Day 20 Final Stop
23 October 2011 | Marco Island
Chris/ Need I say More
Day 20 Sunday October 23 Up early, because it's what we do now, but instead of leaving in the dark, we have a delicious and relaxing breakfast aboard the boat while we await the tide. After cleaning up, we're underway at 9:45.
It's yet another perfect day. Sun, warm air, light breezes are what we have as we leave Clearwater behind us. The seas are calm. Where was this when we had an anchor down for 12 hours.
We make our way south into nothing but sunshine. Naples is only 120 miles away, in a straight line. But early on we come to realize 'straight line' does not apply. We're dodging lobster and crab pod buoys right away. Soon the Sunshine Skyway is in sight. It's pretty impressive, even from this distance.
Before long we're slowing down from 30 knots to picture taking speed. As we go by Anna Maria Island, Bob and I compare notes on our visits to, and thoughts about, AMI and Holmes Beach. After seeing how over developed Clearwater has become, I see why Bob and JoJo, and my mother appreciate Anna Maria as they do. I manage, from three or so miles out, to get some good pictures of Playa Encantada, The Sandbar, Martinique, and Bob's place before we power up again.
Before coming back up to speed, we put Bob behind the wheel. He looks awfully comfortable there. We may never get him off the helm. He begins bobbing (no pun intended) and weaving around the numerous pod buoys. He's still got it.
For the next several hours we're involved in a slalom race on the water. You look to the horizon and it appears to be nothing but open water and the autopilot, but it turns out to be more like the river system we left behind Friday than imaginable. If it weren't for our love of crab and lobster, we'd be really annoyed by all these pods.
To say we're annoyed is, though, simply not true. It's incredibly exciting and fun to drive a boat this big and responsive through crab pod fields at 30 knots. It's really a rush, and we're all feeling mighty lucky.
We're making such good time that we consider blowing right by Naples. A couple phone calls to the marinas there make for an easy decision. Despite what the cruising guide says, there are no marinas in Naples that have enough depth, length, and diesel for us. We're going to have to push on to Marco Island. No sacrifice there. That just means more fun on the slalom course.
We get to Rose Marco River Marina around 4:00. It's a ways into the harbor, which is real shallow, now, at low tide. Leaving in the morning will be much easier, when the tide is up. We fuel up putting 619 gallons in the tanks. We ease forward to our dock for the night. After some work and then relaxation, we get ready for dinner. There's a small Tiki restaurant within walking distance.
We have another relaxing start tomorrow as we'll wait until 9 and the rising tide to depart on our final day of the trip. Tomorrow we will be in Fort Lauderdale and will have covered just over than 3000 miles. At this point I think we're all both relieved and disappointed it will be over, but mostly relieved. Here's to a great last day.