Week 52 – April 7-April 13, 2019,  50 Nautical miles this week, 4 ,485 Nautical miles to date 

Sunday: Laundry and clean up are in order for today as we wait for Vic and his family to arrive. Stephanie has been driving down with Blaine, Tara & Charlee while Vic has been conducting Team Rubicon training in Houston Texas, so he will be flying today from Houston to Miami where Steph will be waiting. Then they will all drive down to here and they have a room reserved at the Perry Hotel which in on site here at Stock Island Marina Village. 

Vic’s flight gets delayed but they still make it to us by 7:00pm. Tracy makes a big meal of seafood scampi, regular pasta and macaroni and cheese, then we have a nice meal aboard Kailani and plan for the upcoming days.

Monday: Breakfast this morning is at the on-site restaurant, then we jam into the car for a short ride to West Marine for snorkeling gear for the kids. After we pick out all the gear, we return to the marina and get ready for the noontime shuttle that will take us to Smathers Beach. There’s a bit of wind and the rental concession is not renting their beach umbrellas, but the surf is just right for the kids and everyone dons their snorkeling gear and they go along with Tracy into the water. Afterwards, there is some sand play which is a given when the kids are on a beach.

Blaine getting all wrapped up in his work-swathers Beach

We meet the shuttle at 2:45pm for the return trip to the marina/hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing around the pool.

The marina has a grill and picnic table area, so tonight we have a nice steak, corn and green bean dinner that Vic grills up over charcoal.

Grilled Steak Dinner from Chef Vic

Tuesday: Today we plan for a trip to downtown Key West for the standard sightseeing. We decide to use the car rather than the shuttle for more flexibility. With the car, we can bring a picnic lunch and we can come and go as we please rather than be tied to the shuttle schedule which is once and hour. So we pack up the van and head for downtown. Our first stop will be the Fort Zachary Taylor State Park and Fort. We go to the beach first

Fort Zachary Taylor State Park Beach

and although it’s not a great beach for sand, the kids have a great time in the water and playing in the little bit of sand. 

We break out the picnic lunch of cold cut sandwiches, chips and sodas and have a nice lunch at one of the park picnic tables. After lunch we reload the car with the coolers and snacks and walk over to Fort Zachary Taylor and tour the fort. It was originally a three story structure, but has been reduced to one story when upgrades were undertaken to install more modern armaments during the Spanish-American War.

We toured the armament bunkers, the ammunition storage areas, the typical bunk rooms and other support facilities in this fort. Interesting that the fort that was farthest south in the US was controlled throughout the Civil War by the Union. With cannons from the original construction being used to fill space in concrete pours of future modernizations, the fort remains today as the largest collection of armaments in the United States.

After the fort we felt a need to get some key lime pie, so off we went to downtown Key West. There was one cruise ship in town today and the weather was loaded with chances of rain, so we were able to get a street parking spot right in front of the Key Lime Factory Store. They sell key lime in all sorts of choices from conventional slice with whipped cream to chocolate covered on a stick. Everyone selected their favorite and as we were eating the rains came down hard and steady. But as is normal with Florida rains, it eventually ended and the sun came back out.

So we left and started walking towards Duval Street. Tracy and Blaine were full of Key West and wanted to return to the marina, so Vic drove them back while I walked Duval Street with Stephanie, Tara and Charlee. They walked into every store available and wanted shirts, hats, tattoos, candy, clothing, souvenirs, etc. you get the idea. Anyway we decided on a little bit of candy to hold us over, then they found a little jewelry store with ankle bracelets and they had to stop and shop. So after some long debate amongst Tara and Charlee, they both decided on the mermaid ankle bracelets and walked out wearing their new jewelry. 

We made it to the end of Duval Street and were in the Conch Railroad station shop when Vic called and said he was back. So I told him where we were and he parked and met us. Then the girls insisted we walk back to the tattoo place so they could get temporary tattoos on their ankles (I guess it was ankle day).

Tattoo time

As they were getting their tattoos applied, the power went out on the entire island. We later learned that the power was out from Big Pine Key all the way to Key West. So when the tattoos were done, Vic tried to pay with his credit card, but there was no power, so the girl asked if we had any cash and we were able to give her $40 for the $60 dollar charge and she said ‘Thank you, today’s your lucky day!’ After the tattoos, we just walked aimlessly around the downtown and when Vic saw a bar (one of a thousand) that advertised the best Bloody Mary on the island, we stopped so he and Stephanie could find out how good they really were. Power was still out but apparently the Bloody Mary’s were pretty decent.

This is how the entire Keys from Big Pine Key to Key West can lose power

We walked past the Hemingway House and the Truman Little White House before walking thru Mallory Square. Mallory Square is where everyone goes at dusk for the sunset party every night. The square is usually loaded with street entertainers but since the skies are overcast (left over form the rains) and you can’t see the sun setting, the square is a bit docile today. There’s still a few entertainers and other people panhandling for money/change etc. but not very many crowds. Vic even spotted a sign where the people were asking for money for rum and weed! 

As we drove out of downtown, we stopped at the corner of Whitehead Street and South Street where there is a monument signifying the ‘Southernmost Point of the Continental US’.

Read the Bottle!

Everyone flocks here daily just to get a picture standing next to the bottle. To get a picture in front of the bottle there’s a line of people waiting, so you get into the line and when you’re at the front of the line, you walk up to the bottle and take your turn taking pictures. 

After returning to the car to head back we realized that without any power, there wasn’t any GPS so we had to use our sense of direction to get out of downtown and back to the marina.  

Wednesday: After Tracy wakes up with vomiting/diarrhea and fever    Oh my!  I have not been that sick in s long, long time!  -tc,    she selects a snorkeling site just 6-7 miles south of us for today’s cruise and at 11:20am with everyone on board, we head out of the marina towards Middle Sambo Shoal. As we approached, we looked for mooring balls, but could not find any, so we dropped the anchor making sure we had a sand bottom and spent the afternoon enjoying the salt water of the Atlantic Ocean off Key West. Our anchorage is of note as we set the  anchor at 24 degrees 29.64 minutes North is is the farthest point south that Kailani will be on her entire voyage around America’s Great Loop.

