Change of Plans

Day 149: Thursday, January 31, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

First Things First: First time dipping strawberries in white chocolate on the boat.

Mile to Mile: After a bumpy night and a little rain, I got up early (since I couldn’t sleep anyways), took a shower, updated the blog and did two loads of laundry – all before 9 am. Its nice to feel like you accomplished something constructive. Now we have the whole day for new adventures.

We planned to go to see Lincoln at the Beach Theatre about 4.5 miles south on the island and took the trolley down there early. As luck would have it, a middle school group took up the whole theatre so it was sold out. The other movies were not as interesting and two were almost sold out – on a Thursday – at noon. What luck. So we skipped the movie and walked back to the marina with stops at the Publix and Topps grocery stores on the way. We scored a ton of good fruit at Topps that happened to be having a one day produce sale – they had strawberries for $1 per pound – we came home with probably 14 pounds of produce for $7. Nice deal.

Just so you know that its not all sunshine and rainbows at Fort Myers Beach – there are hardships occasionally. Today, when we were making lunch (beef tips and rice) the cold side of the front started moving through with pretty good wind gusts causing the bay to build a nice chop which, of course, means Aurora was rockin’ and rollin’ again. You get kind of used to it after awhile and after lunch we even dipped strawberries in white chocolate for an after-lunch treat. Like I said, we are fancy camping.


Day 148: Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

First Things First: First time seeing someone fall in from their dinghy; first tortoise sighting (Bowditch Park).

Mile to Mile: Breakfast, long walk along the beach, pancakes for lunch, pull someone out who fell in from their dinghy, watch movies, go to bed, and rock and roll (wind and waves). Just a normal day in Fort Myers Beach.

Today was another spectacular day on the beach – bright sunshine, warm south breeze and no pressing projects that need to get done right now. A strong cold front is supposed to pass by tonight and tomorrow so we need to take advantage of the day while we can.

Probably the most interesting part of the day was helping pull a woman out of the channel after she fell out of her dinghy.  She somehow lost her balance and fell in well out in the channel. She was bringing her dog to shore for a walk and, like most people, was not wearing her life preserver. Luckily she didn’t get injured or bump her head on the way in so she was able to grab onto the side of her hard dinghy and float along with the current (which was extremely strong). A guy passing by in a dinghy towed her to the dock at Nervous Nellies where someone else grabbed her arm. I went over to grab her other arm but it was impossible to lift her up onto the dock. It amazing how slippery a person is when wet. She was way too overconfident – she wanted us to let go so she could swim way down current to another dock that might have had a ladder – not a great idea with how strong the outgoing current was and with no flotation. I’m guessing alcohol may have been involved. We held her there until another dinghy came over and she was able to swing her leg up the side and we pulled her into the boat. Lots of “what ifs” went through our minds – What if it had been dark? What if other people weren’t around with boats to help? What if she had knocked herself out? It was a big reminder why we try to wear life preservers on the boat and even in the dinghy.

Thankfully she was able to enjoy another beautiful sunset at Fort Myers Beach. We did too.

Wild Times

Day 147: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

First Things First: ALLIGATORS!

Mile to Mile: Alligators, snakes, egrets, hawks, woodpeckers, turtles, and eels – what a wild day. We went with Richard and Sally (Boomerang) to the Corkscrew Sanctuary a little over an hour south of Fort Myers Beach to hike and explore. It was a perfect day for a field trip – warm and sunny with a gentle breeze and an occasional puffy white cloud floating by.

The park is one of the last remnants of the wild mangrove ecosystems that existed throughout this area before “civilization” decided to build roads, houses, strip malls and condos everywhere. Some of the trees in the park escaped the ax earlier this century and are over 500 years old – survivors of man, multiple hurricanes, fires, drought and floods – magnificent sentinels of a time long ago. They are still home to innumerable types of plants, birds, animals and insects.

The deeper we walked into the park, the more wildlife we saw. There were probably 40 different animals sighted just today in the park by visitors who listed their discoveries on a bulletin board at the park entrance. We saw only a small sample of the creatures that make their home in this small nature preserve.

After a long, peaceful and amazing walk, we had a quick snack and headed for home but not before a stop at Walmart for some groceries (I know, the juxtaposition is sad but obvious). We enjoyed the company of friends, learned a little more about the history of this part of Florida and, of course, saw an alligator. What a memorable day on the Great Loop.

