|The Lower Place in the straps at Ft Myers Beach
We departed Fort Myers on Sunday 1/10/2021 for the short journey to Gulf Marine Ways at Fort Myers Beach. As scheduled on Monday the 11th we were hauled out, the corrected props were installed and by noon we were back in the water – on our way to Marco Island! The plan was to anchor for 2-3 nights while in route to the Keys.
|Bye, Bye Ft Myers Beach cloudy but calm
As the afternoon ticked on we were enjoying the very flat waters of the Gulf of Mexico and looking at the tide table we realized our approach to Marco Island would be at low tide…hmmmm. Before long we were heading up Big Marco River closely following the very well-marked channel. As we exited the channel at Green 15 to drop the anchor – nothing happened!! Long story short, we were able to tie up at Snook Inn, find the anchor/electrical issue (turned out-don’t use wing nuts on the battery connections) then well after dark we enjoyed a great meal at Snook Inn. We spent the night tied to their dock then not-so-bright and very early the next morning we untied and continued toward Little Shark River.
|Dolphins playing along our bow!!
Another calm, flat day on the Gulf of Mexico – not complaining! It was a longer day than I expected but without cell/internet service and super flat water perhaps I was bored! Because the water was so great we opted to anchor in the Gulf – less current than our river experience and NO BUGS!! It was a win-win…until it wasn’t!
|Our view at anchor by 5:20pm 1/12/2021
Just about dusk the water changed and the wind picked up. Needless to say, wind on the nose and breaking waves (3-5’) on the beam (port side) ALL NIGHT LONG was not the experience we were looking for!! UGH!!! As stuff was being dumped all over the boat, Charlie & I managed to secure everything inside, skipped dinner, grabbed our life vests and climbed into bed. I counted 8 crashing waves then a 4 second rest – over and over and over – all night long.
|Sunset at 6:00 note the choppy waves
Charlie kept an eye on the anchor position (via the chart plotter mirrored through his iPad) and our ground tackle held – we never slipped position!! Our 66 pound anchor and 100’ of 3/8” chain held The Lower Place in position with no hint of foul!! It was perhaps our worst night ever at anchor but as we have discovered over and over – the boat can handle far more than we can!! Whew!!!
When dawn broke, the water once again flattened and the winds ceased…amazing how “all things work together…”!!
|Unofficial landmark of the Keys - 7 mile Bridge Where the Gulf meets the Atlantic!
Tired and thankful we pulled anchor and headed toward Marathon Key. After the events of the past couple days we were united in the idea of a marina for a couple days. Plus we wanted to retest and confirm the electrical issue with the windlass and just give The Lower Place a quick review of all systems – preventive maintenance – following the rocking and rolling of Tuesday night.
Once we had cell service Charlie started calling around for slip availability and affordability! Marathon Marina had all the right answers and budget – so here we are for the next couple weeks!! In true Looper fashion we were greeted by familiar faces as we docked in a place we’d never been before! I love it when that happens!!
|Tied to the dock - Atlantic Ocean is our backyard
|I love #3 - so true
It’s no surprise that today was LAUNDRY DAY!!! But also a nice walk to Castaway’s to meet Best Mate, Priorities, Forever Young and San Souci (the welcome committee from Wednesday) for an early dinner and LOTS of laughs!! We felt normal again….LOL!!!!
Of course, you never know what kind of visitors you may have….this was our first opportunity to get this close and personal with a manatee. He/She was so BIG!!!! YAY!!!!
|Our back yard & a perfect day to clean the boat
Of course, we HAD to have a cleaning day and Friday was our lucky day!!! Charlie and I worked inside and outside The Lower Place. She needed a deep cleaning and a whole lot of TLC – and she deserved it!! We each had an unusual amount of phone calls and emails to catch up with and after all the manual labor we opted for a quiet night on the boat – besides, the wind was picking up and the smell of rain was in the air!
And then…Charlie noticed that Jim & Jackie (our super hosts from Palmetto FL) were actually a few slips down the dock from us!!! On another loopers boat!! Small world, naturally! We walked down to Kitumba (Brian and Michelle) for a visit/reunion!! So happy we saw everyone again – top notch hospitality!
Saturday 1/16/2021As predicted, the wind picked up and the rains came overnight. The waves slapped but the lines held tight as we bounced and pulled a little all night. Morning came and the rain was gone but the wind wasn’t. Hey, it’s winter in the Florida Keys…this is what happens!
|It's Saturday 1/16/2021 - the rain moved out
So far, it’s a quiet day in the marina and very little foot traffic since it’s a frigid 66°!!! But it’s not too cold for this fella!!
|Iguana on the dock
Now that we’re settled in, I will venture out on foot for more land-based adventures!!
|Sunset 1/16/2021 Marathon Marina
Thanks for riding along with us – I’m sorry this post is so long…I really am trying to do better.
Stay healthy and God Bless