Our days in Sarasota are drawing to a close, but we continue to find new adventures. After spending several days wandering around the city of Sarasota, we were ready to get back to nature. We hopped in our dinghy and scooted (that's about as fast as 4 hp can go) across to the other side of the bay by New Pass. We had seen this area by bus and it looked worth an explore.
New Pass, which was created by a hurricane in the mid 1880's, is located along the barrier islands. What we found was a great little nature park, Quick Point, where we could beach our dinghy. The weather was perfect and we practically had the place to ourselves. We wandered the trail around the natural lagoons, wetlands and mangroves. Informational signs reinforced how delicate of a balance there is between the environment and people and the importance these natural areas play in keeping the water clean.
After our exploring on land was finished, we took the dinghy to a sandbar out in the middle of the inlet. We were 500 feet from shore and the water was only waist high. We jumped in and splashed around in the water. We were smiling and giggling while a cormorant on a No Wake sign watched.
Last night was a true highlight in our stay at Sarasota. We joined Bret and Theresa (s/v Elusive) for a bus trip to Siesta Key where we heard there was a drum circle every Sunday night. Sure enough, just outside the pavilion there was a huge circle drawn in the sand. People were gathering around the outside of the ring, setting up lawn chairs and blankets. Many people were fresh out of the water. In one spot on the circle, there was a collection of any type of instrument you could think of: bongo drums of all sizes, marimba, flutes, bells and some we had never seen before.
We shared some drinks and snacks with Bret and Theresa as the music pulsed and the crowd grew in numbers and revelry. It was a feast for the eyes, ears and soul to see so many people of such diverse cultures and backgrounds just giving themselves over to that wonderful beat. From child to senior citizen there was pure joy on their faces.
Someone had a set of krakebs, which we later found out are used in Gwana music to represent the sounds of horse hooves hitting the ground and shackles as people were carried away toward slavery. As we arrived, some people were playing the drums and one lady in African garb and another in belly dancing regala were dancing in the middle of the circle. Soon the rhythmic pounding of the drums became more intense and the dancing followed suit. A few more people joined the inner circle with their hoola hoops, dancing strings, batons, devil sticks and poi (twirling strings). It was mesmerizing to watch as people continued to join and be moved by the music.
One of the original dancers moved around the inside of the circle enticing individuals to dance. She decided Mike should join her. If you know Mike, dancing is not something he is comfortable with, but he jumped right up and was grooving with the best of them.
As the crowd grew, the sun started to set. The heart-throbbing rhythm was infectious. What a magical evening we had as we shared this cultural experience.