Delilah's Meanderings

Sailing the coastal waters of Southwest Florida, the Keys, and the Bahamas

Vessel Name: Delilah
Vessel Make/Model: Gemini 105Mc Catamaran
Hailing Port: Whiteland, IN
Crew: Mark & Kim Hayes
We have been sailing over 25 years. Starting with a 14 foot sailboat, then a Catalina 22, and next a Pearson 27 before buying our dream boat the Gemini. This is our sixth season aboard Delilah. We are seasonal coastal cruisers, spending the winters on the boat in Florida. [...]
25 February 2021
14 February 2021 | Boot Key Harbor
30 January 2021 | Boot Key Harbor
19 January 2021 | Boot Key Harbor
12 January 2021
05 January 2021 | Pelican Bay, Cayo Costa, Florida
29 February 2020
15 February 2020
08 February 2020
18 February 2019
03 February 2019
25 January 2019
10 March 2018 | Warderick Wells Cay, Exumas
23 February 2018 | Bimini Bahamas
Recent Blog Posts
25 February 2021

Man plans ... God laughs!

I am writing this blog on the couch with my left leg propped up on two pillows in our house in Whiteland, Indiana. A week ago today, I ruptured my left Achilles tendon while playing pickle ball. There was loud pop and I went down. Next thing you know, everyone was helping me and Kim. Applying first [...]

14 February 2021 | Boot Key Harbor

Still Enjoying Marathon

Happy Valentine's Day to everyone from Boot Key Harbor. We continue to enjoy our time in Marathon, especially life on a mooring ball. We've been here for one month and I just paid for another two weeks. This is highly unusual for us to stay in one place. We're not exactly the relaxed type of people! Within [...]

30 January 2021 | Boot Key Harbor

Enjoying Marathon

Kim said it was my turn to do a post ... so both your luck and mine ran out! We are still in Boot Key Harbor, but now tied to mooring ball U1. We were 10th on the waiting list and it took 12 days before we got the call. What a relief it is compared to anchoring in tight quarters in shallow water. [...]

19 January 2021 | Boot Key Harbor

Made it to the Keys!

Hello. We are currently anchored in Boot Key Harbor at the Marathon City Marina. Waiting for a mooring ball. When we arrived on Thursday, January 14, we were #10 on the wait list. Today we are #6. We hope to be on a mooring ball in about a week (or less!).

12 January 2021

Heading to the Keys...

On a quiet morning sprinkled with rain, we set out for warmer temperatures. We have spent the last six nights at Ft. Myers Beach mooring field. Today we are making our way south down the coast to Marathon in the Middle Keys. With luck we might be able to pick up a mooring ball at Boot Key Harbor. There [...]

05 January 2021 | Pelican Bay, Cayo Costa, Florida

And so it begins... Season 6

Just like that we're floating again. Doesn't seem possible. Last season we came home four weeks early due to the pandemic. Things were closing fast behind us as we were racing to get back to the boatyard and eventually home to be safe. After nine months of uncertainty and a lot of isolation, we decided [...]

Man plans ... God laughs!