Rest and Recovery (Not)

Day 146: Monday, January 28, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

Mile to Mile: Spiritus moved on to Fort Myers this morning – we waved goodbye and good luck to each other as they passed by the marina on their way under the bridge. We had such a fun time – we are looking forward to future adventures together.

After a few small projects this morning – including testing some rubber sealant paint on a couple spots on the bottom of the dinghy – we needed to go for a long walk to burn off some of the pizza and beer we had yesterday. We headed down the island toward the library to drop off some CD’s and hike around the Matanzas Pass Preserve – a park along Estero Bay mostly made up of mangrove trees. The main entrance was closed – they are expanding some of the boardwalks but we went in the back way and had a wonderful, peaceful and scenic walk. Surprisingly, there were no bugs – not a mosquito, butterfly, fly or bee in sight. Good for us I guess but strange given that we were pretty much walking through a swamp.

It’s interesting how long it takes to really get to feel like you know a place. We have been here over a month and we still have many things to discover – restaurants, museums, parks, etc. That is one of the reasons we decided to stay here longer – not only is it cheap (and interesting) but there are lots of things left to learn and see. (Of course, the white sandy beaches and gentle gulf breezes don’t enter into the equation at all).

After a long poolside chat with Richard and Sally (Boomerang) we finally finished off some Nervous Nellies leftovers from several days ago and I applied the first coat of rubber paint to the stern of the dinghy – this may do the trick (I hope).

As we were getting ready for dinner, Tony, the professional fishing guide in the slip next to us, returned from another fishing trip. This time he had a very successful trip – the guys on the trip said they threw back more than 60 fish (either too small or over their limit) and had a blast. Nice group of guys. After the spouses wandered up there must have been 12 people plus another couple dozen pelicans and seagulls watching Tony fillet the cooler load of fish.

We had a surprise visit from Tony who is visiting from Hopkins, Minnesota – we enjoyed chatting earlier this month about Minnesota, our trip and the Loop. Him and his family were visiting for three weeks (a wonderful gift from his son for Christmas) and they are returning to cold and snowy Minnesota in a few days. He stopped by to drop off a box of blueberry muffins for Cindy and I – what an unexpected treat. Thanks Tony, hopefully we will cross paths again.

Tomorrow we have been invited to go with Richard and Sally to the Corkscrew Preserve about an hour south of here (they have a car) and, of course, a stop a Walmart. It should be a fun day – we may even see a real live alligator! We’ll see.

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

Day 145: Sunday, January 27, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

Mile to Mile: The rooftop of the Lani Kai is becoming our second home – we started the day there with Eddy and Linda to take advantage of their $2.95 breakfast special and, of course the amazing view of the Gulf on another sunny, warm day in Fort Myers Beach. I’m guessing Linda and her sisters will be back when they come to visit in February (and Cindy and I will be back next week some time).

After a leisurely breakfast, we headed to the beach for a long winding walk to the north end of the island and Bowditch Park. The beach was already crowded – especially near the big hotels and the Pier – but that just makes for more interesting scenery. We checked out the Pink Shell Resort as an alternative place for Linda and her sisters to stay – a very nice place and not that much more expensive than the Diamond Head Resort. It’s interesting the variety of lodging choices on the island – houses, fancy hotels, dated and grungy hotels, Old Florida motels and everything in between.

After finishing some writing/blogging projects, we finished the day the same way we started – eating and drinking. This time we went to Pete’s Upper Deck for pizza and beer to round out the day. Eddy and Linda are heading up to Fort Myers for a month. We are hoping to connect up in a few weeks if we decide to take a vacation from the Beach and motor up to the City for a few days of exploration. Tomorrow is a project day (unless we get a better offer).

Happy Hour Squared

Day 144: Saturday, January 26, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

First Things First: First two Happy Hour day – lunch and dinner.

Mile to Mile: We couldn’t get the dinghy motor started yesterday so the first project for the day was to find out why. Well, the first clue was the smell – there was a strong gas smell and a large shimmering rainbow colored halo surrounded the dinghy. All the gas I put in yesterday day leaked out into the river overnight. A pretty good clue that the carburetor float was stuck open causing the gas to just siphon through and flood the engine. So I took off the carburetor, cleaned it and reassembled everything (again without losing any parts) – surprise, surprise, it started the first pull.

