Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bye, Bye 2016

Sunset 12/30/2016 Ft. Myers FL

What a year it has been…full of changes (mostly good) and anticipation!  We have been so blessed with good health, great family & friends and the adventure of a lifetime! WaHoo!

On Friday we stayed pretty close to the boat; checking systems, taking inventory of provisions, cleaning, washing, making minor repairs…the life of boat people! We knew there was a small freshwater leak in the master bath, so Charlie worked on it only to discover we needed a replacement part.  A quick call to the local West Marine store confirmed they had the part…only one in stock!!!  The sales associate pulled it for us & so began the search for transportation.  The store was 6 miles away, along a B U S Y highway and the sun was dropping.

Fort Myers has a public bus system…a quick call to the “hotline” & asking another couple (Ric and Prudi) to go with us and we were off.  We walked to the closest stop, boarded the bus and held on!  Charlie had his map app active just in case things went “off route” and it helped us to know when it was time to signal for off boarding!  We were certainly ROOKIES and it showed! LOL!! But on each trip there was someone on the bus (recognizing our lack of experience) and offered assistance – people really are kind!

It was a FRIGID 66 & sunny...look at the coats & hats!!
The parts store was in a great shopping center so Ric and Prudi were able to make a grocery store visit as well as a quick stop in the pet store (they have 2 dogs and 1 cat onboard). We grabbed an early dinner & walked back to the bus stop for our return trip!  We all survived and learned that we really aren’t very street smart; we are all very thankful for the kindness of strangers!!

Public transit rookies!! Prudi & Ric behind us
I'm still here too - I just couldn't get all 4 of us in 1 shot!!
 By the way, the part we purchased fixed the leak. Charlie had the toilet repaired and reinstalled within an hour after we returned – he’s the BEST!!

New Year’s Eve has been busy with prepping the boat for our departure on Jan 2 but we are making plans to visit with other boaters in the marina this evening.  There will be fireworks and activities downtown…we will walk through and take a few pics but I’m sure the fireworks will wake us from our slumber.  It’s our tradition!!

New Year’s Day will bring another pot luck lunch and we are looking forward to it…the peas are already soaking!!

May you have a happy, safe & reflective night - don’t dwell on the negative of 2016.  2017 is a clean canvass…how will you paint it?

God Bless…
Blank will you personalize it?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Transition Thursday

Sunrise Thursday at Naples City Dock

Today we had THE BEST cruising day on the Gulf!!  Good thing because we won’t see it for at least another year!  Bright sun, clear skies and flat water…thank you Lord!

From the Naples city dock, through Gordon’s Pass, north to the Okeechobee Waterway and six-ish hours later we arrived at The Marina at Edison Ford.  And rejoined our Looper buddies; Rascal’s Retreat (Ric & Prudi) and Southern Cross (Pat & Cathy)!!  

Fort Myers is still decorated for Christmas and the town is known for their fireworks display, so this place is PACKED and we are so happy to be here until January 2.  After that, we will head east…Atlantic Ocean here we come!!!

Because today was picture perfect, I will leave you with a photo narration...Have a FANTASTIC weekend!

Our morning commute heading north on the Gulf of Mexico
Like we are the only people in the world! Amazing!

Headed to the Gulf at low tide - FLAT WATER!

Para-sailing along Ft. Myers Beach

Okeechobee Waterway holiday traffic... all directions!

Sunset from our stern deck...
 We are so thankful for this wonderful day and look forward to getting ready for our journey east.  We will keep you posted....
God Bless!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Explore - Dinghy Style!

Thinking of home - enjoying Naples!

Since we are still on the mooring ball in Naples – today was dinghy exploration afternoon!  This morning we walked downtown and saw the commercial side of Naples plus I needed to find a post office…there is a special girl in my life with an upcoming 2nd birthday!!

This tree was HUGE & the ornaments were as big as my hand!
A few turns later and we were in the “picture postcard” side of town – just in time for lunch!  We found EJ’s CafĂ© and it was a great diner atmosphere!  I enjoyed my meal while sitting in a shady spot outside with the breeze blowing and people watching!  Charlie opted for a breakfast skillet and was equally satisfied with his very diner-like cuisine.
1/4 fresh pineapple stuffed with tuna, a side of cottage cheese & tomato wedge. And a slice of banana bread!  Y. U. M.!!
Probably the most photographed building in town!
A quick stop at the boat, we changed clothes and back into the dinghy for a self-guided tour!  The fun of visiting a town where water travel is equally sufficient to land…GOOD TIMES!!
We aren't on the TN-Tom - for sure!!