At 4:40pm we’re back at the marina all secured for the day. Just as Vic and I are re-attaching the utilities, the power circuit pops and shuts off at the pole. We have two 30 amp cords attached to the boat that go out 50 feet to a splitter that takes the two 30 amp cords and converts them to one 50 amp connection for at the pole. We took apart the cords and saw that one cord and the Y adaptor were fried from an overloaded circuit. So we jump in the car and head over to West Marina to buy a new Y Adaptor. Once we re-hook up all the power we still cannot get good power into the boat, so we shut it down and use the generator for the evening.


Cruising to the blue waters of Boca Grande Key

Today is another snorkeling cruise. This time to Boca Grande Key which is west of Key West and a 17 mile cruise so we have everyone on board early and by 9:00am we’re leaving the dock for our two plus hour cruise. Seas are nicer today and it’s a very comfortable cruise for all.

Titanic anyone?

The kids are having a great time cruising as they have gotten very comfortable while underway as they split their time from coloring in the salon to sunning on the bow, to visiting with us up on the flybridge. With smooth seas it’s always more pleasant getting around the vessel.

Soon we are anchored off the west side of Boca Grande Key in 7 feet of water and we take the dinghy down for some cruising out to a wreck which is partially submerged and partially above water. Its over on the northeast side of the island, so Vic, Blaine, Charlee and I cruise over to the wreck and snorkel around. Just before dropping the anchor, we spot a stingray slowly making his way across the sandy bottom. That’s a nice start to this snorkeling adventure. 

After returning for lunch, we re-group and Tracy takes the kids fishing while Vic and Stephanie return to the wreck for some relaxing snorkeling. After everyone is back aboard and the dinghy is returned to the roof deck and Vic has helped me strap it down, we raise the anchor and head out into some deeper water for swimming and diving fun. We head around the south side of Boca Grande Key

into 17 foot deep water, shut off the engines and float around while everyone jumps in the water. Vic climbs up to the roof deck (14 feet above the water) and jumps off so naturally Blaine has to give it a go and he has a blast jumping off numerous times.

Soon it’s time to gather everyone up, retrieve the buoy line and head back towards Stock Island. We are all tied up by 6:30pm and reconnected to the utilities. Oh did I mention, before departing this morning, I called a local marine electrician who advised that I try connecting to the starboard connecters rather than the aft connecters where we had the burnout. That did the trick and I will have to replace the connecters in the stern at some point, but for now, as long as we use the starboard connectors, we have good power. 

Everyone jumps into the pool for a while, then we decide to watch Pirates of the Caribbean on the hotel room TV. 

Friday: Today will be a sad day because Vic and family must leave and start driving back home. So I plan to wake up rather early, but end up waking up earlier than I expected at 4:45am with vomiting, diarrhea and fever. Ugh! I either caught this from Tracy or got it from the same source where she caught it. Either way, I’m bed and sore and Tracy is retching again in the salon.  -tc   when Vic comes on board to say goodbye. So they stay away from us just in case we’re contagious and say their goodbyes and head out. Tracy and I spend the balance of the day sleeping, resting, trying somehow to regain some strength and letting the marina know that we’ll be here probably thru the weekend as we recuperate. This is not a pleasant Friday, but oh well.

Saturday: A day of rest and recuperation. My ailing symptoms are fading with my strength rebuilding while Tracy is doing the same. We still stay cooped up in the salon without much activity. Today is the last day of our 52nd week since we departed Savannah. We have approximately 580 nautical miles to complete our first loop. Most people take up to a year to complete the loop so obviously, we’ve taken a bit more time enjoying the scenery and cruising either slower or less miles per day or less days per week cruising. Either which way, we’ve simply had a blast traveling the great loop and enjoying the scenery from a different perspective.

By the end of the day, (and the week, and our year), we’re still resting comfortably but slightly hungry and feeling like we can keep food down, so Tracy makes a light dinner and we settle in to watch the Netflix movie ‘The Highwaymen’.  Which is a true untold story about the two retired (by the Texas Governor) Texas Rangers that are brought out of retirement to hunt down and kill Bonnie and Clyde in Louisiana. The roles are played by Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson and we both enjoy the movie (without popcorn!). Before the movie is over, we get a text from Vic saying they arrived safely at home in Connecticut at 11:16pm so all’s good. We miss all our family and friends back home, but we’ll be back soon enough, then we’ll miss all our friends we’ve made on the water.  

Week 51 – March 31-April 6, 2019,  39 Nautical miles this week, 4,435 Nautical miles to date

 Sunday: Tracy picks the local Church for us to attend and we walk the half a mile for the 11:00 service. We get there a bit early and walk in on the Bible study. There are about 8 adults participating on the discussion, they all introduce themselves and we talk a bit about our adventure and we learn that one of the men is a dock hand at our marina. What a great guy!   -tc   The church service is quaint with about 20 total people attending and after some singing and some sermon, the service ends after about 1 hour and 20 minutes. We get offered at least 3 rides back to the marina so we don’t have to walk back. 

Once we’re back, dinghies are down and we’re going snorkeling with Barry & Carol of Wild Goose and Kim & Tamara of Cocoa Beach. We dinghy over to the south side of the island towards Sister’s Island in about 6-8 feet of warm water. Kim is catching lobsters and the rest of us are snorkeling for fun. We get to try out our new dinghy access ladder and after a few adjustments, it works pretty nicely. 

Wild Goose has some engine issues on the return trip to the marina so we take it slowly so we can follow them and make sure they get back safely. We all have a great time in the warm waters of the keys.

Monday: Wild Goose will leave today to head for Key West to meet up with Barry’s sister and husband and Kim and Tamara leave along with them for some anchoring fun on Boca Grande. 

So we have the marina pretty much to ourselves for a while as we enjoy the pool, the weather and the fishing. Tracy has found a great spot for bites near the bridge over to Palm Island and she catches nearly 2 fish for every 3 casts so we frequent this spot for most of the week. 

Tuesday: As mentioned yesterday, the spot near the Palm Island bridge will get visited today by Tracy so after I spend the afternoon at the pool sunning and reading, We load up the dinghy and head over. Tonight, Tracy catches what she feels is a Tarpon, but it spits out the hook and she doesn’t get a chance to land it. So after all the live shrimp are used up, we head back to our slip to tie up the dinghy. As we’re tying up the dinghy, I stand up in the boat to tie the line to Kailani’s deck cleat and I lose my balance and fall backwards into the drink. Along with me goes my wallet, glasses and iPhone. Good news is they all stay in my pockets so I don’t lose anything, but the iPhone will have to spend a few days in rice to have a chance to work again. 

