"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

April 30, 2011

April 30 – Marco Island, FL

Day 55 – Moving South
Marco IslandAnchorage

We finally left Ft. Myers Beach this morning. The wind was still up a little but we stayed as close to shore as we could and the ride was not too bad. We saw a manatee as we entered the bay at Marco Island and a lot of dolphins playing as we anchored. It looks like a nice area and we took the dinghy down to do a little exploring, but we didn’t go far. There were too many clouds on the horizon and we knew a storm was supposed to be coming, so we went back to the boat and got ready. What a storm…high winds, thunder and lots of rain. Not a lot of fun, but the anchors held and the storm passed.

We were going to cook on the grill, but it was a little windy and the skies were still threatening, so we had to cook inside. We had a beautiful sunset and the temperature has dropped, so the rest of the night should be comfortable.

Marco Island...can you see the two dolphins?
Our anchorage
Here comes the storm
Radar before the storm hit...didn't think about getting a picture during the storm
Beginning to clear up
Nice sunset...we had fun watching all the birds
Marco Island

April 29, 2011

April 29 – Ft. Myers Beach, FL

Day 54 – More Waiting
Matanzas Marina

In some ways it was nice to be in port this morning…I got to watch the Royal Wedding. We got a little rain and wind this morning and again this evening so I was glad we were in port. After watching the wedding I did a little boat cleaning. Stan charted our course to Marathon and did a little research on marinas in the area. We went exploring in the dinghy and visited with our boat neighbors for awhile this afternoon. Hopefully the winds will be down tomorrow and we can move on.

Views from the Dinghy
One of the tourist things you can do here...take a Pirate Cruise

April 28 - Ft. Myers Beach, FL

Day 53 - Waiting
Matanzas Marina

We are staying in Ft. Myers Beach until Saturday, waiting for the front to move through. The winds should be lighter and the seas calmer by then. So in the mean time we are just hanging out. I'm a bath person and have really missed taking long bubble baths, but today we discovered this marina has a private bathroom with a tub. I had my first (real) bath since we left Texas...what a great way to start my day. We also did a load of wash…all our days can't be exciting!  LOL

After lunch we rode around town, did a little shopping and Stan got a hair cut. Getting around on the bikes is getting harder now that the weather is warming up, but we are definitely getting in better shape. Our other means of transportation is our dinghy. We took it across the bay to a seafood market and bought a red snapper filet for dinner.

Can you find The Pearl?
On our way to Beach Seafood Market
Low tide...this is the middle of the bay we crossed
We tied up the dinghy to the dock and walked by these shrimp boats to get to the fish market

April 28, 2011

April 27 - Ft. Myers Beach, FL

Day 52 - Back in the Water
Matanzas Marina

The guys at the boatyard started cleaning and waxing the hull bright and early this morning. By 10:30 the new battery was in and we were looking beautiful again. They lowered us into the water around noon and we were on our way across the bay to Matanzas Marina. When we arrived our slip wasn't ready so they had us tie up to the bulk head in front of their restaurant. After we secured the lines we went for a swim in the pool. Such a nice way to spend the afternoon after all the work Stan has done on the boat.

We moved the boat to our slip around four...hooked up to shore power and turned on the AC. We've been without it the past few days, not bad at night but very warm in the afternoon. We gave the boat a good scrubbing to get read of all the dust from the boat yard. Now The Pearl is looking good!

We decided we deserved to eat out after all our hard work. The Matanzas Inn has several restaurants so we decided close was best. The food was very good, we didn't have to walk far and they had live music...not too bad.

It looks like we will have to wait here until the winds lay down. We have to travel the rest of the way to the Keys in the Gulf, so we need calmer seas for that to be comfortable.

All fixed, clean and ready to go
The canal by the Matanzas Inn Restaurant
View at the pool
View from the boat across the bay
Night view from the boat

April 26, 2011

April 26 – Fort Myers Beach, FL

Day 51 – Haul Out
Olsen Marine Service

First thing this morning Olsen Marine Service hauled the boat out and set it up in their yard. Stan got busy working on things from his list. He changed the engine and injection pump oil, replaced the zincs and fixed the electrical wires to them, removed the old house battery, replaced a temperature switch on the generator, and cleaned the strainers. Tomorrow the yard will clean and wax the hull and help Stan replace the battery. We should be back in the water tomorrow afternoon.

While all that work was going on I helped by staying out of the way.  I rode my bike across the bridge to the beach (see picture below). It is spring break for the local public schools so it was a zoo. I had fun looking through the shops and watching people.

Out she comes!
Our home for the night...they didn't get us to level, but it will work
Here's what the bridge looks like from the boat yard...it looked much higher when I rode the bike over it
A view from the bridge - looking towards the boat yard and restaurant we ate in last night
A view from the bridge - looking across to the beach
Fort Myers Beach Time Square
A sea of people

April 25 – Fort Myers Beach, FL

Day 50 – On the Move
Olsen Marine Service

We moved the boat down the Caloosahatichee River to Ft. Myers Beach. It was nice visiting the Edison Estate, but I really don’t see any other reason to go to Ft. Myers. It was nice to be back at the beach where the water is pretty and there is more to see.