New neighborhood just under the 9' bridge!

The view from down under!

At dusk we are tucked safely on The Lower Place and The Side Yard (dinghy) is secured on board as well.  A little outside cleaning and inside engine check gives us peace of mind for a morning departure to Ft. Myers.  I’m not sure when we will depart nor how long it will take us but it's a one day journey – pending no complications.

The Lower Place on the mooring ball in Naples
Front of Smoke & Mirrors - my view from the dinghy
Smoke & Mirrors is ready for some fishing!
 Be safe, be blessed and hug someone…go ahead, you know you want to!!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Naples City Dock

Mr Alligator said Bye-Bye from Port of the Islands

 What a great travel day…less than 2 hours!  We pulled up anchor around 10am and stayed “on the inside” (meaning we didn’t go back out to the Gulf) to Naples.  The waterway was BUSY with holiday/vacation boat traffic…felt like Hwy 12 on a ballgame weekend, whew!! But it was nice to have a change of scenery – almost like being on the river system again.
A house boat on plane? interesting...
Here a boat, there a boat - everywhere a boat, boat!!
This adventure brings new and exciting challenges daily – weather, tide, docking, provisions, etc. And today was no different…our first time on a mooring ball!  Luckily, I spoke with Colleen from Moon Shadow about all the hows and why’s – great advice!  And to make it extra special; we were the only boat in the mooring field so we had a choice of 6 balls.  It’s a very unique method; hang over the front of the boat, with a fully extended boat hook, find the pennant (rope) attached to the ball and hook it.  Then pull the boat hook with the pennant back to the boat (don’t drop it), drop the hook onto the deck, grab the pennant (with a gloved hand) & secure it to the bow cleat! problem!!

What is a mooring ball?

A mooring ball floats on the surface and is connected to a large, heavy anchor permanently attached to the seabed. A length of line called a pennant – usually with a loop at the end – is attached to the mooring ball. You attach your boat to the pennant.

YAY! First try on a mooring ball!
Did I mention that the boat is in forward motion, wind blowing & who knows how many people are watching?!?!  Charlie was at the helm ready to move to the next mooring ball if I missed but we were able to snag the “A Ball”…VICTORY!!!

Welcome to Naples!!
We really like our location!  Just drop the dinghy & motor to the dinghy dock to tie up.  Then we are steps from downtown.  Plus we get to see all the charter & tour boats coming & going.  We will be here until Thursday then continue our travels to Ft. Myers.
Santa's sleigh...Naples style...

Have a super day!!

Monday, December 26, 2016

Underway on Monday!

WaHooo!!  We have been at Port of the Islands Marina since Dec 5…anyone who knows us understands that we don’t “set well” especially when an adventure lies ahead.  So after a VERY ENJOYABLE 20 day stay we threw off the lines and headed NORTH.

Of course all water travel in southwest Florida is determined by the tide. So we left at 12:30pm.  That was great, I was able to return the rental car to Marco Island, buy a t shirt from the ship store & say good-bye to the great residents of F Dock!!  
The pass to the Gulf of Mexico...EXCITED to be moving!
Because of the departure time we knew it would take us 2 days to get to downtown Naples (crazy, huh?).  So while underway Charlie researched the very limited anchorage opportunities!  And just in time for sunset we arrived!!

A little elbow room at anchor...
Capris Pass is just off the coast of little Marco Island, tuck away in a somewhat secluded & protected cove…here we are!!  While we enjoyed our time in SOUTH Naples I truly missed the sunrise & sunset photo ops!  Ahhh….
Just around the bend is where the rich folks live!!
The wind is blowing just enough to keep the mosquitoes away and I am posting this from the aft deck of the boat…and its 81° so all is well!!
We will take the "left fork" in the morning to Naples
Tomorrow we will continue cruising north until we reach Naples. We will stay there a day or so to continue sightseeing then head north a little more to Ft. Myers!  So, yes, Naples was a “side trip” we will remember for future loopers – well worth it!!!

We hope you and your family had a wonderful Christmas day…we had a great time with our looper family, pot luck lunch and many, many calls and texts from our land dweller friends and family.
Our view from the table at Christmas lunch!
We love you & thank you for your continued support!!!

God Bless!