You now I had this sail with a couple from Canada, John and Judi. Once again, new friends were made and memories that will never be forgotten. It all started when they made a phone call and wanted to go sailing for a few days. It's always hard to pass that up, in my case.
We made the plans and it all came together just fine…
After stocking with provisions on the 11th, John & Judi came down to the boat at around 0830 and we all got settled on Star of Orion
for our voyage. The weather was checked and we had a great window for the next 4 days. We headed out Pass and went south with plans to anchor at Marco Island tonight. The sail was wonderful but we were plagued with light winds and we motor sailed and sailed through the day.
Well we decided that to sail more the next day, we should change our destination to Naples. We could head in Gordon Pass and go all the way up to the City Dock, but a friend of mine, Capt. Ray, told me, one time about an anchorage that was just inside and had great protection from all directions. I called him up and put on my trusty blue tooth, zoomed in on the GPS and followed his directions once we were in the channel.
I never would have made that turn to port. All I saw was 4 to 5 feet depth on the chart, but Capt. Ray said, "Just keep on going and stay to the left of the channel." So I did, (at about a knot), and eased my way into another channel where we dropped the hook for the night. It was great. Thanks Capt. It was good holding and real smooth. It was a good night with a great sunset topped off with a full moon.
We woke up, had breakfast and headed back out into the channel and toward the entrance of Gordon Pass.
As you can see, on the way out we pass the classic "Southwest Florida" photo op. It's just sand, blue sky, light clouds and palm trees.
Good by Naples and once again, thanks Capt. Ray for making my balls just that much bigger. (I would have never found that place on my own with the marked water depths of 4 to 5 feet.) Off for another day of sailing…
And sail we did. We had some fun. We headed off shore about 8 miles and got to see more crab trap balls than I've ever seen. Just like going through Iowa and seeing corn… "It's everywhere." And so were they. Every color you could think of and they even intersected with each other. Just everywhere. Since the wind was on our nose, we sailed as long as we could and then we motor sailed back up toward our next destination… Glover Bight to anchor for the night.
But as were were passing Fort Myers Beach, I broke a traveler line and called Capt. Ron. Not the guy from the movie. Capt. Ron had just purchased the line to do this project and he told us he would meet us at Salty Sam's Marina and we could do the repair that night.
So we pulled into Star of Orion's home slip and spent the night there instead of Glover Bight. Being a cruiser, it's pretty easy to change plans. The only problem of being in the slip was that we were having very low tides because of the full moon, so the time I could get out of the C/D channel was calculated. It would have to be at around 0400.
At that time of the morning we had a full moon, and when we headed out we hit fog. Visibility was about 50 yards. So up went the radar ball and we sailed through the fog around Sanibel Island. John and Judi were up and stayed up for the first couple of hours and then opted to take a snooze, so back to bed they went.
We motored up the coast and then when we came up to my favorite marker, marker 2, (She's a bell buoy), the first marker that heads into the Boca Grande the wind was up and we were turning east so we could put up the laundry and sail for a couple of hours pushing about 5 miles into Charlotte Harbor.
It was great sailing too. A good solid 18 miles per hour. So I had more calculating to do. We were going to anchor at Pelican Bay, but if we did we couldn't get out until about 1300 the next day. That was too late. So the decision was to cruise through Pelican Bayu and then drop the hook just off Usepa Island across from Cabbage Key.
So we did and it was another great place to catch a sunset, have a coldie and cook dinner. We listed to music and I broke out my guitar and played a bit as well as listened to John play a bit. I can't wait to see him with a classical guitar in his hands.
The morning was wonderful. It always is when you've been sailing for 3 days. Today we headed south down the Intracoastal Waterway. It was a smooth trip and John held the helm all the way down. He can sail with me any day. In fact we are talking about doing a cat in the BVI's in 2010. John and Judi, let's make that happen. I just found another Canadian couple that we should talk to…
Anyway it was a good day. We got through the Sanibel Causeway Bridge and the wind was in our favor so we hoisted the sails and sailed San Carlos Bay and a bit of the Gulf and made it back to our home port just before the oncoming front came in.
We put on close to 200 nm and they were all good. Every one of them.
I gave them a ride to my apartment and got them on their way. They had rented a convertible and I told them the night was great, so put the top down and enjoy the ride. They did and took off. I moved my stuff into the house and walked back out and it was pouring outside. I mean pouring.
Well don't listen to me, what the hell do I know.
In any case, it was a great time. I had a ball. They did too and we'll do it again.
Since that time, I've been sailing like crazy. The 800 number is ringing and the weather has been cool, but it's been sunny. The sailing season is off to a great start and I look forward to sailing with all you folks out there soon.
Remember it's first come first serve and I only take 6 at a time. If you are looking for overnight passages, please call early so I can insure your dates. That goes for the half day and sunset sails too.
Sailing in Fort Myers Beach
is the best value for your money. Vacations always seem short, so plan early and sail within your first few days down. If I have weather issues we will be able to do a rescheduling-thing for you, and I have some great local knowledge you may want as soon as you get here. It kills me to tell you things on the boat that you are going to miss when you leave the next day…
See you on the dock…