Saturday, December 3, 2016

Autopilot and Underway!

Thursday proved to be a VERY productive and successful day!  The autopilot was installed and the sea trial was a success!  If you EVER need ANY marine electronic work done in southwest Florida…Southwest FloridaMarine Technologies is THE ONE TO CALL!  They are top notch in both ability and ethics – Thanks Brian, Tom & Nick, you guys ROCK!!

So Friday was a “wait day” because Charlie was expecting a package and UPS didn’t make the guaranteed 2 day delivery by Thursday afternoon…oh well, I was able to get the boat clean, we had a “super trip” to Winn Dixie thanks to Kitty’s driving, took a much needed swim in her pool & had a relaxing dinner pool side.  By the way, the package was delivered around 3:30.
The Fly Bridge - how many screens can you spy?
Also on Friday, our buddy boat Southern Cross left us in Cape Coral.  They headed to Ft. Myers for the month of Dec.  We will miss them but fully expect to catch up later on the east coast.

So, Saturday morning we headed out at ebb tide in a frigid 62° air temp.  After much thought and study over the past couple days, Charlie & I decided to go “off course” for a few weeks.  Instead of crossing Florida via the Okeechobee Waterway (traditional Great Loop path) we have opted to travel the west coast to Naples and on to the Keys.  AND since we have autopilot…why not go “on the outside”?  That means we have left the protected, slow speed, no wake excitement of the barrier islands to the beautiful, pristine, crystal blue to emerald green waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  Staying off shore about 3-4 miles provides the most spectacular views, we are in “good water” (18-28’ deep), and we can cruise along at the neck-break speed of 8.50mph!!
Cruising on the outside!!
Our view of Naples-looking to the "inside"!

So today we journeyed about 5 hours – worked out the particulars of the new electronics to develop our confidence, enjoyed the rocking & rolling of 2-3’ seas and picked Drs. Pass for the nights anchorage!  It was SHALLOW coming in but we are tucked in a great cove protected from wind & waves.  We dropped both bow & stern anchors due to the shoaling on all sides.  NICE area but we can’t leave the boat because everything around us is privately owned…we are in North Naples – ‘nuff said!
At anchor in Drs. Pass - new meaning to the phrase "House Call"
Tomorrow we will continue to Port of the Islands Marina – southeast of Naples but still considered Naples.  That marina sits on the edge of the Everglades so it’s a little more remote but seems to offer the services we need.  At that point we will do a little more study on the area, west coast cruising and possible route to the Keys.  OR if it seems too intimidating – we will turn north, head back to Ft. Myers and cross the Okeechobee Waterway and consider our time in Naples as a side trip!!  Stay tuned!!

Happy Saturday!!

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