Wednesday: More beautiful weather so today is another pool day. We start with Frankie getting his regular morning walk, some chores aboard Kailani, pool in the afternoon, then fishing towards dusk. Tonight, Tracy goes over past the marina fuel dock rather than chance me falling overboard again. I spend the time visiting with Barry and Carol who have just returned with Barry’s sister, Mary and her husband, Scott.

Today, I also take a walk across the street to the West Marine to buy new co2 cartridges to replace the one that opened my PFD when I fell overboard. So I replace the spent cartridge and buy a few spares so we’ll have them in the future.   LOL.  He set one cartridge off while trying to install it.  Phooooofff!  -tc   

Thursday: Today is judgement day and when the iPhone comes out of the rice, it acts dead, so I’ll have to get to the local Verizon store and deal with a replacement phone. We also need some supplies at the local Walgreens and they’re literally across the street from each other, so we take a 2.5 mile bike ride to the Verizon store and I get a new iPhone XR, then we cross the busy A1A Overland Highway to the Walgreens for milk and a few other items, then we ride back to the marina knowing that tonight we are making preparations for a cruise tomorrow to Stock Island Marina in Key West.   Very nice that this marina has free ice that they deliver to the boat!!   -tc  

Tracy & I put the dinghy back up on the roof and secure the tie down straps, then prepare our maps and charts for the 38 mile cruise tomorrow. The winds and waves were a bit over the top today as we found out when Wild Goose returned to Faro Blanco after spending some time in Key West. But the wind and waves are all out of the east and are forecasted to remain the same tomorrow, so while they got beat up on their bows today, our trip should have the waves and wind hitting our stern tomorrow, so it should be a bit more comfortable for us.

Friday: The gulf right outside our marina looks good this morning, so we’re a go for departing today. I go to the marina office and clear our bill, then stop at Wild Goose to say goodbye to Barry and Carol along with Scott and Mary, their family visitors. 

At ten minutes after ten we’re pulling away from our slip with LuAnn from Zoey’s Adventure helping us with our docklines. The gulf is calm this morning, but once we cross under Seven Mile Bridge and are into the Atlantic waters, the waves are a bit higher than predicted and pounding us on the port stern quarter, so holding a heading is not easy today.

Seven Mile Bridge- Florida Keys

Soon we’re turning course to nearly due west and the wave orientation changes just enough to ease some of the rocking, but overall, the entire cruise today is a bit of rocking and rolling. But mother nature’s waves are nothing compared to the sport fisher that passed us a full speed and their wake rocked us from side to side enough to send lots of stuff sliding across our decks. As we cruise along Hawk Channel towards Key West we hit a point that is the farthest south we will go on the entire loop (so we thought). Eventually, we are turning into the inlet for Stock Island Marina and at 3:15pm we’re safely tied up after 39 nautical miles of rock-n-roll. We’ll get all checked in, relax the rest of today, then start getting ready for Vic and Stephanie to show up Sunday with Blaine, Tara and Charlee for the following week. We’re really looking forward to this upcoming time to spend with them here in Key West.

Kailani in her slip-Stock Island Marina Village

Saturday: We meet two great guys on an adjacent boat today. Charlie and Don aboard Candide from Newfoundland, Canada. Charlie owns the 46 foot Jefferson and Don had just flown in yesterday to help Charlie cruise to the Turks and Caicos. Charlie has been around boats his whole life captaining a couple of charter vessels in Newfoundland, a sailing vessel and a motor cruiser. But he purchased the Jefferson specifically for this cruise which will include America’s Great Loop. We compare some notes on weather apps and navigation apps and have a nice day with them as we prepare for Vic and Stephanie’s arrival on Sunday afternoon. 

We find out that Vic is in the Houston Texas area working on a Team Rubicon mission and will fly to Miami tomorrow and Stephanie will meet him at the airport with Blaine, Tara and Charlee, then they’ll finish the drive down to Key West to spend the week with us. Dinner is an early one out by the pool as Tom the waiter brings us our food poolside while we enjoy the beautiful Florida weather. Tomorrow we’ll get laundry done and clean up Kailani while we wait for the family to arrive.  Laundry….pfffft.  -tc

Week 50 – March 24-March 30, 2019,  81 Nautical miles this week, 4,396 Nautical miles to date 

Sunday: Today we move and if the weather holds, tomorrow, we’ll be in the Florida Keys! First, we must cruise 43 miles today to our planned anchorage in Little Shark River. Its not a long day, so we plan for a 9:00am departure and after walking Frankie, I check the stateroom and see Tracy out of bed, all dressed, and making the bed! I guess she’s ready to leave. We adjust the lines, I walk the garbage up to the drop off area and get some complimentary ice to fill our cooler. Once I get back, we’re ready to go. The couple we met here yesterday, John and Penny aboard Scooter (not Loopers) said they were aiming for the same anchorage and they have already left since they are a slower trawler. 

The tide is going out today, so Tracy points the bow into the outgoing current and in short order, Kailani is turned around ready for the cruise down the Baron River, past the Ten Thousand Islands and into the Gulf of Mexico where we will turn south and head to Ponce De Leon Bay and the mouth of Little Shark River. The Gulf again surprises us in a not good way and there are 3-4 footers today when the forecast had predicted 1-2 footers. The difference here is that they are coming out of the south so we get bow-pounded for a few hours. The south run is 30 miles and with about 12 miles to go, the Gulf starts laying down somewhat and the ride smooths out a bit. We are literally out of civilization with no cell service and very spotty VHF clarity, but there are still miles of crab pots to dodge for the entire 30 miles. We can’t imagine where the crab fishermen are based out of because we are not near any ports or harbors, except the one we just left in Everglades City. 

