The later days of December found TARDIS at Ding Darling Anchorage, Ft Myers and Marco Island as we expanded our list of anchorages on Florida's west coast.
The anchorage is on the northeast shore of Sanibel Island and is well protected from south and west winds. Finally we had southwest wind. It is a beautiful spot with awesome sunrises and sunsets.
While there we did a long kayak trip marked through Ding Darling National Wildlife Reserve, over 5 miles in some very strong current.
We expected more birds then what we found in the area as we are used to Cayo Costa area. The trail was fun however.
Ft Myers Yacht Basin - Mooring Field
Next stop was Ft Myers yacht basin and the mooring field. Eileen was nervous about picking up a mooring ball. Here we spent Christmas and hung on ball #60 for 8 nights. It was nice for once not to worry about the anchor. The mooring pennant must have been nearly an inch in diameter. At each tide change TARDIS changed direction, sometimes facing the wind and the current always overpowered the wind.
Luckily it was slack tide and Charlie could ease the boat up to the ball and TARDIS stayed there while Eileen hooked the painter on the ball at first stab with the boat hook. All went well once we figured we needed a dock line too.
Our location as just under a mile from the free dinghy dock under Mantanzas Pass Bridge and Bonita Bills. Our favorite place is Bonita Bills. We've been there before. Inexpensive beer, cheap breakfasts and fun people. And with a dinghy dock and live entertainment.
We got our exercise! Our ball was located in the east mooring field on the corner near the beach. It was a great location and we would pick it again if(when) we return.
Water tanks were filled, groceries replenished, laundry completed and lots of fun places visited. This is the dinghy dock near Topps Grocery that is on the beach. Interesting place with interesting people.
Christmas Eve and Day were quiet and we enjoyed our walks among the closed stores and restaurants. Ft Myers Beach was packed however, not our cup of tea, thus only one visit to the beach.
We did go to Trico Fish Market more than once to pick up fresh shrimp and various fish caught locally for fantastic meals aboard.
Charlie worked on the boat while on the mooring while Eileen did the water runs. It was a 2 mile round trip to the water spigot.
Finding water leaks
Installing new to us self tailing winch that Joe gave us.
Marco Island - Factory Bay
Our last anchorage in 2017 before heading to Everglades City for New Years Eve was Marco Island. A couple views along the way.
Marco sustained major damage in Irma and we were not sure what to expect. The recommended anchorage in Smokehouse Bay proved to dangerous for us to enter without local knowledge so we anchored in Factory Bay. We spent two nights there in windy conditions. There is allot of commercial traffic and a Pirate Cruise that provided great entertainment throughout the stay. Dinghy docks were tough to find but the good people at Walkers Marine accommodated us and requested we don't tell anyone - so you did not hear this from TARDIS. Close to grocery, West Marine, Ace Hardware and a great little breakfast place.
We always find time to cook great food and eat healthy.
And utilize some things we won thru the years. This little gem is from a regatta on the Highlander at Indian Lake in 2002.
We also see some interesting things while traveling whether on the kayak, walking or TARDIS
Plus we (EILEEN) finds time and places to exercise
and at night...there's Dr Who on the big screen
NEW YEARS EVE
We left Marco early on NYE for the 32 mile sail to anchor in Russells Pass near Everglades City. There was good wind and we were able to sail to Cape Romano Shoals where we started the motor and motor sailed through the shoals to the pass. There are three recommended spots to anchor and we picked the middle anchorage. Tides and currents are strong in the area in the 5-6 foot range. Who gets to spend NYE at anchor with no lights? We do!