Category Archives: Sarasota

How a Dolphin Sinks a Boat in Sarasota

Dolphin Sinks Boat in Sarasota Bay

Houseboats and live-aboard yachts used to dot Sarasota’s bay front, an interesting mix of the very wealthy and the working poor, sometimes alcoholic-independent-usually-hippie who lived cheaply in a leaky tub that barely floats. The yachts came and went. The houseboats stayed. The worst of the wrecks have been removed from the bay front since Sarasota started enforcing regulations.

One of the older fishermen (dubbed the “Old Salt”), unlike the other owners of broken down barges, owned a fancy dinghy that he used to row to the pier’s bar at 8 am each morning. But on one particular morning, his routine was suddenly interrupted.

It was a beautiful morning. The dolphin were chasing bait fish through the bay, changing direction the instant they did, and leaping in graceful arches through the air in an effort to close the gap between them.

One of the dolphin leaped high in the air, still chasing the bait fish, and landed, with a loud smack, in the Old Salt’s dinghy. While the folks on the yachts watched, Old Salt tried to roll/pull/push the fish out.

Unfortunately, dolphin are very large and, while not particularly slippery, they’re smooth and bulky and hey, when you have a dolphin in your boat, you know you have a challenge on your hands. One of the men on one of the yachts finally rowed over in his matching rowboat to see what he if he could help.

The fish, of course, didn’t budge, so it was decided that Old Salt would have to sink his dinghy. He transferred his gear to the rowboat, pulled the plug on his dinghy, and climbed into his neighbor’s rowboat.

As the boat quickly took on water, the dolphin swam off without a backward glance, seemingly unaware of the precarious position it had just escaped. Droplets glistened and shone like diamonds as the fish swam away.

Beach Days #4

The two men in the rowboat watched the dinghy, now well underwater, slowly sink out of sight.

The yacht owner started to row toward Old Salt’s tug, but he shook his head and pointed to the pier, in the direction of his favorite bar. The yacht owner shrugged, pulled the rowboat around, and headed for the dock.

I guess the moral of the story is that dolphin and yacht owners don’t give a boatload of water about an Old Salt’s assets.

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Mothers Helping Mothers

Mothers Helping Mothers: a Low-Key but Effective Non-Profit Helps Floridians

Here on Finding Florida, I usually share points of interest that are tied to nature, of historical significance, or fun places to see, but today I take you a place that reveals Florida’s compassion, a place that appears a little seedy at first but soon reveals her true beauty…

I spent a few hours on Saturday morning volunteering at Mothers Helping Mothers (MHM), a non-profit, all volunteer organization in Sarasota that was created by one woman who saw a need and set about filling it. Her efforts have grown into a vibrant program that helps almost 3,000 families in need each year.

From the Mothers Helping Mothers website http://www.mhmsarasota.com/:

“ … providing basic necessities such as clothing and baby items free of charge to families in need … we offer emotional support and referrals to other agencies in the surrounding area … ”

Mothers Helping Mothers collects donations in big garbage bags and when one is full, it is stored in a closet for later sorting. When the door can no longer close, they put out the call to churches and other organizations, asking for volunteers to help sort.

It is all quite organized. Children’s toys, infant clothing, shoes, books, and baby supplies (everything from diapers and bottles to crib layettes, strollers, and car seats) are in one room, women’s clothing, older girls and boys clothing in the other. Seasonal clothing is put away for later, designer outfits and gowns (some with tags still attached!) went in the front window. Items needing laundering or mending went in a special basket and items too damaged to give away were put in a box for a man who bought the rags by the pound. Men’s clothing went into a bin to be given to a men’s shelter/help place. The smaller men’s clothing was kept for the boys.

Mothers Helping Mothers is open on Tuesday and Friday mornings. No one is turned away; all items are free. Parents do not need to prove financial need, but a photo ID is required. Limits are generous: up to 15 clothing items per person per household. Only new cribs are given out, free of charge, paid for out of financial donations from others.

We opened bags and put clothing on hangers, placing it on the correct rack. It was almost like having Christmas for somebody else! We tried to hang things attractively, arrange toys to appeal to kids, brush off the purses and hang them at a rakish angle…sort of like playing “store”!

MHM #1

Our morning ended with just a few containers left in the closet.

MHM #2

We would have gladly stayed and finished, but there was no place to put anything more! Every clothes rack was jammed full and the toy chests filled to the brim. No space was left unused: purses hung from the ends of the racks, belts snaked along the top.

On Tuesday morning, I thought of those families going in to see the replenished stock, of a young Mom finding that designer suit or her child’s eyes lighting up at the sight of a teddy bear mountain. And I felt good inside, knowing that I helped to improve my community by helping families to stand on firmer ground. It’s only a drop in the bucket, but when you get enough drops, that bucket can overflow.

I hope that each reader here will one day come find Florida and all her unusual spots, and I hope you include a stop at Mothers Helping Mothers, to see for yourself what one small but really good idea can do.