By 2:30pm we are entering the mouth of the Little Shark River and we only have to go about 2 miles to get to Little Shark River Point where we will anchor, so soon enough we are spotting Scooter already set in the anchorage area and we cruise just past them and turn into the current to drop the anchor and set Kailani for the evening. There is a tide in this river so we know we will turn 180 degrees when the tide changes, so we allow for the swing room and set our anchor for 100 feet of chain in 12 feet of water. We are expecting a picturesque sunset and a beautiful night with the full moon, so as long as the sky is clear.

By the end of the day, there are two more boats in the anchorage as there was already a sailboat anchored before Scooter arrived and later, while Tracy is fishing off the back, a third trawler pulls in and sets his anchor for the evening.

Scooters at anchor-Little Shark River

So now back to Tracy, obviously fishing correct? Yup, with live shrimp still in her bait bucket left over from yesterday, she has great bait for catching anything feeling hungry in this river. While fishing out of the cockpit, she calls me down to look at something breaking the surface. I never get eyes on it, but Tracy does see it once more and confirms that it’s a large ray with at least a four foot wingspan! I wish I could have seen that as she said that it literally jumped out of the water.   And I am not exaggerating!  It jumped high enough for me to see the full length of it’s tail. -tc

Monday: Florida Keys, here we come! Our cruise today will take us from our anchorage here in Little Shark River to Faro Blanco Marina in Marathon.

Sunrise-Little Shark River Anchorage

We start early with our pre-departure duties, however, we can not re-verify the weather for the day because there is absolutely no signal here in the middle of no-man’s land! But looking out from Little Shark River Point into the open gulf, the seas look fine and so we proceed to raising the anchor. With Tracy on the bow and me at the helm, the anchor comes up smoothly and very clean. She did a great job of holding us in the changing tides of the river, and at straight up 8am we are cruising out of the river and into the Gulf. We set a course that takes us out 3 miles into slightly deeper water so we don’t have to maintain a constant check on the depth gauge. If we go out 2 miles before turning south, we’ll be cruising in mostly 7 feet of water which is plenty of water, but the depth alarm will be singing for the entire cruise, while another mile out we can cruise in a constant 12-13 feet and be assured that the bottom will not jump up and surprise us. So we head out three miles then turn south to a course of 165 degrees to head straight into the inlet for Faro Blanco Marina. 

Again, we spend about two hours out of sight of any land, but today the vessel traffic seems a bit more crowded as we actually see four vessels also cruising south and two vessels cruising north, plus we finally see a crab pot vessel retrieving and re-setting traps. We’ve been wondering for a while why we always see thousands of crab pots, but rarely see any vessels working the traps. Today dispels the rumor that the pots just got there on their own (haha).

With about 11 miles to go and just before noontime, we can start to see the profile of islands ahead and sure enough by 1pm we are staring down the white lighthouse and the inlet for the Faro Blanco Marina with the sight of Seven Mile Bridge just off our starboard bow.

Faro Blanco Lighthouse

There’s a bit of a current upon entering the inlet, but we power thru and make it into the protected waters of the marina basin where we see a dockhand and Barry & Carol waiting to greet us at our slip. We haven’t seen them since Clearwater Beach, so it’s good to be back together. 

Faro Blanco is a great spot to spend time in the keys and there are quite a few Loopers here, including some that come here to spend the entire winter docked right here. We also see that our other CT looper friends aboard Zoey’s Adventure are also here. We have danced around them ever since Killarney in Canada, but have not been docked at the same marina since. There’s also Mel and Anne aboard MorningStar II who are the self proclaimed harbor hosts here and they put together “docktails” every evening at 5pm. Tonight’s theme is ‘salads, without lettuce’ so at 5pm we meet and greet many boaters and feast on taco salads, fruit salads, bean salads, tuna salads, etc., you get the idea. 

Back aboard Kailani, the air conditioning is on and the salon is very comfortable for the evening and we turn in at a decent hour and get ready to check out and enjoy the Florida Keys. 

Tuesday: We’re not going anywhere today, but it is the last day for a while with projected calm seas. The forecasters are saying that the winds and seas will be above 20 mph with minimum 4 foot waves for the next few days, so we make arrangements with the Marins to stay at least thru the weekend. Also we are starting to finalize plans with Vic and Stephanie for them to come down to spend a week with us starting on April 7th. So we will be staying here in the keys for a while and plan to meet them on Key West when they arrive. So with our arrangements with Faro Blanco taken care of, we settle into our routine of R and R for a while.

The pool here is somewhat small, but very nice and it’s down three steps down from the indoor/outdoor Lighthouse Grill. So we have a lunch meal at the Grill, then spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool with looper friends. 

For the evening, I spend the time socializing with Barry and Carol on their Sundeck while Tracy breaks out her fishing tackle as she has learned that its okay to fish from the fuel dock in the evening when there are no vessels docked there fueling up. Her catch tonight will be great enough to keep her motivated to stay right here and catch every fish in the harbor at least once!    20190326_194029Ok, it’s time to admit what so many of you have probably surmised, Nick and I have very different hobbies.  Nick loves, loves to chat and I adore fishing.  Surprise!! -tc

Wednesday: Tonight’s docktails theme is ice cream as Mel had announced that he was making chocolate ice cream in their ice cream maker. So we showed up with a bowl of frozen grapes to compliment the ice cream and the docktails were especially delicious this evening. Right after docktails, we called for an Uber and went to Publix to re-stock our Galley.

Thursday: Winds are blowing strong today again as forecasted, but the temperature is still up there, so swimming in the pool is not curtailed and we again spend the afternoon, sunning, swimming and reading in loungers around the pool. Vessels tied along the entrance to the inlet are getting beat up pretty good. Wild Goose is near that area and although they are bouncing more than is usually comfortable, the Wild Goose is not dancing half as much as the boats closer to the open water area of the marina.

Friday: When I took my bicycle off the deck earlier in the week, I saw that my chain was rusted to the point of non-use, so today, I’m removing my chain and walking to the bike repair shop to get a replacement chain for my bike. I spend thirty minutes trying to get my rusted chain off so I can bring it with to get a proper match and after an unsuccessful attempt, I decide to simply walk the bike down to the repair shop and see if they can take it off for me.   His bike chain had a section literally frozen in a right angle and could not move because of it    -tc.   So I push my bike the 2.3 miles down the road to the bike shop and the guy there couldn’t have been nicer. He insisted on removing and replacing my chain for me and refused to take any money for his labor. I even tried to give him a tip and he wouldn’t accept that. He just wanted me to be safe and have a working bike to enjoy. So with a new chain, I peddled the 2 plus miles back to the marina and in short order, I was back.