25 February 2021
Mark & Kim Hayes
I am writing this blog on the couch with my left leg propped up on two pillows in our house in Whiteland, Indiana. A week ago today, I ruptured my left Achilles tendon while playing pickle ball. There was loud pop and I went down. Next thing you know, everyone was helping me and Kim. Applying first aid, bringing Kim in to shore from the boat, giving us a ride to the urgent care center, etc. The urgent care doctor told us he loved pickle ball, paused, then said because it brings him 2-4 new patients a week! I hobbled out of the urgent care place in a walking boot and crutches. After discussing options, we decided it was best to go home ASAP. Getting around in the boat was not easy and worse I couldn't do most things I usually do. Kim was adamant that she could not be my post-surgery caregiver in the confines of the boat. Kim frantically made arrangements ... shuttle to airport, airplane tickets, in network orthopedic surgeon, etc. I was talking to captains about getting our boat delivered to the boatyard. Fortunately for us, boatyard friends with experience on Gemini catamarans were available and happy to help out. They dropped everything, rented a car and were on Delilah the next day. Sunday we caught a shuttle to Fort Lauderdale airport. In the rush to get off the bus with our bags and me intact, Kim left her cell phone on her seat! Yep, things just got worse. Thankfully an Allegiant worker took pity on us, got me in a wheelchair and helped us through security and to our gate. But at first Kim was told by the ticket agent at the counter that we couldn't check in for three hours. The shuttle schedule put us at the airport five hours early. After Kim tried to grasp what she was being told and eventually was in tears, the agent handed our boarding passes to Kim and had called for the wheelchair. To shorten this long story a little, I am scheduled for surgery Monday morning and looking at 6 months before back to normal. I suffered a complete rupture, tendon tore away from the bone and took a little slice of bone with it. Ouch! Once I am back on my feet, we will fly to Florida, finish summerizing the boat and drive our car back home.

Since our last blog on Valentine's Day and before the tendon rupture, we did enjoy a nice day trip to Curry Hammock State Park. Our sailing season was short, but we had a great time in Marathon, made a lot of new friends and continued to learn. Hopefully next season will last a little longer. :)

Until then, be safe, healthy and happy,

Mark and Kim, at home and very thankful for loving friends and family. We couldn't have done it without your help.

Still Enjoying Marathon

14 February 2021 | Boot Key Harbor
Mark & Kim Hayes | calm
Happy Valentine's Day to everyone from Boot Key Harbor. We continue to enjoy our time in Marathon, especially life on a mooring ball. We've been here for one month and I just paid for another two weeks. This is highly unusual for us to stay in one place. We're not exactly the relaxed type of people!

Within a few days of pulling up our anchor and getting comfortable on the mooring ball, we had a strong, gusty wind blow through the harbor. Several boats were dragging anchor. One boat actually drifted back into another boat's anchor line and the propeller got tangled into the anchor line. We happened to be listening to the Boot Key Harbor morning net on VHF (this is a good way to find out all that's going on for that day) so we heard it all unfold. Several people jumped into dinghys and went to help. I believe eventually it took a hired diver to disentangle the mess. The anchor line had to be cut. The anchor was able to be retrieved and no injuries reported. It was a very hectic morning! We stayed on the boat pretty much all day. Played Scrabble, Farkle, Rummy, and 6-card Golf. Mark continued his winning streak. BooHoo. That evening I slept out in the salon on the settee. The thought being that I would feel a little more settled in the center of the boat. (honestly it had nothing to do with losing every game haha) We experienced wind gusting into the 40s. Again, I am so very thankful to be on the mooring ball. :)

We've settled into a routine here. Weather permitting, we play bocce ball on Monday and Wednesday afternoons and pickle ball on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Both are lots of fun. Pretty sure Mark prefers the faster-paced pickle ball. It is great exercise but really hard on our knees. We both wear a knee compression during play and also if we are walking any distance at all now. I usually do laundry once a week early in the morning before the laundry room gets crowded. That same day, we usually have groceries delivered to the parking lot via Instacart. We ride our bikes round trip about six miles to Sombrero Beach. We play cards and board games of an evening. We also manage to get to Upper Crust Pizza each week. We love the pizza, salad, and also a couple of the pasta dishes. But our favorite thing is her weekly homemade desserts. I've probably mentioned this before. Sorry. But the desserts are that good!

One Friday we took the Lower Keys Shuttle Bus to Bahia Honda State Park. Only cost fifty cents each person each way - even if we would have taken it all the way to Key West! Sometimes it pays to be a senior citizen! It was such a beautiful day. We really enjoyed walking along the beach. Browsed the gift shop and they had an ice cream freezer. Jackpot!!! We had packed our lunch so we sat at a picnic table bay side and devoured our peanut butter and jelly. All that walking worked up an appetite. (who am I kidding, I'm always hungry) While eating lunch, Mark saw a really large stingray jump up out of the water. I heard the splash, but missed the show.