I decided the dinghy bottom needed to be scrapped and cleaned too so I could try to find the leak in the floor. This turned out to be a surprisingly long and involved project. I forgot to take a picture but the 3 weeks of growth on the dinghy bottom was amazing – an entire ecosystem of razor sharp barnacles, some kind of seaweed and even a crab or two were living on the bottom of our little dinghy. It took a couple hours, lots of elbow grease and some handy chemicals to dissolve the barnacle “glue” and the bottom was clean again (and probably 20 lbs lighter). Now I just have to fix the persistent leak in the bottom.

Eddy and Linda dinghied up at a little after 11 am while I was finishing cleaning the dinghy. While Cindy and Linda wandered down to the Post Office, Eddy “dragged” me up to Pete’s – the bar on the second floor of Matanzas Restaurant for a beer. Well, the live band on the deck downstairs was so good and we were having so much fun chatting we finally left for our walk 2 buckets of beer, a large pizza and three hours later.

We went over bridge to explore the other side of the channel where the shrimp boats, several restaurants and some seafood markets are located. Bonita Bills was a hopping place where hundreds of the mostly over 60 crowd were enjoying the dock-front bar scene.     More than 16,000 steps later, we were a little famished after our long winding walk and, after craving chicken wings all week (and having a new wing man in Eddy), we ended up at the Lani Kai for Happy Hour on the roof to watch the sunset, a rare simultaneous moonrise and even a wedding on the beach at sunset. The sunset was beautiful, the wings were great and the company amazing – a top ten evening – and the day wasn’t even done yet. We came back to Aurora and picked up the computer and the movie Once and turned the library/laundry room into a makeshift movie theatre – the only thing missing was the popcorn.  A fun time was had by all.

Margaritas and Doodle Dice

Day 143: Friday, January 25, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

First Things First: First time playing Doodle Dice (try it you’ll like it).

Mile to Mile: Our plan for the day was to enjoy the company of our friends Eddy and Linda on Spiritus. Our day started with a leisurely saunter through the Farmers Market right here at the Marina – we were on the lookout for fresh sticky buns but ended up with some just picked strawberries and fresh baked bread. We returned to Aurora and baked some cinnamon rolls (turned out perfect) and shared some strawberries, grapefruit and orange slushy for breakfast.

Now that we were all fueled up for our busy day, we started our random walking tour of Fort Myers Beach. We skipped most of the touristy shops for now and headed south along the beach to soak up the warm sun and cool sand. We walked and talked and laughed our way down the beach and headed inland to show off the beautiful new Fort Myers Beach Library (Eddy likes libraries and Linda is a teacher so this is probably much more interesting than the 23 shops with all the same tourist trap – future garage sale – junk in them). We wandered by the grocery store and then checked out the Diamond Head Resort where Linda and her sisters are going to be in mid-February for their annual girls weekend out – nice digs.

And the day wasn’t over yet. We were going to follow Eddy and Linda out to Spiritus for dinner and a nightcap but the dinghy motor wouldn’t start (another project to add to the to do list) so Eddy came back to pick us up. Margaritas, nachos and chile sitting on the flybridge (I want a flybridge) floating securely in a quiet mooring field watching the sunset with wonderful company on a beautiful evening – you should try it sometime, it’s a great way to end an amazing day.

We moved done to the main salon and closed out the evening with a round of Doodle Dice – it’s a hard to explain but surprisingly fun game that doesn’t require a whole lot of brain power (Eddy and Linda have a well stocked inventory of games they like to play and so far we are two for two – we had a blast with both games we’ve played on Spiritus).

Eddy gave us a ride home and we were surprised to find a new neighbor – a 50’+ ketch rigged sailboat parked perpendicular to us on the dock – it’s a full house now at Matanzas Marina. Someone new to meet and share stories with we hope.

Special Visitors

Day 142: Thursday, January 24, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

First Things First: First time seeing dolphins right behind the boat in the marina (very cool); first time (ever) seeing someone dancing on the dinghy dock.

Mile to Mile: Sunny, cool and calm -looks like another nice day in Fort Myers Beach. We needed to do a few more boat projects this morning. We want to replace the mast light with an LED bulb – they draw 80% less power and run much cooler but this means we need to take the mast down. Easy for us but we haven’t done it for a while. After taking the sails and boom off, the mast was easily lowered to the deck. Of course, the bulb I had bought wasn’t the right size but I still needed to check the radio antennae (the whip was loose again) and the wind indicator (also loose and in need of repair) so taking the mast down was still worth it. I’ll have to order a new light online.