We spent a short afternoon at the pool as we needed to get prepared for our 4pm reservation at the Turtle Hospital for their 90 minute guided tour of the facility.   So at 3:45 pm we were walking into the gift shop to purchase our tickets for the tour and at 4pm, Theresa called out to our group that the 4pm tour was starting and to follow her to the hospital entrance. From there, we got a guided tour of every one of the turtles housed here at the hospital from the two dozen that are categorized as not ever being able to be set back into the wild, to the 100 or so that are there for various surgical procedures and healing protocols before being returned to their original environment.

For instance, a turtle rescued from the waters of Sombrero Key would be returned to the exact spot in Sombrero Key after they were healed enough to be returned home. They always try to get the turtles back as near as possible to where they were rescued. So they have boats, ambulances, etc at their disposal for use when completing a rescue operation.  This was amazing experience.  This organization took of an old motel and using it’s swimming pool set up medical and rehab facilities for injured sea turtles.  Some turtles had been injured by boats and some were babies who had gotten lost trying to find their way  to the sea after hatching. The actual content of this turtles stomach. Plastic bag and all. Use reusable bags!! However, the ones I found the most heartbreaking were the ones who were dying of starvation because they could not digest anything due to the fact they had so much plastic waste in their stomachs.  Sea turtles love to munch on jellyfish and a floating plastic bag happens to look just like a jellyfish meal.   -tc.   After the tour was over, we asked Theresa for a card with the call in information for when boaters spot injured turtles. She gave us a refrigerator magnet card to keep aboard Kailani and hopefully, we will never have to use it, but if we ever see an injured turtle in the waters of the Florida Keys, we will now be able to call someone who is prepared and equipped to rescue that turtle. 

(A little aside for out terrestrial turtle friends:    If you see a turtle who has been hit by a car, even if the shell is cracked, the animal is likely still alive. Take the animal to a veterinarian or an animal shelter to be assessed and, if necessary, euthanized. Turtles have an extremely slow metabolism and can take days or weeks to die, even when they are severely injured. –  tc)   

On the way back to our marina, we went into 7 Mile Pizzeria where they make pizza and Cuban meals. We sat for a nice pizza, then walked back to Kailani for the evening. Again, I spent some time with Barry and Carol while Tracy tried for some more fish catches. We agreed with Barry and Carol that over the weekend, we’d both get our dinghies down and cruise over to Pigeon Key for an afternoon of snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of Pigeon Key below Seven Mile Bridge.

Saturday: A day of enjoying this lovely marina. Faro Blanco is a popular spot for loopers and some long term winter loopers, so it’s obvious that the feeling here is comfort and ease while enjoying the amenities. The wi-fi is strong, the pool is quaint but convenient, the dock facilities are modern and spectacular, ice, pump out and newspapers are all delivered to your slip daily if requested at no charge and there is a restaurant on site. Vessels of all sizes come and go in this marina, but Morning Star, Wild Goose, Zoey’s Adventure and Kailani are here throughout it all.

Sunset in the palm of my hand!

Week 49 – March 17-March 23, 2019,  87 Nautical miles this week, 4,315 Nautical miles to date 

Sunday: We start the day by getting ready for a local church service to attend. Tracy has selected the First Christian Church which is only a two block walk, so we are there in time for a cup of coffee and in our pew before the singing starts. There’s a lot of singing with a big screen above the band and the words can be followed on the big screen, so we join in with the singing and 1 hour and 20 minutes later after lots of songs, prayer and sermon, we’re walking out towards the breakfast restaurant next to the Publix Supermarket. There’s a sort wait and soon, we’re seated getting Sunday brunch/breakfast. The afternoon is spent aboard Kailani doing some small chores. A fellow looper pulls in alongside us and we help them dock and exchange boat cards. Turns out we’ve been only mere days apart ever since the Hudson River. The other good news is that Dan has his golf club on board, so we agree to play on Wednesday since we’ve targeted Thursday to depart, based on current weather forecasts.

Monday: We were originally scheduled to leave today and cruise to Kitty Nicolai’s dock in her backyard in Coral Gables, but since we’re not moving Kailani today, we’ll drive over instead. So we make our way across the Cape Coral Bridge and easily find her house. Kitty has house guests from Canada staying in their motorhome in her driveway and they are also loopers, so we talk lots about the loop, Kitty is a wonderful Harbor Host, and Tracy gets in some fishing as she brought her bait and tackle with her. Ralph uses Tracy’s second pole and between them they catch a big fat zero!, not even a channel catfish. Oh well, there will be better days of fishing for her soon. After dock tails, hors d’oeuvres and some nice desserts, we say our thank you’s and goodbyes and drive back to Legacy Harbour Marina.

Tuesday: A full day of apparently much needed rain today. This is not the Florida rain I’m used to where it rains for about 20 minutes, then the sun comes out and steam fills the roads. No, this is full out rail for most of the day. So indoor chores fill the day and we do our laundry.

Wednesday: I will return our rental car and Dan will meet me there with his rental car, then we’ll both ride together to the Fort Myers Country Club where we find out we’ve been paired up with two local businessmen. Turns out Dan is a retired banker and the two other guys are each a builder and a banker! What are the odds? Two builders and two bankers in the same foursome mostly total strangers. We have a great morning/afternoon playing 18 holes then we drive back to the marina and Tracy and I work on getting ready for a morning departure.

Thursday: We pull away form the docks at 9:20am with Dan’s help and scoot over to Fort Myers Yacht Basin to fill up the fuel tanks before heading further south into ‘Big Boat’ territory where most of the boating prices including fuel are slightly more expensive. On the fuel dock we meet another looper couple that are just starting out. They began their adventure in Tampa and are still apprehensive about the whole trip, but Tracy does her best to calm some fears while showing Allene the interior of Kailani while I fuel up, 54 gallons in each tank takes care of it, and we get a $.05 per gallon discount for AGLCA. 

