back and forth from wherever our boat may be to our home in Georgia, this way of living has become our way of life.  It is nice that I no longer am tentative about living on a boat.  

Steve and I were joined by Patti & Greg for a New Year's celebration here in St. Petersburg.  It was cold, windy and rainy.  I read somewhere that it only rains 5 times a year here--I have been here all 5+ days.  We managed to get one day of tennis in before we had to look for other activities.  

We headed back home to help Katy move to her apartment in Atlanta.  She found a charming little place on Pharr Road about 6  miles from work.  We of course are worried about her dog Hobie.  He has had his buddies Piper and Jack with him for a year now and plenty of room to roam.  Katy assures us Hobie is fine in his location.  I am sure all of the city dogs will find alot to talk about with him.  

We (Steve) tried to clean up all the debris from the recent logging that we had done at the house.  It looks like a tornado hit our property.  Due to all the rain when we were home, that project did not get off the ground.  So what to do? Head back to St. Pete, of course.  

Steve has been replacing all or most all of the electronics in the boat.  Among those are the GPS, Weather Station, Radar, Chart Plotter, Fish Finder, Depth Sounder...   There is a new hole in the Pilot House every time I turn around and new packages coming in everyday.  He seems to still be celebrating his own private Christmas. 

Back in December when he replaced the radar Steve thought he had cut the wire to the television satellite.  In fact he searched and searched for the cut wire for weeks before he finally called the Direct TV repairman.  The problem--a switch was flipped off.  TV works like a dream now except that Direct TV pulled the weather stations off its regular schedule. I don't understand why we need that since he just added a weather station to the boat.  

It is another dreary dreary day here and it is 13degrees at home.  I hope our pipes haven't frozen. I took this pictures a few weeks ago.  Hope it brightens your day.