The Saturday of Super Bowl weekend, we successfully had a Zoom family meeting. Mark's idea to play BINGO, everyone made their own cards, and he created little squares with the letters/numbers to call out. It was such fun! We played several games and made sure everyone had an opportunity to win. Even the mommys played. Ha! It was hilarious to hear our youngest grandchild, Sloane, (13 months old) randomly yell "BINGO!" I think we are going to try Family Feud next time (Brynn has the Disney version). Should be interesting. I know all the boats around us overheard our BINGO game.

On Super Bowl Sunday we spent the day preparing to take a short trip on the boat. Monday we dropped the mooring ball and took Delilah out to Sombrero Key Lighthouse. This is our fourth time visiting here and our first to go out to the reef. The evening prior was very calm and the morning had light wind so we were hopeful to have calm waters. On the way out, the water was pretty lumpy. Once we were near the reef, it was gorgeous and calm. Gorgeous. We picked up a mooring ball near the lighthouse. The water was about six feet deep around our boat. It was like being on top of an aquarium! I seriously considered not snorkeling since we could see the fish by leaning over the side of the boat. However, I was afraid that I would then regret missing this opportunity. Mark couldn't wait to get in. The water was cold. BRRRR. We bought wetsuits a few years back at a secondhand store in Port Charlotte. They aren't pretty and they aren't true snorkeling/diving wetsuits. But they certainly helped!! I managed to stay in the water for about 20 minutes. The first five was spent trying not to hyperventilate. Lol We saw so many colorful fish and lots of coral. Mark saw a barracuda. I got out right after he told me to hold still while a jellyfish swam right beside me! This was a wonderful experience. Mark snorkeled for almost an hour. Then we had lunch in the cockpit and headed back to the mooring field. We passed not one, but two, sea turtles. They didn't immediately dive under water so we got a nice, long look at them! Later that afternoon we went to happy hour at Castaways with Argies. And saw three manatees drinking water dripping from a hose. What a great day for viewing wildlife!

We've had a little bit of rain off and on. Not much to speak of really. Most days have been sunny and high 70s. The nights are definitely getting stickier. We have seen beautiful sunsets night after night. Who wouldn't want to stay here longer?!

ps Mark spends time posting our "best" photos to this blog. Please remember to look in the monthly photo gallery folders. I think you'll be glad you did!

Enjoying Marathon

30 January 2021 | Boot Key Harbor
Mark & Kim Hayes
Kim said it was my turn to do a post ... so both your luck and mine ran out! We are still in Boot Key Harbor, but now tied to mooring ball U1. We were 10th on the waiting list and it took 12 days before we got the call. What a relief it is compared to anchoring in tight quarters in shallow water. We got the ball on Tuesday, just in time before strong winds returned on Thursday. Even after years of coastal cruising I learned some good lessons on anchoring with help from Tim on Links (a Gemini 105Mc like Delilah). The boating community is a tight knit group and quick to help out a fellow sailor in need.

One bonus during our anchoring days here was that we pulled up a 70 lb Luke storm anchor with 20 feet of chain which got tangled with our anchor line. This anchor is huge and in the style of a traditional fisherman's anchor. We decided to take it home at the end of the season and use it as a lawn ornament. Fortunately it disassembles making it easy to store and transport.