After fixing everything, we re-raised the mast (a little harder than taking it down) and reattached all the sails and boom (just in case we decide to go sailing in the next couple of days) and stowed everything cluttering the cockpit. Time for a nice long walk on the beach and another stop at the library (notice the clock at the library is actually a tide indicator – no question we are at the beach).

The beach was surprising quiet this afternoon – even though it is the high season, the beach has been incredibly peaceful during the week – especially after you get a few blocks down the beach away from the main pier. Knowing that it is below zero back home and we are walking barefoot along the waters edge makes us feel incredibly lucky to be here right now. We try not to take our good fortune for granted.

When we returned to the boat, our friends Eddy and Linda on Spiritus had arrived at the mooring field and we met them over at the dinghy dock. What a nice reunion. (And the first thing they did was dance on the dinghy dock to “Give me, give me, give me a redneck girl” – crazy fun).We walked over to the Times Square area and wandered down the beach to show them some of the sights. We ended up at Nervous Nellies for dinner and spent the entire evening catching up and trading stories. We had a blast – we can’t wait for more adventures tomorrow.

A New Routine

Day 141: Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

Mile to Mile: It was hard to get moving this morning – listening to the wind whistle through the halyards on the bigger sailboats makes it sound a lot worse than it usually is outside. It was cool (50’s) and windy this morning but thankfully the wind was blowing the short way across the channel causing very little chop and the sun was shining. Once we got moving around a little, our bodies warmed up quickly.

For some reason, I was motivated to clean the boat this morning – its not as grungy as last time but I want to stay ahead of the game and keep the decks clean and organized. (It also might have something to do with the fact that our friends on Spiritus are going to stop in Fort Myers Beach for a few days later this week and we wouldn’t want to look like some of the boats around here). It sure is satisfying having the boat bright and shiny again.

After cleaning the boat, I mounted some new solar lights on the stern arch – the old ones still worked but don’t last all night – hopefully bigger lights with bigger solar panels will last longer. (They cost a whole $2.97 each at Walmart– basically the same lights at West Marine cost over $20. And I didn’t have to run any wires – Yaaaa).

We officially signed up for another month at Matanzas – the price is right and we really enjoy our walks on the beach everyday. We have lots more exploring to do in the area too.

After our morning projects we took a long walk along the beach and stopped at the library on the way back to the boat to get some CD’s and movies. The view of the bay from the upper floors is amazing – there can’t be many libraries like this in the country. 

Parties and Projects

Day 140: Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

First Things First: First time experimenting with closeup photography (I’m running out of big obvious things to take pictures of so I have to be creative).

Mile to Mile: We started the day with another party – an ebleskiver party – with Richard and Sally on Boomerang. This time Cindy cooked them on a small ceramic/electric stove top and they came out perfect – no naughty words or reject ebleskivers. There is a good chance another ebleskiver pan will find a new home on Boomerang.

Cindy and I took a long walk along the beach. The beach was blissfully quiet and peaceful – the handful of other people lounging on the beach were wearing sweaters or covered with towels to stay warm in the cool breeze – we thought it was perfect. One disadvantage, though, is the lack of bikini girls (okay, okay…and muscle guys) when a cool front is passing through – a small price to pay I guess to have the beach pretty much to ourselves.

We did talk to two other couples walking on the beach who noticed Cindy’s Lake Superior T-shirt – they were both from Wisconsin. One guy had just flown in that morning and it was 27 below zero when he left home so a cool 70˚ F was heavenly to him.

I finished a quick boat project after our walk. We bought a new jib halyard – the line used to raise the jib sail – at West Marine a couple days ago. The old one was showing a lot of wear and had a weak spot – we use this line to raise and lower the mast so the line needs to be strong since a failure could be painful. The project went amazingly smooth for a boat project. I butted the end of the old line up to the end of the new line and sewed them together with sail thread. I just had to pull the old line out and feed the new line in and I was done. Slick. It’s a huge pain to run a new line if you lose the old one in the mast so having this project done was a relief. One of the disadvantages of upgrading one halyard, though, is that now the other lines are looking their age – they are still strong just a little worn and gray. We’ll have to keep our eyes open for a discount marine store (oxymoron?).

We also finally finished our New Year cards. Always a production but it is finally done. We sent out some electronically to some of our friends along the way – its nice to try to keep in touch. We hope you like it. It was challenging picking 30 pictures out of 5,000 plus to represent our trip so far – hopefully it tells a good story.

