My husband has been after me for months to do something about our blog since I have not posted anything since January 2015. I also have received many comments in Christmas cards asking why I do not blog anymore, so here’s the scoop. I …
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Monday the 5th; we left about 09:00 at low tide and we still had 3.3′ below our props. The winds were calm during the night but by 08:00 they picked up again but out of the south this time. It was early when we went through the “Miserable Mile” and this is the first time ever all the boats obeyed the No Wake zone. There were only 10 boats encountered but still that was good. It was in the mid 70’s all day with the sun coming out sporadically most of the day otherwise, it was overcast. We got to the City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin Marina about 11:30, got fuel and a pump out and were in our slip by 12:15. As of yesterday, we had anchored 22 out of 26 days. It will be nice to be at a marina for a while. After settling in we spent the afternoon washing the boat and washing clothes. This evening we went to Joe’s Crab Shack for dinner.
CO’s Comments: Boy, were the Mussels ever good!
01-05-2015: On our way to Joe’s Crab Shack for a delicious meal.
Tuesday the 6th: We got things done around the boat this morning and rented a car this afternoon to do the usual errands.
Saturday the 3rd:
Very quiet day. We did some research on crab traps and have decided we need a better trap with the proper weights and bait. Found some on line and will order when we get to a marina. We put the dinghy up and got ready to move again in the morning. It was another beautiful day and evening.
Sunday the 4th:
We got going about 10:30 on a rising tide. We did our usual thing with Keith taking the bridal off and pulling anchor and I did the driving. Normally I am OK with this arrangement but today was challenging. We had a 10 knot wind and there were several boats close by in the bay. This stresses me out some. I am working on it though and I did OK. It was windy on the ICW too with winds picking up to 11 to 12 knots. We only had 21miles to our stop for the night at San Carlos Bay, Ding Darling anchorage. We have been here before and like this anchorage. Our original plan was to anchor just off of St. James City (across the bay from Ding Darling) because we have never anchored there before. But the winds were coming out of the south, so Ding Darling was a better choice. We put 60′ of anchor rode out and had 5.5′ of water under the props. Winds calmed down by 18:00 for a pleasant evening sitting out on the front of the boat. My good friend, Nancy, called as we watched the sun set. It was good to hear from her.
01-04-2015: Sun set, moon rise, and full moon on San Carlos Bay, Fort Myers Beach, FL
CO’s Comments: Nothing like sitting out on the boat with lights off in the distance and the moon shinning brightly. It is very peaceful and we love the solitude of it all.
Thursday the 1st:
It was another day like yesterday; cool and overcast this morning and the sun came out early this afternoon and was partly cloudy. We went for a dinghy ride this afternoon after getting caught up on the blog, checking my crab trap, etc.
01-01-2015: Saber Yacht, the CO wants this to be our next yacht.
Friday the 2nd:
Another foggy morning and 67 degrees. We took the tree down and put all our Christmas decorations away this morning. This afternoon brought the sun out and temps back up in the mid 80’s. We took the dinghy to the park dock and went for a long walk on some of the many marked trails. This evening we sat out on the boat and watched the beautiful sun set. I blew my conch horn as the sun went down and was answered by many other boaters with a like response. Those without conch horns responded with their boat horns. It was awesome to hear all the horns blowing.
01-02-2015: This is the best sun rise we could get for a foggy morning at Cayo Costa.
01-02-2015: Walking the trails at the park.
01-02-2015: The XO and CO on our walk in the park.
01-02-2015: Red sky at night, sailors delight
CO’s Comments: What is there to say other than another great couple of days in paradise.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
It was supposed to be warm in the 80’s with sun shine but the sun didn’t come out until it was time to set and it only got to the mid 70’s with a cool wind blowing all day long. We took the dinghy over to the park area this morning and went for another ride later this afternoon. Being New Year’s Eve day we couldn’t believe how many boats came in; there had to be over 100 boats in this bay. I checked my crab trap this morning and nothing was in it. The thin lines that came on the trap were all tangled up so I replaced them with stronger line and put it back out for tonight. Here’s hoping I get something. Had a delicious dinner tonight; lobster, steamed broccoli, and fried cheese bread and a toast to the New Year,
CO’s comments: A good scotch and a wonderful wife. I could not ask for a better end to the year.