We have been enjoying our time at Marathon. We went to happy hour at Dockside with our friends on Links and listened to live music ... a one man band. Afterwards we went to their boat and played Phase 10. I had forgotten how long this game can take. It was a late night, got to bed after 10pm! As usual we have been eating out at the local restaurants, mostly outside. Everyone is respectful of each other's decision on how to protect themselves from COVID 19 virus. We continue to play bocce ball on the clay courts in the park next to the marina. We both are getting better. A guy stopped and said that there is a group of people from the marina who play regularly at 2pm on Mondays and Wednesdays. So maybe we will join to see how it is really done. There are other activities we could join as well ... pickle ball and yoga. Slow down Grandpa, pace yourself! :)

We don't have TV and it is nice to be disconnected from the "real" world and all the chaos of late. At night we play games and read. Lately I am on a winning streak. Kim is not impressed, she is the competitive one. Also we have been putting some miles on our foldable Dahon bicycles. We use them everyday and usually multiple times a day.

So far so good on the boat, no major issues thankfully. Our Dometic propane refrigerator did have an issue where it wouldn't stop running and was getting too cold. We tried a few things including defrosting it, but no luck. To control the issue we had to manually turn it off and then restart it, a few times each day. After researching this issue, mostly commonly the thermistor (thermostat) needs replaced. We ordered a new one and it arrived in a few days. Another advantage of being here is receiving packages in the marina office. After installing this (which took a few hours) it is working again. You may have heard that the definition of cruising is fixing your boat in exotic locations.

Fair winds,
Mark & Kim aboard Delilah

Made it to the Keys!

19 January 2021 | Boot Key Harbor
Mark & Kim Hayes | Sunny with winds ENE 16 mph
Hello. We are currently anchored in Boot Key Harbor at the Marathon City Marina. Waiting for a mooring ball. When we arrived on Thursday, January 14, we were #10 on the wait list. Today we are #6. We hope to be on a mooring ball in about a week (or less!).

We had a three-day trek to Marathon from Ft. Myers Beach. The first day we motor sailed most of the way (trip was nine hours) to anchor near Panther Key in the Ten Thousand Islands. Pretty quiet day. Rarely saw any other boats on the water. Big news that day was the discovery of a tiny lizard that was our stowaway in the cockpit, Mark spotted a loggerhead turtle near the channel into Marco Island, and we saw so many vultures in the Goodland area. I have never, ever seen anything like this. Straight out of the movie The Birds. They were everywhere...rooftops and trees covered. Bizarre.

On our second day we again motor sailed going from Panther Key to anchor in Little Shark River on the western end of Everglades National Park. This trip was about seven hours which gave us time to settle in after anchoring and enjoy the scenery. The day was absolutely beautiful with very calm waters the whole way. We spotted the lizard again before he did his disappearing act! Mark prepared his delicious pancakes with quinoa for dinner as I was complaining of an uneasy stomach. (works every time!) The weather continued to be slightly cool...but much warmer than at home! We had a good bit of rain during the night with some wind. Little affect on our anchorage as we were pretty tucked in.

Our last leg of this journey was eight hours to Boot Key Harbor in Marathon. Years ago I thought Marathon was the name of the island. Once we began coastal cruising, I found out that the city of Marathon is spread out over several little islands in the middle of the Florida Keys. This day we managed to turn off the motor and sail for a little while. Really enjoyed the quiet with only the noise of the water lapping. At one point while motor sailing, we had to slow down and go into neutral while a large catamaran crossed right in front of us. What are the chances in this vast Florida Bay that two boats are on a course to run into each other?! Pretty unlikely considering how few boats we have seen out here. The crab pots were thick though. At first, we didn't see too many. We fantasized that this trend would continue. Ha! No such luck. It was a crab pot obstacle course for hours.

We dropped anchor about 3 pm in a nice spot on the northeast side of the mooring field, City Marina, Boot Key Harbor. Some friends on another Gemini are here on a mooring ball and had let us know ahead of time about this good spot. We went into the office expecting to pay for a week's stay to begin with. Found out that weekly packages are no longer offered, so we paid for a month. We don't typically stay in one place for a month, but this is a great area to do just that! Our first night here we took the dinghy in and ran across the street to Upper Crust Pizza. The food is delicious there and very convenient to the marina (we've been three times in the last five days.) We had dessert!! The owner makes a dessert of the week and also key lime pie. We had the oreo cheesecake because she recommended it. Wow. Yummy. It was more like the cream inside of a cannoli and less like a typical cheesecake flavor. It had been one week and one day since our last dessert. We loved every last bite.