By 10:00am we’re heading down the Caloosahatchee River towards the Gulf of Mexico. The river is again totally crowded and the ‘Miserable Mile’ earns its stripes on this day. Once we are out of the inlet passing between Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island we are into the Gulf and today’s forecast falls short of reality as the majority of the three plus hours in open water are a bit rocky to say the least and as we are approaching Naples with a final destination planned for Marco Island (9 miles further down), Tracy is calling marinas in Naples to see if we can pull in short of our goal and get out of the gulf waters. She secures us a slip at Naples City Docks and soon we are turning into Gordon Pass headed for downtown Naples. All day the waves have pounded us from the starboard stern quarter so when we make the turn to port to enter the pass, we are pounded on the port beam.  For the first time in 1 1/2 years I get sea sick.  I went below feeling fine and then one, two, three quick times and all is better.  Now Frankie was at it all day.  Poor thing!   -tc   But it’s only a short distance and we favor the port side of the channel so we don’t get pushed into the rock wall on the starboard side of the inlet/pass. Soon we are in calmer waters headed back north towards Naples and the City Docks.

Jake the Dockhand is waiting on the dock for our lines, but the winds are blowing directly from our beam and from the dock, so each time I try to nestle Kailani up to the dock, the winds blow us away far enough that Tracy can’t get a dock line to Jake. But eventually, we work her up close enough and Jake gets 2 lines secured so we can shut her down.

We’re smaller than the bow of that other boat!

We have docked between two 75 foot vessels with another 200 feet of space on the wall. Soon a 130 foot vessel is approaching and docking directly behind Kailani. Now, as I’m looking at the dock, Kailani looks like a dinghy in the midst of these two 75 footers and the 130 footer! 

For dinner, we walk into town to one of the local French restaurants and we both select the Roast Duck. It isn’t as delightful as the Peking duck we’re used to from back home, but it still fills the appetite just to a point where I have room for dessert and since we’re in a French restaurant, I have to try the Napoleon with fruit. It turns out to be light as air and easy to finish!! Boy I shouldn’t have done that. On the way back to the marina we get a great glimpse of the super moon just coming up over the marina entrance. 

Friday: We spend a large part of the morning trying to agree on a departure strategy so we do not end up cruising thru a rocky gulf again. We research the gulf pier cam in the dockmaster’s office, we check with a local BoatUS tow Captain, we speak with some of the local boaters on the docks, and finally decide to leave at around 11:00am to let yesterday’s seas drop down a bit before we get out there. 

So at exactly 11:00am Kailani is backing away from the docks and we’re headed out to the Gulf again. The seas are comparably better than yesterday, but still a bit rough. The waves are from the same direction so they are basically following seas, but just enough abeam to make it a bit more difficult to hold a course. But after passing Marco Island and traveling about 20 total miles, we are turning nearly due East towards Indian Key Pass and the Ten Thousand Islands on the Everglades coast. Once we make this turn the seas are blocked by shoals and the water calms down for the last 16 miles of today’s cruise. 

Soon we are entering the Baron River from Chokoloskee Bay and  Everglades City. We planned for this cruise to put us here with a rising tide as recommended by the guidebooks and for a rising tide, this river really was pushing water upriver as we were soaring almost 2 miles per hour faster than the engines were pushing us. This was nice until we got to our marina and tried to land on a dock with the strong current becoming a cross current when we tried to steer Kailani into her dock. So after trying to approach from upriver against the current and still not getting into the slip, we moved over to the wall where there were no other vessels and soon we were tied up there with the help of Bill the marina General Manager.

After washing down the exterior and hooking up the utilities, I took a walk over to the office to register. As I walked in the building, I immediately saw a very well maintained billiard table in a large room. I walked past the billiard table towards the stairway where Judy was behind the desk saying, “Are you Mr. Civitillo?” I said yes and walked over to register where I saw the plaque on the desk welcoming us to Everglades Isle. Boy they really make you feel welcome here.

Soon Judy is explaining all the amenities at our disposal, there’s the pool, hot tub, gym, bar, billiard table, locker rooms, complimentary laundry, movie theater, golf carts (can be driven all over town), and the stairway to the lighthouse where you can enjoy a 360 degree view of Everglades City. We’ve been to tons of campgrounds and marinas now and this is by far the most accessorized facility we’ve ever seen. Tomorrow we’ll explore the town and take our airboat ride to view alligators. Should be fun. 

Saturday: We have our reservation for Speedy’s Airboat Tours for 11:00am and they asked us to be there by 10:45am, so we have plenty of time for a nice breakfast. I prepare eggs over easy with sausage links and toast and Tracy gets to enjoy breakfast in bed. 20190323_113950

Speedy’s is a 3 minute walk from our dock so we are there on time and as soon as we pay for the tour, we are told to wait for Captain Greg to call out for passengers for his airboat. The airboats hold six passengers but today we are riding with only one other couple and at straight up 11:00am we are leaving Speedy’s dock for our one hour airboat ride. We had hoped to see alligators during this tour but we learned from Greg that the gators moved north a while ago as this area turns to salt water at this time of year, so no gators today. Well instead of wildlife, Greg gives us a wild ride!

There’s many areas with Mangrove tunnels and Greg does some of them a full speed so we’re going thru these ‘tunnels’ at nearly thirty MPH and the Mangroves are trimmed back to just miss our boat and our heads. Then when we get out into an open area, Greg goes straight for a while, then puts the airboat into a 360 degree turn at full throttle!

The boat slows during the turn but its still a thrilling ride. Soon we’re on our way back to the dock and our ride is over. Everglades City is thriving with airboat tour operators and the drone of the fans is a non-stop hum as 30 or so boats come and go from 8am to 6 pm right past our dock. I believe I still hear the fans after the sun goes down!!!

For lunch we take one of the golf carts from the marina and go to nearly waterside restaurant for fresh fish and boy is it fresh. We sit facing the Baron River and watch families in their fishing boats catching lots of fish. So obviously, our next stop is the local bait and tackle store and Tracy buys 2 dozen live shrimp and spends most of the remainder of our time here fishing while I relax poolside with other campers and boaters. Just to set the record straight, she does in fact catch quite a few fish herself and they are not all catfish. Hooray!!

