Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Movin to Marathon

Fort Myers is a lovely town.  The city has renovated the downtown area, and it is quite beautiful.

They often close down some of the streets to offer entertainment events which draw nice crowds.  Thomas Edison, Harvey Firestone and Henry Ford spent winters here, so they too saw the attactiveness of the area and the climate.

We sailors always look forward to Thursday's farmer's market, which was well stocked even after the disasterous cold front ravaged so much of this years agriculture.  Here Sue samples some recently harvested kettlel corn.

Despite all of its positive attributes, we were more than ready to set sail for the Florida Keys when the weather finally improved.  With a three day window which would allow us to make the keys, we planned our departure for Monday, January 18th, despite the forecast of rather light winds from the northwest.  We said goodbye to our sailing friends at Legacy Harbour Marina and filled our water tanks and jerry jugs, then we were ready to go.

We left Monday morning at 7:40 a.m.  We motored the two hours down the Caloosahatchee River to the Gulf of Mexico.  There was very little wind, so we did not even uncover the mainsail.  The gulf was still recovering from yesterday's powerful westerly winds, so a 2 to 3 foot beam sea rocked the boat.  Lucy soon was seasick.  Sue tried to help her, and soon didn't feel too well either.  Full strength coca-cola helped.  On the way south we passed the Gemini catamaran "Links".  Tim called on the VHF radio and we talked about our disappointment in missing each other.  He and Jill didn't seem to be enjoying the seas either.  The admiral convinced me to enter the ICW at Naples instead of Marco Island to get out of the rough seas sooner.  We did so even though it added 30 minutes to our trip to Goodland.  The ICW is really shallow in spots, but no problem for a catamaran like "Passage".  We say many Ospreys in their nests on the day markers, including this feisty couple.

We arrived in Goodland at 5:10 p.m. and anchored in five feet of water.  It was a long day, and we were asleep pretty early.  The next day we motor sailed to the Little Shark River and anchored just inside the penninsula protecting the bay at the mouth of the river.  We grilled pork tenderloin, watched a little tv and went to bed early again.  Wednesday we motored all the way to Marathon.  The crab trap floats were unusually thick and we had to be especially vigilant at the helm.  The last two hours we could hear boats being assigned mooring balls by the Boot Key Harbor City Marina. We called upon arrival, and were the first boat to be told that no balls were available.  The anchorage was especially packed.  Fortunately, we soon heard friends Ruth and Barry  on Another Adventure being offered a place on the wall at the marina.  We called and asked for wall space too.  They moved a couple of boats, and we had a place to spend the night!  Richard, the marina manager, is a great guy and very accommodating.

We enjoyed catching up with Barry and Ruth during that evening's happy hour.

Fortunately, some mooring balls opened up the next morning.  I requested one to the east towards Dockside Lounge, and we were assigned E-9.  It is a perfect location.  It is a four minute dingy ride to the dingy dock at the marina and a four minute dingy ride to Dockside.  What could be better?  Perhaps our first sunset in the mooring field at Marathon.

Monday, January 11, 2010


Boy, has it ever been cold in Fort Myers, Florida.

No, not that cold.  Our next door neigbors in Painesville, Ohio, sent us photos of the back and front of our house.  The third photo is on their drive to work (what is that?) one morning this past week.  I guess they wanted us to feel better about the unusual cold streak we are suffering through here in Florida.  Since the first cold front on New Years Day, we have seen night time temperatures in the 30's.  Today, Jan. 11, it was exactly 30 degrees.  There was white frost on the dock despite the breeze.  We are comfortable aboard "Passage" as our reverse cycle heat runs all night.  However, sailing to our destination of Marathon in the Keys involves anchoring out for a few nights.  No heat.  I really hate waking up in the morning and seeing my breath while I lie in bed.  So we are waiting for the weather to return to "normal".  Hopefully, we will be leaving on Thursday, Jan. 14th, for Keywaydin Island near Marco Island.  Sue would like to spend a couple of nights there because of the uninhabited beach, which is great for shelling and peaceful walks.  Then, it should be on to Marathon after the weekend.  This is our fourth scheduled time of departure, so we shall see.  In the meantime, stay warm and safe.