On our first full day here Friday, January 15, Mark did our normal boat maintenance routine. I did laundry which is always such a great feeling for me. Pretty sure Mark feels the same way about his maintenance tasks. You have to enjoy the little things in life! We took the dinghy to Burdine's and ate way too much. It's a ritual there to start with a basket of french fries. It's big enough for four people to share. We only had two people. haha In the afternoon we rode our bikes to Publix and restocked a few items. Rounded out our day by taking advantage of the marina showers. aaaah warm water.

That evening got a little crazy to say the least. We awoke at midnight to our anchor watch alarm beeping. Sounded like blaring to me. A rain storm was going through with strong winds from the west. Delilah started dragging anchor. We are anchored fairly close to the edge of the mooring field and have several neighboring boats anchored all around us. I know we aren't actually as close as it appears when onboard. However, it was an extremely stressful night. I was at the helm keeping us in position best I could. Mark was on the bow pulling up the anchor to reset it. The wind, the dark night, the noise of the engine, and the rain all contributed to a near nervous breakdown for me. Any hand signals Mark and I usually have to communicate were not effective in the dark. Yelling to communicate was in order. The crying happened later. It took Mark two attempts and he got the anchor reset. We were up most all of the night monitoring the anchor. We were able to get some rest after Mark dropped a second anchor. Our main anchor is a Delta plow and he set our Danforth fluke anchor for the second one. They each hold in a different way. We finally relaxed a little and got a couple hours of sleep.

Saturday was difficult. We were both exhausted. Still very windy day so we didn't feel comfortable leaving the boat. I called Marathon Marina to see if we could get a slip for a couple of nights. They were full. I cried. A lot. My dad's oldest brother used to call it the Houchin waterfalls. Apparently this is a hereditary condition. ;) Mark spoke to our friends on Links (the other Gemini) and they discussed anchoring in the Keys. Speculation is that the anchor got clogged in the grassy bottom and with the violent shift of wind from the west, the anchor then began to drag. It was a drag all right. Much later that afternoon, the wind settled down and we were able to leave the boat to eat at Upper Crust Pizza. We both had pasta instead of pizza. We weren't disappointed. That evening while playing Rummy, we discussed my level of stress while cruising. It helps me to talk it out. Mark is very patient with me - he's heard it all before. We were feeling pretty comfortable with the two anchors. Especially since Mark and our friend moved the second anchor to a better location. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to calm down enough to sleep without taking taking something.

It's now Sunday. A good night's sleep really makes a difference! We filled out day with lots of activities. We went to Marathon Community Park next door and played Bocce ball (Mark was victorious). They have two courts there, along with lots of other amenities. We rode our bikes to the 7 Mile Bridge which I think is about five miles from the marina. Lunch was at Keys Fisheries where we saw a manatee. We stopped in at the Turtle Hospital. It was pretty crowded so we plan to book a tour another day. We went to bed early and both rested well.

On Monday, January 18, Mark got up early and put in three hours on his computer job. I lazed around waiting for our lunch break! We went to Stuffed Pig and had breakfast for lunch. When we returned to the boat, we prepped for another big blow coming our way. Our friend came over in his dinghy with another Danforth anchor. Yes, we decided to put down a third anchor. We haven't used more than one anchor before this trip. Quite a new experience for us. This wind is supposed to stick around for a few days. It will be such a relief to be on a mooring ball. That can't happen soon enough!

We will stay in touch. Probably next blog post will be after we're secured to a mooring ball. WooHoo!

Stay happy, friends!

Heading to the Keys...