Week 47 & 48 – March 3-March 16, 2019,  47 Nautical miles this week, 4,228 Nautical miles to date 


Sunday: With only 14 nautical miles to reach our chosen anchorage, we have plenty of time this morning to get prepped for departure. Tracy has selected on of the more secluded anchorages in the Cayo Costa area with only room for 2 boats, so it is our first choice but when we get there, it may be full already, so we’ll just have to wait and see.

We get all the ordinary work out of the way then we must fill the fresh water holding tank a bit because we’ll be at anchorage without a water source. Then as we are leaving, we will pull up to the fuel dock and get a pump out so our tanks are clean before staying overnight ‘on the hook’. We both agree that there’s probably enough room in the tanks to last the night, but it’s always good to be prepared, just in case we end up anchored for more than one night. 

So at 10:55am we’re pulling away from the fuel dock of Aquamarina Palm Harbour and headed south on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway towards Punta Blanca Island and our anchorage of choice. The ICW is true to form today as there are a slew of vessels of various types and sizes filling the channel on this  sunny Sunday. There’s loads of pontoon boats (all seem to be filled to capacity) there’s sailing vessels, there’s paddle boards, there’s sport fishers and other trawlers. You name it, today, it’s out! Some of the trip today is in a no wake zone so it’s not quite as crazy as if all the power vessels were going full guns at 25 mph, but still, the waterway is definitely different on the weekends. 

Of course, we get the customary dolphin accompaniment today as we’ve determined that trawlers go the exact speed that dolphins enjoy for frolicking. So while there are loads of other vessels out today, it seems that the dolphins avoid the other boats and cruise with us. Today, the pair of dolphins that ride with us for about 15 minutes choose to romp in our port wake right at midship rather than the usual bow riders. So Tracy gets some great video of these two playing in our wake including some rolls and inverted swimming.

Right after crossing Port Charlotte Harbor, we are looking down the throat of the Pelican Bay Area of Cayo Costa State Park and the more popular anchorage for the State Park. We can see that it’s already quite crowded, but we have selected to stay on the ICA and traverse the complete Punta Blanca Island towards the south side where we will turn in and see if the tiny little cove has any vessels anchored. If there’s room (and there’s only room for 2 boats), we’ll claim a space and drop the hook. If it’s full, we’ll turn around, go back north up the length of Punta Blanca Island and turn into the pelican Bay with all the other vessels and find a spot there.

But as busy as today has been, once we navigate around the shallow water entrance we see a pristine bay with nothing but water, Egrets and trees! So we will be staying here tonight after all. This anchorage has been rated 10 out of 10 from previous vessels that have anchored here, so today is our lucky day!

Punta Blanca Anchorage

Once the anchor is set and we have let out 75 feet of rode in 7 feet of water, we can relax and enjoy the rest of the day since it’s only 1pm and the sun is high and hot. As we are looking around surveying the scenery of this location, we spot two beautiful Bald Eagles in the trees. One appears to be the male sitting high in a tree seemingly guarding the area for his family. The other is the Mom guarding the nest of babies.

I break out one of our inflatable kayaks (they’ve been in their storage bags since we left Connecticut) and pump it up. Then we go for a ride where I paddle and Tracy fishes. Disappointedly, she only catches the obligatory catfish(s) today, so no exotic species are landed today. The sky is clear and we figure if the sky stays clear, we should be able to do some star gazing tonight on the bow. 

While we were out kayaking/fishing a fellow looper that we’ve never met called my cell phone (which was back on the vessel on the charger) and left a message that they spotted our boat, looked up the member directory, and were able to locate my cell and seek us out. It was nearly dark when I returned the call, but they are gold loopers just starting out on their second loop from Tampa Bay and after chatting for a while, we decided that we will be able to hook up in Fort Meyers possibly Tuesday. This AGLCA is a great organization with great members and a great system for tracking down membership info. I love it!

We do not see any other vessels come into this beautiful cove today, so we get to enjoy the sights and sounds all to ourselves. One of the sights is a beautiful Bald Eagle couple where the male is atop a tree guarding the surrounding area while the female is at the nest in an adjacent tree watching over the newly hatched eggs. As evening comes and the sun sets, the evening sky evolves exactly as we had expected and we sit on the bow for an hour watching the stars above, beautiful evening at anchorage! 

Monday: Fort Meyers today. This will put us within 10 miles of where we originally found Kailani 4 years ago. We have a reservation for a 2 week stay at Legacy Harbour Marina in downtown Fort Meyers. I am anticipating this stay ever since we’ve owned Kailani because I’ve always liked the looks of the marina on their website and it’s been a favorite of all loopers for a long time.

Our cruise today from our anchorage to the marina is only 32 nautical miles and there are no bridge openings required as we will cruise under 3 fixed bridges at 55 feet. There should be some ‘no wake’ zones once we get near the Caloosahatchee River and we are also looking at the tides to decide on a 9:30am departure today. So there’s not any pressure to hurry this morning. All we have to do to prepare for raising the anchor is to raise the inflatable kayak and secure her on the bow. This does not take as long as expected and we have the anchor raised and cleaned by 9:20am and turning towards the breadcrumbs we left yesterday to exit this gorgeous cove. Soon we are back on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway for the last miles of protected waters on the gulf side. Yes we will cruise today to mile marker 0, then turn onto the Caloosahatchee River to join the Okechobee Waterway. Dolphins accompany us today once again further proving that trawlers cruise at the dolphin’s ‘favorite’ speed for romping as we never see vessels of other varying speeds watching dolphins romp alongside their hulls. 

Even though its a weekday, the waterway is very busy with trawlers, sailboats, fishing vessels and ‘go-fast’ boats. In fact, once we are on the Caloosahatchee River we approach a ‘no wake’ zone just as a go fast boat is passing us on our port side. He gives a friendly wave as he enters the no wake zone at near full speed. My wave back to him is a hand signal to slow down and he complies. He appears to be a retired gentlemen with his wife and friend couple aboard and he’s piloting a 30 foot center console with three brand new 350 hp outboards. How does someone smart enough to make enough money to afford this costly a vessel, be so ignorant to the rules of the road??? 