12-31-2014: Anchorage at Cayo Costa
12-31-2014: My crab trap
Tuesday, 12-30-2014: We only had about 12 miles to go for the day and it was a good thing because we woke up to dense fog and it hung around until about 11:00. We finally got going at 11:35 and had to wait 15 minutes for the Boca Grande Bridge to open at noon. This was our last bridge for a while. We crossed Charlotte Harbor/Boca Grande Pass right after the bridge. We started out with clear visibility but half way across it fogged in again; almost to zero visibility. The CO had to turn the radar on. Our anchorage for the next few day is at Cayo Costa State Park and it is a very popular anchorage; both for Loopers and local boaters. We always try to stop here. We put 50 feet of anchor rode out with 2.3′ of water under the props at low tide. After lunch, we put the dinghy back in the water and went for a ride over to the park.
I have always wanted to fish the Gulf and ICW for crab, lobster, snook, etc. It has been 5 years now and this year is the first time I bought a license. So, today, I put my crab trap out for the night and before dinner I fished for an hour or so. I loved every minute of it; didn’t catch anything, but I did get a few bits.
For the last two to three week we have been hearing popping and crackling sounds on our hull and we can’t figure out what it is. We just had the bottom painted and Keith thought it might be something to do with the bottom paint. We have checked with Dog River Marine who painted the bottom for us and we have also called the paint manufacture. Dog River thought it might be barnacles but didn’t know for sure. Keith checked the bottom and every thing is smooth. So far it remains a mystery.
In looking back to the first part of December; we always wanted to do the Big Bend instead of the all night Gulf crossing. We were looking forward to anchoring our way around the bend of Florida and exploring all the nooks and crannies. But, due to the weather, we were not able to do that. W are; however, anchoring as much as possible. Since leaving Mobile, AL, we have anchored 16 out of 20 days so far and plan to do a lot more. It has been great fun. We never could do this without our inverter.
CO’s comment: Always something; weird sounds, fog, etc. Always a challenge.
12-30-2014: My very first “Selfie”
12-30-2014: Dolphin in Charlotte Harbor
12-30-2014: Kim Jo IV at Cayo Costa anchorage
12-30-2014: Our anchorage at Cayo Costa
Sunday the 28th : This is about the 6th time we have been to this anchorage but it is the first time we put the dinghy in the water and stayed a while. We put the dinghy in this morning and went up the canal a ways. We went under the bridge and Keith dropped me off at the drainage ditch area. We tied up to a private dock/home that looked vacant so I got off at their dock. Getting off the dinghy there was challenging but I made it without a mishap. I walked up the ditch about 1/4 mile to Publix and got a few things while Keith waited for me in the dinghy. When I got back with groceries I waited 10 minutes or so for Keith to come back to my drop off place. A gentleman, a few homes down from where I was, offer Keith a tie up at his dock if we had to come back, which we thought was very nice. We came back to the boat and listened to the Packer game on the Packer website radio station; we can’t get any TV reception in our anchorage. Packers over the Lions, 30 to 20; GO PACKERS!
12-28-2014: Canal opening from our anchorage
12-28-2014: Canal has a small island in the middle which we went around
12-28-2014: Homes on both sides of the canal
12-28-2014: We tied up just on the other side of this bridge
12-28-2014: Drainage ditch up to highway
12-28-2014: Fountain in the middle of a round-about just before the highway
12-28-2014: I am here with my groceries but no Keith
12-28-2014: Kim Jo IV at Cape Haze anchorage
Monday the 29th: Our last day at this anchorage. We took the dinghy out again and did some exploring. Also, went back up the canal and this time I stayed in the dinghy while Keith walked up to the Liquor store. The last two days have been beautiful, in the 80’s, sunny with a few clouds. We just got a call from our friends, Craig and Connie, in Minnesota and it is supposed to get down to -20 degrees tonight; Burr.
CO’s comments: Again, another one of our favorite anchorages.
12-29-2014: Still some Christmas decorations up on the canal.
12-29-2014: Kim Jo IV at Cape Haze anchorage from the channel.
Saturday, 12-27-2014: Low tide was at 11:15 this morning so we got going about 09:00 to get ahead of it. We had 9 bridges today but only had to have 3 of them opened. It saves us a lot of time by putting our large antenna down so we can make it under 22′ bridge clearances rather than 29′. It was a beautiful, sunny day and 75 degrees. Being a Saturday, it brought a lot of weekend boaters out and the waterway was pretty busy. Keith did most of the driving because of all the traffic and also the water was really shallow most of the day. I get too stressed out when the depth alarm keeps going off. Thank you Keith for driving all day.
We got to our anchorage by 14:00, put out 50 feet of anchor rode in about 4 to 5′ of water.. We have stopped here many times in the past and were always alone in this anchorage. Today there was another boat anchored already; a Gold Looper from Punta Gorda. About an hour later, another boater came in, this one was in the process of doing the loop and was from Portsmouth, NH. During the afternoon, several day boaters came in and out of the anchorage.