12 January 2021
Mark & Kim Hayes
On a quiet morning sprinkled with rain, we set out for warmer temperatures. We have spent the last six nights at Ft. Myers Beach mooring field. Today we are making our way south down the coast to Marathon in the Middle Keys. With luck we might be able to pick up a mooring ball at Boot Key Harbor. There is usually a fairly long waiting list this time of year. I called a few days ago and only six boats in our size range were waiting. Fingers crossed that number hasn't gotten too much higher!

We were in Pelican Bay on our last blog post. We left there Wednesday morning, January 6. The day was cool with enough breeze to motor sail. On our way, we saw lots of wildlife. Always such a pleasure. There was a large fleet of brown pelicans diving for breakfast and later a really big pod of white pelicans lazing on a sandbar. I actually looked up what a group of pelicans are called. There are many names such as pod and squadron and if diving for food together, they are called a fleet. So there you go, you're welcome. ;) We got a kick out of an osprey carrying an enormous stick to his nest above a channel marker. Best of all, we saw four dolphins putting on a show. We passed a double-decker tour boat and the dolphins were playing in front of the bow of the boat. They were so graceful and seemed to really be enjoying themselves! I got a couple of photos. A little fuzzy but still able to see the beauty of the dolphins. We continued to see dolphins on our five-hour trip but nothing quite as impressive as the show for the tour boat!

When we arrived at Ft. Myers Beach, we were assigned mooring ball #6. Wow! We couldn't believe our luck to be up front so close to the dinghy dock and amenities. Picking up the mooring ball was very smooth this time. Wind and current were in sync as were Mark and I. He scoops up the pennant for the mooring ball with me driving the boat. We prefer to use hand signals instead of attempting to communicate by yelling. I'm sure our neighbors in the mooring field appreciate this. Although on second thought, some people enjoy watching an uncomfortable exchange. Yikes.
Next we put Delilah back in order and then took the dinghy in to take advantage of the showers. WooHoo! Dinner was lovely at Parrot Key (Salty Sam's Marina) and we splurged on dessert. Fried banana cheesecake with pelican poop ice cream was so delicious. We made a pact to only have dessert once a week. So far so good. Well, so far so depressing. ha ha

The next day (Thursday, January 7) Mark cleaned up our folding bikes and took them ashore. We rode bikes to Bowditch Point and checked out the beach. Didn't do much walking as Mark is struggling with a sore right knee. Hopped back on the bikes and went a couple miles south for lunch at The Charros Brothers. Then we walked on the boardwalk trails at Matanzas Pass Preserve. Last time we were here, the Preserve was closed. Apparently they were improving the trails because this boardwalk looked very new. When we returned to the boat, we called the office and requested to move further out into the east mooring field. Crazy. But Mark was getting a very poor computer connection and at times would even lose connection altogether. We thought it might be because we were so close to the bridge and various other interferences. We've never had connection trouble in past years moored back in the east field. Moving was necessary as Mark had a project at work that was a priority.

Friday was fairly quiet for us. Dock-master was able to get Delilah's holding tank pumped out before the projected strong winds. Mark worked a full day at his computer job. I worked on our grocery list. Seems I'm constantly doing an inventory of our provisions. Some might say I've got a bit of OCD. We got off the boat for lunch and to stretch our legs. We were both dragging a bit. The night before was as much awake time as sleep time. Delilah was fighting a losing battle to keep away from our mooring ball. Instead of the wind keeping us a nice distance from the ball, the current was much stronger in the opposite direction. This caused the mooring ball to constantly bang along the sides of Delilah. Not being prejudiced, the ball would bang on one side and the other. Also the line from the ball to the cleats on the boat would rub along our front stays. Sometimes even the little mast on top of the mooring ball would get hooked up in the spinnaker track stays and make a strange clang when released. These noises aren't bothersome in the cockpit or on deck, but believe me, they sound pretty mean when trying to sleep inside the boat right near the entire mooring ball set up. Grrrrr. We played Scrabble (instead of Rummy). Mark had an excellent game. He had two bingos! Reminiscing I'm getting some nice feelings about his skill and luck with the tiles. That night while I was getting tromped, not so much.