We'll have the boat hauled out tomorrow so Stan can replace the zincs and do a few other maintenance projects. The boatyard will clean and wax the hull and we should be back in the water Thursday. We went to a little place on the water called Bonita Bills…had a hamburger and visited with some local characters.

We have traveled 1357 miles since we left Port Lavaca. Below is the map of the places we have stopped along the way.

The map of our journey
Bonita Bills

April 25, 2011

April 24 - Fort Myers, FL

Day 49 - Happy Easter
Ft. Myers Yacht Basin

The Ft. Myers First United Methodist Church was just a few blocks away so we started our day by going to the early service. It really didn't feel like Easter today...we really missed seeing our family and friends.

We spent the afternoon at the Edison & Ford Estates. Thomas Edison built his winter home in Ft. Myers in 1885 and his friend Henry Ford bought the house next door in 1916. Neither house looks extravagant on today's standards, but they were state of the art in their time. Edison planted hundreds of Royal Palms along the road in front of his estate and the city of Ft. Myers added more. Now there are fourteen miles of Royal Palms along McGregor Boulevard and more all over town. Ft. Myers is known as the City of Palms. Beside the homes we toured the gardens, laboratory and museum. It was quite interesting and we learned a lot.

We spent the rest of the day on the boat. Stan did a little research on batteries since we need to replace the ones we have and I uploaded pictures to my album on Picasa. We had a nice dinner on the boat and then watched a movie.

First United Methodist Church
This is one Bayan tree
Lily Pond on the Edison estate
Edison's office and moonlight garden
Edison's main house and the guest house
Living room in the main house
Thomas and Mina Edison's bedroom
The kitchen and dinner room were in the guest house
Henry Fords house
Mysore Fig tree

April 23, 2011

April 23 – Fort Myers, FL

Day 48 – Just another Saturday
Fort Myers Yacht Basin

Just an ordinary Saturday. Stan did a few little jobs around the boat and then went with our friend Greg to Lowe’s and Wal-Mart. It seems like we always make it to Wal-Mart on Saturday…the worst day of the week to be there! Greg had borrowed a car from family they have in town, so it was a good time to get a few things we needed too.

While Stan ran errands, I had my hair cut. The cute little shop was in a houseboat right here in the marina. Pretty cool! After lunch we went for a bike ride and did a little research on where to go from here. It’s about a three day trip to Marathon from Ft. Myers Beach. So…depending on how long we are out of the water for work this week and the weather later in the week…we could be in the Keys by the first of May.

Rumours Hair Design
 'Uncommon Friends' sculpture of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone. They had winter homes in Ft. Myers and were very attractive in the community.
 View from the our starboard side this evening
 Very from our port side this evening

April 22 - Fort Myers, FL

Day 47 - Too Many Boats

We left our beautiful anchorage and headed to Ft. Myers this morning. When you turn east on the Caloosahatichee River heading to Fr. Myers you are entering the Okeechobee Waterway and are at the end of the Gulf ICW. We will stay in Ft. Myers for a few days, then move the boat to Ft. Myers Beach. We plan on having the boat hauled out there so Stan can get a little maintenance work done. Nothing major...just routine things. It has been a year since she has been out of the water and some things are just easier to do on land.

We went through more open water today and a few spots got a little rough...I don't like waves that hit us on our beam (side) and neither do the things in the cabin. The cabin was a real mess by the time we got to Ft. Myers.

I think everyone in Florida has a boat and they think they can do what ever they want. A lot of them are thoughtless, reckless and rude. All I can say is I'm glad I'm not in a smaller boat. I feel sorry for anyone in a small fishing boat or kayak, because they seem to take pride in seeing how much wake they can create. I'd read that it was better to stay in port on the weekends...now I understand why.

We wandered around the area close to the marina this evening and then had dinner on the boat, we plan to do a little sightseeing tomorrow.

Cabbage Key...looks like a great place to stay
Some of the boat traffic we encountered today...this was in a no wake zone.
Little Shell Island...you can rent this island and a houseboat for $500 a night! Notice the picture above shows the same island...would you want to stay here with that much traffic going by Especially for $500 a night?

April 22, 2011

April 21 - Manasota Key, FL

Day 46 - Life is Wonderful
Englewood Beach - Anchorage

We cruised through some beautiful areas today...beautiful water and homes, manatees and lots of dolphins. We saw manatees two or three times, but I couldn't get a good picture. The people who have these homes on the water are truly blessed.

We are anchored out this evening in a nice little area known as Englewood Beach, I think it's our best spot so far. As I'm typing this I can hear the fish jumping outside the boat (Stan should be fishing) and we watched the dolphins feeding in this area earlier.

After we got settled this afternoon we dinghied over to the White Elephant Pub, had a beer and listened to some live music. Very relaxing and fun. Later we walked on the beach and picked up a few shells.

Dinner on the boat and an evening enjoying the great outdoors. The breeze was comfortable and the stars were bright. I don't think it gets much better than this.

This is all one compound...a main house and a few smaller ones.
This one reminds me of Hawaii
Beautiful water and homes
White Elephant Pub - just tie your boat up and walk on in!
Englewood Beach