Hey there dive people!!! Subject: Shark Tooth Fest Report. Just a note about the Venice Shark Tooth Fest.
We (Civil Air Patrol, 172, 3 people) left Merritt Island (COI) at 8:30 VFR for Venice (VNC). Venice is about 20 miles south of Sarasota. We were late taking off as we had to wait for the FBO to open to refuel the plane. Our route of flight was COI to Odell intersection, V441 Lakeland, Direct VNC, VFR at 3000'. The weather brief stated early morning fog would burni off by 9. Everything was great until Lakeland, the fog started - from ground to 2000'. We were under Tampa Approach Flight Following and could hear most of the airports around Tampa were IFR. The sky in front of us looked cloudy. We air filed IFR with St. Pete and picked up an IFR to Sarasota (SQR). We climbed to 4000' and went into the soup - not rough, just white soup! We broke out on the ILS for SQR at 2 miles and 800' (not too bad). After a quick weather brief, we took off VFR down the coastline at 1000' to Venice - a real pretty trip. The coastline was 1500 scattered.
After landing at VNC, a courtesy car from the FBO drove us to the 'Pier' where we snorkeled for Shark's teeth in the Gulf. The vis was great, as long as your mask was 6" from the bottom. Back at the waters edge, we found lots of shells, but no Shark's Teeth! The Pier does have a restaurant and looks like a good place to eat - we wanted to eat at the fest. There is an outdoor shower and large bathrooms to change in. The courtesy car pick us up and back to the airport to drop off our dive equipment and then drove us to the fest (about a mile - but it was hot). There was lots of food, lots of people selling some really big sharks teeth and lots of other craft vendors. The sun was out and it was hot! We could see the dark sky to the west, but knew before we left it could be a late night arrival before we left.
A car trip back to the FBO and the computer weather plots looked green/yellow/red all in the center of the state - no way to get back to Melbourne. The coast was semi clear, so we filed VFR to Clearwater St. Pete (PIE). After takeoff, while opening the flight plan, with vis about 4 miles in haze, I changed the VFR to IFR and again climbed to 4000'. We were in and out of some white clouds, but by the Sunshine Skyway bridge were in a clear area. We had a visual approach to Rny 35 R - a really long and wide runway. We pulled up to Signature FBO - a very high class FBO and highly recommended. They have very soft comfortable chairs, coffee, punch, apples, popcorn, computer weather, TV etc. We stopped across the street to the St. Pete Weather Brief and talked to Debbie McKlintoc - an old friend. The weather did not look good. Back and forth between the FBO and St. Pete Weather showed the weather to be getting worse. The Signature ramp crew towed our plane to a hanger when the winds picked up. After several =BD hour naps, a pizza and trips to weather, we took off IFR at 9:30. The trip looked clear on the radar, but the IFR would help if we ran into any local weather.
The trip back was at 3000' V441. Around Lakeland, we started to notice ground fog starting at 10% coverage and growing to 50% coverage. We had 40 minutes of travel to go. Orlando Approach contacted Patrick and the east coast was clear of fog - but the fog can fill in really really fast! About 10 miles out of Merriit Island, the fog cleared and we had a beautiful VFR landing at COI.
It was home a midnight and up at 6 for work! Was it worth it - YES! The weather wasn't too bad for IFR, would not have been fun VFR! The fest was great. It was good to talk to the people that give us weather briefs. It was a long but great day.
George, Mike and Don - Merritt Island CAP
Sharku's (FOOD) on the Pier, (941)-488-1456
Our World Dive Center - 1-888-2-R-WORLD, http://home1.gte.net/ourworld E-mail ourworld.juno.com - diving and snorkeling!
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Last Updated: 10-July-2002