Shells Bells

Day 139: Monday, January 21, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

First Things First: Watched first movie from the library – Avatar – on the computer (the price is right).

Mile to Mile: We still had the rental car today until 4 pm so we need to drive somewhere right. We decided to head over to Sanibel Island to check out the Shell Museum. Shelling is a popular hobby here with all the beaches and hundreds of different kinds of shells to be found – some extremely common and some very rare. All of them have a story to tell and we learned a lot more about the different kinds of shells in the area, the life cycles of the animals that made the shells and the people who enjoy the search for the perfect shell. A great museum if you are ever in the area.

Believe it or not, after stopping at West Marine, Target and Walmart (three times) yesterday, we still had a few things to get while we had easy transportation. At West, we picked up some new line to replace our jib halyard (1 boat buck or $100 for those of you without boats), a backup thermostat for the motor (I was amazed they had a part for a 1987 Evinrude) and a cheap but fun T-shirt. At Walmart, we picked up some things we forgot yesterday (Kleenex, yogurt, chicken wings etc). We also wandered around a massive Outdoor World Store (Bass Pro Shop) and, amazingly, didn’t find anything we couldn’t live without. You could spend a lot of boat bucks there without breaking a sweat.

After all that, the day was done and we pulled up to the Enterprise office to return the car with 10 minutes to spare. Instead of waiting for a ride back to the marina, we decided to walk the 2+ miles back to burn some calories and soak up the warm sunshine along the way. After a light dinner, we relaxed with a movie on the computer and crashed about 3/4 of the way through.


Day 138: Sunday, January 20, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

First Things First: First time going to a movie on this trip: First time in probably 25 years going to a full priced movie (ouch).

Mile to Mile: While we were enjoying breakfast in the cockpit, our friends on OmarSea dinghied by – they are anchored in the channel under the bridge and this was there last trip to shore for the next 8-10 days. The Dad and three kids are leaving this morning sailing for the Panama Canal, the Galapagos, the southseas and New Zealand. What an amazing adventure and yet so calm – like they do this everyday. We wish them luck and safe travels – their website is

West Marine, Walmart, Target, Cici’s Pizza, a different Walmart and back to the original Walmart….after a slow start in the morning – we got back fairly late from the airport last night – we drove all over Fort Myers restocking our supplies and finding a few things we needed for the boat. We were a little inefficient but successful in finding most of the items on our lists. It took us awhile to process and stow everything on Aurora but we are ready for anything now.

We decided to go to a movie while we still had a car – they are still showing Skyfall, the “new” James Bond movie at a theatre about 25 minutes from the marina. We also have a craving for movie popcorn. The only problem is that the movies only showing is at 9:45 pm – way past Cindy’s normal bedtime. But when you are on an adventure like this, sacrifices need to be made so we wasted time until we needed to leave and didn’t fall asleep. I am now reminded why we enjoy matinees so much more – at our favorites theatre in Hopkins, we can see 3 movies (with popcorn) for the price of seeing one regular priced movie. The movie was a fun diversion and we had no trouble staying awake – we arrived back at the marina a 1:00 am – our latest night yet (luckily, Cindy was still on Arizona time so she stayed awake the whole time). We are becoming party animals (we’ll pay for it tomorrow).

Home Sweet Home (Bearing Treats)

Day 137: Saturday, January 19, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

First Things First: Saw first (and only) sea anemone.

Mile to Mile: Cindy comes home tonight so I better reorganize and cleanup after all the partying the last 10 days. After a quick breakfast and 20 minutes cleaning, I was free to explore for the day.

There were a couple art shows on the far southern end of the island so I decided to borrow Richards bike and take a long scenic bike ride down the beach and over the bridge to Lovers Key. Riding on the hard packed sand was a joy compared to the noise and congestion riding on the road/sidewalk. With only a handful of people walking, running or riding along the shore, the ride was a breeze. The art shows weren’t that great although I did get some fresh kettle corn at one. We will have to bike down there again – Lover’s Key Park looks like a wonderful place to spend a day exploring and beachcombing. Add it to the list.

