Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cruising North

On Saturday, March 20th, we finally left Marathon.  At the first sign of daylight, we released the mooring ball at 7:10 a.m. and headed out the west entrance to the harbor.

We motored several miles to reach the navigable span of the Seven Mile Bridge.

After we crossed under the bridge, we raised the main and unrolled the genoa and enjoyed a great sail up to the Little Shark River.  On the way up we saw several sea turtles.  Most quickly dove once they spotted the boat.  However, as we sailed by, one huge turtle floated within five feet of the boat and just looked at us.  We didn't have a camera ready because we didn't expect him to stay on the surface.

After a very pleasant night at the Little Shark River, we motorsailed downwind to Goodland, and then motored the ICW up to the Rookery Channel Anchorage, a 60 nautical mile day. 

We usually are alone in the anchorage, but not this year.  We shared the anchorage with two other catamarans and eventually a 29 foot Bayfield monohull from Canada.  We were invited aboard the Prout catamaran "Deja Vu" sailed by Texans Jeff and Jane Landry for happy hour.  We were joined by Rob and Tina from the Iraqois 30 Catamaran "Mahalo" and Mark from the Bayfield.

The next day those two catamarans left, but we were joined by two more Geminis including "Nancy T".  Then the PDQ "Mongoose Magic"  crewed by Dale and Antha Koonce sailed in from Legacy Harbour Marina. 

 Finally our Canadian friends John Spenser and Brenda Carter on "Some Dream" came in and rafted off of  "Mongoose Magic.

Since we had not seen our four friends since leaving Ft. Myers in January, happy hour aboard "Mongoose Magic" was great fun for all six of us as we caught up on our winter's activities.

During the two days we waited for a wind shift at Rookery Channel, we dingied over to the Keewaydin Island side of the ICW and walked one minute across the island to the beach.  We enjoyed walking on a beach that one can only get to by boat.  Sue and I collected a lot of nice shells.  At times we were the only people on miles of deserted beach.

On Wednesday the 24th the wind shifted to the east and we sailed towards Ft. Myers Beach.  Unfortunately, the wind died after a couple of hours; and we had to motor the rest of the way.  We picked up mooring ball 30 at 2:45 pm.  That evening we dingied over to Bonita Bills, where we ate peel and eat shrimp right off the boat.  The next evening we were entertained by Canadians Gordan and Margaret Hogan aboard their PDQ 36 "Hogie Cat". 

Saturday was a big day for cruisers in Ft. Myers Beach.  The city threw a party and provided free food and beverage for boaters on the mooring balls.

We had a great time visiting with newly met sailing friends and enjoying free food and beer.  We especially enjoyed the story of the grueling 28 days at sea endured by Tony and Mia who were on the mooring ball next to us.  Engine and rigging problems had made their passage a trial, and they were glad to be safely in the harbor.

After the party we dingied across the harbour to Doc Fords Restaurant to see author Randy Wayne White and purchase some of his books.

Of course, no visit to Ft. Myers Beach would be complete without seeing the beach, which was a little busy.

On Sunday, March 28th we dropped the mooring ball and motored out of the harbor.  We sailed up to and under the Sanibel causeway bridge.  We were able to sail just about all 15 miles up the Caloosahatchee River to Legacy Harbour Marina in downtown Ft. Myers.  We will spend this week getting the boat ready for storage before heading up the river another 40 miles to store the boat for the summer.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like everyone finally put away the heavy sweaters and jackets. Sounds like you had a great winter in spite of the cool weather. We will see you soon, back in sunny northeast Ohio. Pat & George