The next day we went to shore again for lunch off the boat. Sat up on the top deck at The Whale. Very, very breezy but such a great view! Since it was so windy, we decided to stay on Delilah the rest of the day. Mark had gotten up really early to get in his work hours so he did some maintenance work around the boat. Then we sat together and looked over the charts. Talked about where we wanted to go and when. The weather looked to consistently be about 10 degrees warmer at night down in the Keys. No brainer. That evening we played 6-card Golf. We prepared for a really cold evening. Mark got out his sleeping bag and I doubled up on blankets!

On Sunday, we woke up to 53 degrees inside Delilah. Think the temp was about 46 outside. Pretty darn cold. We took the dinghy in fairly early so I could get started on laundry. Mark returned to the the boat and continued working his day job. I am always so happy to have the laundry done. Everything feels fresh again! We picked up our groceries in the early afternoon. Been using Instacart. Groceries get delivered to us in the parking lot of Matanzas Inn office and we dinghy them back to the boat. This system has worked really well for us. The absolute convenience of this costs a little bit more than if we took the shuttle bus to Publix. Thank goodness Mark is able to work part-time from wherever we are! Sunday night is pasta night at Island View Restaurant - top of Lani Kai hotel. We arrived a little early, so hungry. Our server had been so busy that day, she didn't even realize it was time for the special menu. I think we surprised her! We sat right by the window which afforded us a fantastic view of the sunset. We could see a large sand sculpture of a mermaid on the beach below. So many people were stopping to take photos with the mermaid. It was fun people watching! The evening would have been perfect, except two couples were yelling their conversation loud enough to be disturbing. We've done really well with staying outside to eat or being very far away other diners. In this case, they were in the booth behind us with the tall plastic partition above the booth backs. Too close for comfort in many ways.

Our last day ashore on Monday, we decided to lunch again at The Charros Bros. Their food is so fresh and delicious. Our new favorite is vegetarian tostados. Yum yum yummy! We walked again around Matanzas Pass Preserve. We spent most of the day preparing for travel. I cleaned the boat while Mark completed a long to do list getting Delilah ready. I rationalized that since we would be eating all meals on the boat for the next few days, we should also eat dinner out. Went to Original Shrimp Dock Bar & Grill at Salty Sam's. Food there has been hit or miss for us over the years. That night was a definite hit! We both ordered portobello mushroom tacos at the suggestion of our server. She was adorable and oh so right about the tacos! Played Rummy as we do most nights. Went to bed way early. Knew we wanted to get an early start heading south the next day.

So here we are. It's Tuesday and we dropped the mooring ball at 6:40 this morning. Dolphins were eating in groups of two all along our way out of the channel from Ft. Myers Beach out to the Gulf. We've been underway for a few hours. Very little wind so we are motoring. The weather continues to be a light drizzle. Hopefully we'll go all the way to Panther Key to anchor this evening. Then on to Little Shark River the next day and Boot Key Harbor the following day, Thursday, 14th.

Stay safe, friends!

And so it begins... Season 6

05 January 2021 | Pelican Bay, Cayo Costa, Florida
Mark & Kim Hayes
Just like that we're floating again. Doesn't seem possible. Last season we came home four weeks early due to the pandemic. Things were closing fast behind us as we were racing to get back to the boatyard and eventually home to be safe. After nine months of uncertainty and a lot of isolation, we decided to practice social distancing while cruising on Delilah!

This season we tried out a new pre-launch schedule. Mark spent two weeks in the boatyard during November. I joined him for one week along with our daughter and granddaughter visiting from London. We had made the decision not to gather with all of our daughters and their families for Thanksgiving. Therefore, I had a great need to get out of town. We completed as much boat prep as possible with plans to return after Christmas and do a quick finish to be ready to launch. This was a great success! Delilah was the first boat to go into the water Monday morning when Charlotte Harbor Boat Storage staff returned from holiday break!

