02/09/2013, Key West Florida
Everglades City to Key West
Three day trip, good weather, recalcitrant winds. Upwind the first two days, downwind the last but a wind of 2 knots. We did manage to sail the third day for a few hours until the wind switched around and died off. Engine performing perfectly. Sails in good shape. Wish we had a spinnaker, not for the first time. It makes sailing downwind, especially in light wind possible. Crab pots everywhere, especially day 2, as far as you can see, more crab pots. Such a pain if you pick them up on your prop, even on the rudder they can hobble or even disable you. Tom is exhausted at the end of the day from concentrating for 7 hours straight.
We anchored out next to a long deserted beach on East Cape, bit jumpy overnight, and a mud bottom. We dragged anchor but did not end up aground thank goodness. No internet, cell phone or radio out there. Peaceful though and amazing stars. Nice to let the dogs run free. Sammy got covered in some kind of Velcro seed we had not seen before. I think it will take us months to get them all out. He is happy though.
We have booked into a fancy marina in Key West. Looking forward to the pool and doing all the Key West things.
02/05/2013, Rod and Gun Club, Everglades City, Florida
What a lovely place, this is definitely us. A small town, despite the grand name, set on the edge of the Big Cypress National Preserve, between it and the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve, both of which are part of the Everglades protected area. It is out of the way, sleepy and old fashioned. We are staying at the Rod and Gun club, an historic old hunting and fishing club with a famous past, just dripping atmosphere. Numerous presidents and celebrities have stayed here, back in the day. Quiet, with not much happening now, although apparently the Seafood festival next weekend is a major event with country music, lots of seafood and crowds of visitors.
This morning we went on a kayak tour through the Everglades swamp. Wow! I was one kayak length away from 13 ft alligators, gorgeous birds everywhere, see pics at www.picasaweb.google.com/bcaldoc.. Absolute magic for 4 hours. We were escorted by Justin Shurr of Shurr Adventures a friendly and knowledgeable guide. Back to the boat for lunch and a relaxing afternoon by the very attractive pool. Strolling the neighbourhood with the dogs.
We have decided to stay an extra day, dinner tonight at the Gun club, and bicycling tomorrow. We will explore the town and maybe go over the causeway to Chokoloskee. Graham and Marie cannot make it after all, but this place is great. We will have to entice them down next year.
02/04/2013, Rod and Gun Club, Everglade City, Florida
A gorgeous day to sail and sail we did, from Naples down to Everglade City. We were able to put up the sails and the engine is working perfectly. Water system woes fixed as well. Finally getting this boat in shape, and getting ourselves into vacation mode. We have tied up at the Rod and Gun Club, a famous old Florida hotel. Beautiful old hunting lodge style. Friendly people.
Tomorrow we plan to take a kayak tour of the Everglades. Our friends Marie and Graham will hopefully be able to join us soon.
02/02/2013, Naples City Dock, Naples Florida
Our trip down from Fort Myers on Thursday was a big success. Enough wind to sail with the engine off for a while. Divine peace. The engine performed beautifully, not a hitch. Maybe we fixed it!!
Spent yesterday lazing around the boat catching up on reading and crocheting. In the afternoon we got out the bikes and rode around downtown, took a walk on the beach. Sunny and beautiful, too many people though, not enough birds. People watching is fun though. Saw some sights, including a man in his 70's in a neon green thong bikini. Could have done without that. A couple of large young Muslim women in complete head to toe robes and scarves etc. frolicking in the ocean, closely, that is 2-3 feet away attended by their large father in a tiny bikini bottom.
I have managed to complete 6 baby hats and 4 pairs of booties which I mailed off to my daughter. Half hour line up at the post office. Friendly though, like the large majority of Americans.
Renting a car today, shopping on the agenda and dinner out with friends.
01/30/2013, Legacy Harbour Marina, Fort Myers, FL
Tom got in two golf games while we were here, one yesterday in Naples with Don, while Jan and I visited the Naples Botannical Gardens. They are having a ZimSculpt exhibition. Scattered throught the gardens, which are gorgeous on their own, are hundreds of sculptures from Zimbabwe. Amazing work, and the sculptures are perfectly placed to complement the gardens. Well worth the walk through. Pics at www.picasaweb.google.com/bcaldoc
Three full days were spent replacing the fuel delivery system on the boat. We have new lines, a new fuel selector valve, and a new Raycor housing. Multiple trips back and forth to Napa and West Marine. (Strip mall land, the downside of the conveniences of Florida). Several hitches along the way, who knew three way valves come in multiple configurations? But we are hopeful that we have solved the problem. Time will tell.
Had a great meal here at Joe's Crab Shack. A chain, we only went because they had a location right on the marina. Lots of fresh perfectly cooked crab and lobster. Excellent key lime pie. Rough and ready atmosphere and décor, bins for your shells, bibs for your mess. Good wine as always in Florida. Dinner out with friends yesterday at The Bonefish Grill in Naples. Again, good wine and excellent food. Considerably more upscale.
Missing the Bahamas, the clear beautiful turquoise water. The wonderful white sand beaches. The deserted islands and abundant marine wildlife.
01/25/2013, Legacy Harbour Marina, Fort Myers, FL
We reached Fort Myers Wednesday, after spending one night anchored in the Caloosahatchee river at a spot determined by engine failure. Worked out fine though, we were able to get the dogs to shore and stumbled on an off season kids camp. Plenty of room for the dogs to run free. Very nice. Pleasant to anchor for a change, so quiet and peaceful. Lots of pics on the river. Birds galore, no alligators though. Not this year. Too cool and water too high we think.
The next day we limped along, same engine problem, seems better at slower speeds. We arrived in Fort Myers early afternoon and have settled in Legacy Harbour marina. A beautiful marina, well run, nice facilities, nice people. We were able to enlist the help of Rob Brylinski, a marine diesel mechanic who was on site fixing another boat. He was kind enough to come over and listen to our tale of woe. He thinks we have a fuel restriction problem, and gave us several ideas for fixing it.
Very shortly after we arrived a couple appeared at our door, Canadian sailors from Sudbury on a Gem! Brenda and John on "Some Dream". They have a 97 Gemini 105M in absolutely perfect condition. What a lovely boat. Inspired me to clean up the mess and scrub our boat today while Tom golfs. Last night we attended a boater's potluck at the Tiki bar and met more people, including more Canadians. As a matter of fact, Tom ran into someone from his home golf club, Devil's Pulpit and they have gone off golfing today.
We have decided to stay a week. We rented a car yesterday and ran errands, picking up various bits and pieces for the fuel system. That will be today's job I guess. Poor Tom, he has become a diesel mechanic and general fix-it guy despite his best, life long efforts to avoid fixing anything. Not really much choice on a boat.
We will probably give Naples a miss. Tom can drive down to visit his friend Don and get a few golf games in. I will likely come along and get in a shopping day.
Pictures at www.picasaweb.google.com/bcaldoc