CO’s comment: Here we are in a 54′ boat, drawing 5′ of water with only 2′ under the keel. People are waving at us to get out of the channel so they can drive their 16′ boats down the center; unbelievable. I was ready to use my horn several times but I knew the XO would get upset so I didn’t. I guess they do not know that larger vessels have the right-of-way?. Once, several years ago, we said we would never travel on the weekend; guess that went by the wayside.
12-27-2014: Cape Haze anchorage, a busy place today.
Friday, 12-26-2014: We had a 5 hours day planned with at least 5 bridge opening so after staying a second day at Longboat Key we got going this morning by 10:00. The tide was just starting to come up and we had some very skinny water for a while. Sarasota Bay had a light chop and was shallow; 4 to 5 feet most the way. By 11:30 we decided to stop early as we were in no hurry. This way we would not have to worry about getting to our anchorage before dark. We anchored by the Ringling Causeway bridge in Sarasota in about 6′ of water just adjacent to the Bait Shop. We tried this anchorage last spring for the first time and it worked well for just an over night.
CO’s comment: The only downside to this anchorage is all the boat traffic; it is rock and roll all afternoon.
12-25-2014: Kim Jo IV at Longboat Key
12-25-2014: Moore’s restaurant
12-25-2014: Sun Set at Longboat Key
12-26-2014: Our Sarasota anchorage; lots of building going on here, Ringling Causeway Bridge, and the Bate Shop
Tuesday, 12-23-2014: Low tide was about 07:30 so we waited until 10:45 before leaving to have some water under our boat. We made a quick stop at Clearwater Municipal at 11:45 and picked up our mail and were back on the water by 12:00. There are a lot of bridges on this part of the ICW so it was kind of slow going but we were doing pretty good. We got to the Welch Bridge in Madeira Beach and called the bridge tender for an opening and he told us it was temporarily out of order and he did not have an estimated time of opening. We pulled over to the side of the ICW and dropped anchor; by this time it was 13:30. We waited and we could hear them trying to open the bridge without success, it was stuck in the down position. The bridge tender would give us periodic updates. Finally by 15:30 we decided to stay put for the night as we would not have enough daylight to get to our planned destination so we let the bridge tender know.
By 20:00 the bridge was still out of order. We will see if it ready in the morning. It was a nice evening but a little windy. We sat out on the front of the boat and listened to live music coming from the American Legion Christmas party. We sat for a good hour or so, they were playing music from the 60’s and 70’s and I knew all the songs. It was an enjoyable evening.
12-23-2014: Our make shift anchorage at Mile 122.5.
12-23-2014: American Legion to our port.
12-23-2014: Closed Welch Causeway Bridge
Wednesday, 12-24-2014: Merry Christmas
We got going by 07:30. The bridge still was not working but we had low tide so we slowly drove under the bridge with barely enough room. We had 5 bridges today and made it under 4 without having an opening. I guess low tide is good for something. Cortez Bridge was the last one of the day and only had 18′ clearance so we called for an opening.
We crossed Tampa Bay this morning. It started out with a light chop, then went to a light chop with 3′ waves, and we ended up with 6′ waves on our bow; it got very rough there for a while. It was 10:30 and we were almost across the Bay and we were trying to open the front window. We obviously were not paying attention and we went aground to our port side. We were only a foot or so out of the channel but that was enough to get us stuck. We tried to get ourselves off without success so we called “Tow Boat US”. While Keith was on the phone, a man and his son who were out fishing nearby, asked if they could help us so we said OK. He took our anchor with lots of chain out and dropped it in the channel, then we brought the anchor chain up with the windless and it pulled us off the ground and back to the channel. We were back on our way by 11:30. We thanks the man and his son, gave him some money, and wished them a Merry Christmas. Thank goodness they came along because who knows how long it would have taken “Tow Boat US” to get there. As far as we can tell the boat is OK. We may have a little damage to our pride, but we can handle that. We got to our tie up for the night at Moore’s Stonecrab Restaurant, Longboat Key, FL, Mile 85.0 by 12:30. After we got settled in we went to the bar for a few drinks and lunch. Everyone at the bar commented on how beautiful they thought our boat was. This one older lady came up to us and said she was in awe that just the two of us could handle such a large ship. That made us feel good. We had dinner at the restaurant this evening. It started to rain some while we were eating but it was still warm in the 70’s. Glad we are tied up.
CO’s comment: Remember the old adage; “Fly the plane”. Outside the channel, it doesn’t get shallow gradually, it just drops off. We went from 10 feet in the channel to 4 feet and with a 5 foot draft, that isn’t good.
12-24-2014: Tied up at Moore’s Stonecrab Restaurant