I was bored lounging around the boat so I decided to leave early and wander around a couple malls near the airport until Cindy came in. Also boring, it turns out, but at least I got some exercise not buying anything. When you live on a small boat and have just spent hundreds of hours over the summer getting rid of trailer loads of junk at home, buying more stuff just doesn’t inspire us. Everywhere I look – at every fake 50% off sign – I only see garage sale/goodwill price tags showing $1 or 50 cents the minute you walk out the door with each must have item. I’m glad I never had to develop a retail marketing strategy – I would have failed miserably.

Thankfully, Cindy’s flight was on time and we were soon back home ready for the next phase of our adventure. We don’t have any more trips home planned although one of us may try to squeeze one in the spring – we just don’t know when or where we will be. Such is the life of the Looper.

Settling In

Day 136: Friday, January 18, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

First Things First: First time getting a library card.

Mile to Mile: After a rocky night, the morning dawned much calmer and partly sunny. That was fast. It’s a lot cooler this morning but I’m still wearing shorts.

Today was another library day. I have a long list of tasks on the computer and some organizational projects and the library is a nice quiet place to accomplish them. I printed our Happy New Year letter and card yesterday and prepped our mailing list – I just need some envelopes and we’ll get that project done before February. We are doing a collage of pictures from our trip so far – it was a challenge selecting 30 pictures from over 5,000 pictures so far to give everyone a taste of our adventure but it was fun bringing back memories – we’ve come a long ways so far.

After a productive day at the library, I decided to get a library card so I could take out some CD’s, movies and download e-books. Yes, you know you’ve been somewhere a long time when you decide to get a library card. But it’s good for 6 months and we will have another choice for downloading e-books along the way.

Cindy comes home tomorrow – the past 10 days have gone really fast and it will be fun exploring Fort Myers Beach together again.

Rock and Roll (Again)

Day 135: Thursday, January 17, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

Mile to Mile: The big news today was the wind. The cold front that has been freezing the rest of the country (including Cindy in Mesa, Arizona) finally made its way down here. Thankfully, it only misted a little – no real rain but the waves were sloshing around the channel bouncing off of everything taking Aurora for a ride. The winds were gusting up to 30 mph according to one of the boaters in the mooring field. It was a very difficult and wet ride to get to shore. Some boats had to be tied more securely to avoid banging against the dock and others just decided to go for a ride all by themselves. One boat anchored off the channel on the other side of the bridge started dragging downwind right towards the Lynx Schooner. Luckily, the Coast Guard has a boat right across the channel and someone there noticed it before it crashed into the bridge or the boat. They were able to get it under control and towed it to their dock for safe keeping until the owner could be contacted.

I wasted some time in the library/laundry room where the room wasn’t moving in all different directions but finally had to return to the boat for the night. It was a rock and rolly night but it makes a big difference when you are fairly confident in your lines and know the causes of most of the noises – click, click, click…that’s the snatch blog hitting the deck; squeak, squeak, squeak…that’s the lines straining against the cleats; slosh, slosh, slosh…that’s the waves hitting the stern of the boat; ping, ping, ping…that’s the flags hitting the side stay as they are whipped in the wind; scratch, scratch, scratch… that’s the fish eating the barnacles and grass growing on the bottom of the hull. Even with all the motion and noise, I slept soundly through the night.

Stay Calm and Carry On

Day 134: Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Port to Port: Fort Myers Beach

Underway: 0:00 am      Motor Off: 0:00 pm      Miles Traveled: 0      Stayed At: Marina

Mile to Mile: It’s interesting how small of a world it is – we met some people from Minnesota today – actually from Mound. They are spending their vacation down here. They noticed our MN license and flag and stopped by to chat.

I have been spending a lot of time stressing about our plans over the next month. Should we go south to the Keys and around the tip of Florida or through Lake Okeechobee – the first is longer and more interesting and the latter is faster and much shorter. The main issue is timing. We have a lot of time till we need to start moving north – people usually don’t move north until late March – so where should we spend our time. The other problem, too, is cost. The daily rate at marinas down here it $2.00-2.50 a foot – expensive even for a 22’ sailboat. If you stay a month, the rates go way down – usually to less than $1.00 per foot. Where should we spend a month? We waited too long to stay at the dock here – they rented our slip already so we have to move to the mooring field, an anchorage or a different marina.

Well, after all the stress and worry (yes, that happens sometimes while traveling the Loop), we found out today that the new tenant had already cancelled so we reserved the slip for another month. There is still a lot more exploring to do around here, the price is right and we enjoy the people we have met here.

Hopefully I can come up with some creative ways to tell our story over the next month – beautiful sunsets everyday gets boring right?