It was an ugly landing but "we walked away"
28 April 2017 | Naples Pier
Ft Meyers to Naples Saturday 4-22-17
We got underway about 0815 without incident and proceeded Westward along the Okeechobee Waterway toward mile 0 where the ICW ( Intra Coastal Waterway ) originates on Florida's West coast. On reaching this point, we continued South through the Sanibel Channel into the Gulf. Conditions were about as expected except the 2-4 foot chop was superimposed on 4-6 foot swells with a period about a boat length apart. This produced
exaggerated pitching and an uncomfortable ride for the next four hours. The wind was as predicted out of the Southeast along our reciprocal course and offered no hope of sailing unless we wanted to bear off and arrive in Naples sometime Sunday.
The gulls took the conditions gamely, ingested the appropriate
medication and soldiered on until we rounded the outer markers at Naples Inlet and lost the 4-6 foot swells. As we motored up the long channel, the sky was darkening over Naples and it looked like we would probably get wet. Our arrival at the fuel pier was about 1530 and in the 30 minutes it took us to refuel and pump out the sanitary tank the rain hit with a vengeance.
In the Naples City Marina office the staff gave us directions to our
berth and we tried to wait out the rain. By now it was past 1600 and quitting time for the staff so with a slight reduction in the rain intensity we went ahead to make our landing. It wasn't pretty! As we rounded the perpendicular pier to where we could see our berth for the first time, the rain returned to deluge intensity, the channel to the berth was barely wider than the length of the boat, the boat moored in the berth across from us was stern to with it's bow anchor stuck out about 10 ft
into the channel, and the wind was setting us on. We tried to get as far to the left as possible to make the right turn into the berth and move as slowly as possible to reduce our turning radius when the wind caught us and pushed the boat into the bow anchor. Major aesthetic damage was averted by an alert deck crew. Roger and Jean pounced on the anchor and fended us off allowing the helmsman to back out and try again. The second try was not pretty either but we managed to slip into the berth that was only 18" wider than the boat with the help of the marina staff and superior deck work by our gallant deck hands, all without any
serious dings on the hull. The helmsman was seriously ready to splice the mainbrace but was forced to drink a cup of hot chocolate first??? It wasn't 1700 yet? Ten minutes later the rain stopped, ****!
G L Ray, CDR, SS, USNR-Ret.