Ft Myers to Gasparilla Island
28 April 2017 | Houseboat Bar along ICW near San Carlos bay
Friday, April 28
After another nice breakfast at the I Hop at the North Ft. Myers Best Western, we got an Uber back to the boat and took off for Gasparilla Island. The trip was uneventful and in due course we arrived at Uncle Henry's Marina. Uncle Henry's channel is a piece of work. It twists and turns, but eventually you get there. We got gas, but could not pump out because "it was 4 o'clock." We assumed that we could pump out the next day, but, nay, nay, nay, it was the weekend and they don't pump out on the weekend. The ladies were not happy campers at this news. The holding tank was nearly full, so we had to go to the marina restrooms whenever nature called. That turned out to be the only irritant to our stay, and we were lucky to be there as it turned out.
After we tied up we noticed a guy who seemed to be upset and was being helped by another boat owner. It turned out that the upset guy had reason to be upset. We can't imagine what he was thinking, but he had run his 35' Beneteau sailboat (fixed keel requiring 5 feet of water) aground trying to enter Gasparilla Pass, which is not recommended. The area around the pass is riddled with charted 2- to 3-foot spots and the entire north side of the pass has a 1-foot bar on its border. He was doing 5 knots, much too fast for travelling "skinny water," when he went from 5 feet of water to 2 feet - cracked his hull and he was taking on water. Sea Tow would not move him, and you can imagine why. If they pulled him off, he might sink in deeper water. He was going to need someone skilled in floating and salvaging boats, an expensive proposition. A Florida marine law enforcement boat brought him to Uncle Henry's Marina. Roger heard that the Beneteau sailor was also given a citation, for what he did not hear. Of course, the Beneteau sailor was concerned about people coming along and stripping his boat while he was absent. Nice power boaters in the marina were running him out there to remove stuff from his boat. Although he lives in the Tampa area, Jean heard him tell someone that his wife had to work until 9:30 p.m. We don't know where he spent the night, but he was there bright and early the next morning getting more stuff off of his boat. So, our aggravation over the holding tank issue was nothing compared to a cracked hull. Hope he has insurance. -- JGR