Our experience through the self-operated lock into Charlotte Harbor was easy breezy. Whew! Always a bit nerve racking. The anticipation is much worse than the execution. Speaking of anticipation, Mark was so excited to get out into the "big" water that we blew right past the step to close the lock on the harbor side. Going through the lock, Mark is at the helm and I operate the gate controls at the lock. So after many hand motions and much yelling on my part, Mark finally realized what I was saying and we backed up. Off to a great start!!

We had a favorable wind and sailed for a bit heading to Pelican Bay. Lunch was kale slaw and leftover pizza. This is actually the first time I have ever eaten cold pizza. I'm a late bloomer when it comes to dining outside of my comfort zone. haha
It was a truly beautiful day - we took advantage of our auto pilot and ate out on the front deck. Just about anything would have tasted good. We arrived mid-afternoon, anchored, and took a big, relaxing breath. It's so quiet and peaceful here. Not as many boats anchored as we usually see. Maybe because this is about two weeks earlier than our typical schedule. Mark took a test drive in the dinghy while I prepared spaghetti and salad for dinner. After playing a few rounds of rummy, we were asleep shortly after 9 pm. The first day is exhausting.

The air this morning was crisp and clear. I baked cinnamon rolls. Very yummy. Then we rushed around to dinghy in to shore and walk to the beach off of Cayo Costa State Park. When we first arrived at the beach, not another person to be found. I can't really describe how calming it is for us to see the vast gulf off an island that has no vehicle access and few inhabitants. We are blessed and grateful for these opportunities. We walked about a mile south down the beach to a pretty inlet. I'm sure Mark will post photos showing the inlet and our treasures found along the way. We initially agreed that on this walk gathering shells was not necessary. Easier said than done. Besides, a perfectly good white bucket washed ashore right in front of us. Serendipitous. We used the bucket to carry our priceless treasures (shells, coral, smooth sand dollars). The return walk was peppered with fellow beach worshipers who got a later start than us. Once back on Delilah, we shared a smorgasbord lunch consisting of apples with peanut butter, cottage cheese and tomato, broccoli and carrots with hummus, and also avocado with chips.

Now Mark is catching up on computer work for his day job (he usually averages 10 hours of work a week while cruising). And I am recording our very first blog post for 2021! More to come as we venture along.

Stay healthy, friends.
Delilah's Photos - Main
6th season aboard Delilah - February 2021
20 Photos
Created 7 February 2021
6th season aboard Delilah - January 2021
37 Photos
Created 5 January 2021
5th season aboard Delilah - March 2020
22 Photos
Created 4 April 2020
5th season aboard Delilah - February 2020
63 Photos
Created 4 February 2020
5th season aboard Delilah ... January 2020
35 Photos
Created 22 January 2020
4th season aboard Delilah ... April 2019
13 Photos
Created 5 May 2019
4th season aboard Delilah ... March 2019
49 Photos
Created 4 May 2019
4th season aboard Delilah ... February 2019
37 Photos
Created 2 February 2019
4th season aboard Delilah ... January 2019
31 Photos
Created 15 January 2019
2 Photos
Created 29 December 2018
April 2018 - third season aboard Delilah
13 Photos
Created 8 April 2018
3rd season aboard Delilah ... March 2018
63 Photos
Created 3 March 2018
3rd season aboard Delilah ... February 2018
67 Photos
Created 9 February 2018
3rd season aboard Delilah ... January 2018
25 Photos
Created 24 January 2018
13 Photos
Created 5 April 2017
83 Photos
Created 1 March 2017
42 Photos
Created 2 February 2017
1 Photo | 4 Sub-Albums
Created 7 January 2017
49 Photos
Created 6 January 2017
Getting Delilah ready for 2nd season.
3 Photos
Created 6 January 2017
15 Photos
Created 9 February 2016