On the River, we can see the skyline of Fort Meyers in the distance up ahead and soon, we are turning into the inlet for Legacy Harbour Marina. As instructed, we call them on the VHF and the first reply from them is to proceed to slip B14 and we respond that we ‘copy’. Then another call comes in for us and the girl says to proceed to slip A4. So now we must clarify the discrepancy and the girl confirms that we are to proceed to slip A4 and two dockhands will meet us at the slip. There’s a bit of wind as we enter the marina and both Tracy and I prepare for the wind to effect Kailani during the docking, however as we cruise towards our assigned slip, we are met with calm waters as the wind gets blocked by an adjacent high-rise condominium structure, so the docking goes very smoothly and at exactly 1:30pm we are shutting down the engines and beginning our 2 week stay in Fort Meyers. 

Later in the afternoon, we get a call from the crew aboard Jill Kristy and we agree that tomorrow, Tuesday in the afternoon would be a great time for them to come over and meet us. This is the couple that called from the anchorage, so we are looking forward to that now.

We find an ice cream shop just a few blocks away so after dinner, we take a walk downtown to find ‘Scoops on Main’ and try some locally made ice cream. The downtown is packed with restaurants and shops and the sidewalks are crowded as we take our walk.  

Tuesday: A relaxing day today as we just kick back and enjoy our time aboard Kailani and the surrounding marina environment. There are numerous AGLCA burgees here so I should have a great time introducing us to other loopers. As previously arranged, Richard and Jill of Jill Kristy show up in the afternoon and we have a nice visit with them. They are docked in a friend’s ‘backyard’ across the river in Coral Gables and they have borrowed the vehicle to drive over here for the visit.

The Crew of the Jill Kristy

We introduce them to our neighbors, fellow loopers, Rick and Rhonda aboard Mary’n Gale before they leave so we can get ready for the Boater’s Appreciation Dinner here at the marina.

The Boater’s Appreciation Dinner is an annual event here at Legacy Harbour Marina and its held for all annual and monthly boaters so we qualify to attend as we have leased the slip for a month since it was cheaper than paying for 2 consecutive weeks. The dinner is catered by ‘The Farmer’s Market Restaurant’ and there is prime rib, chicken and dumpling soup, vegetables, salad, rolls, coffee and dessert served all as a thank you from the ownership to the loyal boaters here. And if that’s not enough, the Harbormaster, Eric proceeds to give out 45 minutes of door prizes after dinner! We got to sit with 4 other gold looper couples and had a great time at this dinner.

Wednesday: Nicole and Jake will visit today, then we’ll have to get Tracy to the airport by 6pm for her flight back to the snowy region of Southern New England. Jake and Nicole are right on time and we spend the rest of the morning visiting aboard Kailani before taking them to Joe’s Crab House Restaurant here on site. We all have a nice lunch and as they are leaving to head back to Jake’s Grandparent’s condo in Naples, we say our goodbyes as the visit has gone by too quickly.

Jake and Nicole aboard Kailani

We reminisce a bit and realize that it was just one year ago when Nicole and her mom, my sister, Lisa were aboard Kailani for a weekend in Swansboro, NC. We’re all glad that the weather this year is much nicer than that time a year ago

Tracy spends the afternoon making sure she is fully prepared for the evening flightand at 4:30pm we are calling for an Uber to get her to the airport for her flight home. She makes it home on schedule and her best friend Kim is there to meet her and drive her home for the week.  Kim’s wedding which will be next Tuesday. Tracy will return next Wednesday while I stay here with Frankie for the week. Tracy meanwhile will be prepping for and attending the wedding ceremony of her best friend and one of our most enjoyable boat mates, Kim.  (Kim and Tracy have been friends for seemingly ever, and she’s been probably spent the most time aboard Kailani with us of all our friends.) So Tracy will have a great time at home while I try to lounge around here getting sun and water fun into my days. Kim planned to spend the week preparing for the wedding, generally calming each other down, all while congratulating each other wildly.   I did indeed do all of that!   Kim wanted to give out wildflower packets to the wedding guests with the concept being “grow your love”.  We could not figure out how to hand out the flowers so we came up with this arrangement.  (I thought it was rather lovely!). -tc. 20190313_212900

Thursday, March 6th to Saturday, March 16th:

With plenty of time, and everything nearby, I can run lots of errands and go wherever necessary during this time. Each day starts off with Frankie’s walk, then a ‘breakfast for one’. I soon find out it’s sometimes easier to make breakfast for two. The weather stays sunny and mild with temperatures in the eighties every day. My first day solo is the weekly Farmer’s Market just a one block walk away in Centennial Park, so I grab a few of our handled shopping bags and off I go to the Farmer’s Market. It turns out to be fairly small compared to some other markets we’ve been to but the fruits and vegetables turn out to be very fresh and I walk back with cucumbers, a pineapple, strawberries and some grapes. Except for the cucumbers, everything else is cut and frozen for long keeping freshness and then I’m off to the pool for some sun. 

I also walk into downtown a few times for the express purpose of trying every flavor of ice cream at the local ‘Scoops’ store. Then on Monday, I see that our good friends from the lower Tombigbee aboard Red Pearl, Steve and Kathy are docked at Fort Myers Yacht Basin. So I take a walk over and knock on their boat to say hello. They’re in the midst of a long distance call with their daughter, so we make arrangements to meet for dinner later on in town and I walk back to Kailani.

We decide to try ‘Ford’s Garage’ for dinner and they are known locally for their burgers. We all have different types of burgers that fill everyone’s taste buds and afterwards, we say good night and safe cruising. They will be heading up the Okechobee Waterway and we will eventually be cruising south towards the Keys, so it’ll be a long time before we have a possibility of catching up with them again, but it was great to spend time together today. 

Tuesday, I confirm our car rental for Wednesday so I’ll be able to drive to the airport to pick up Tracy as she returns from Connecticut.

Wednesday afternoon, I head out towards the airport so I’ll be there plenty ahead of Tracy’s scheduled 8:15pm arrival and everything goes smoothly. After leaving the airport, Tracy picks a nearby restaurant for dinner and we head to Conner’s Steak and Seafood Restaurant. I order the prime rib and it’s delicious while Tracy orders a ribeye and most of it becomes the steak in steak and eggs for Thursday’s breakfast. Once we’re back aboard Kailani, Frankie does a ten minute happy dance upon seeing Tracy walk aboard. 

Thursday, we have tickets for the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater for their matinee showing of Guys and Dolls. This is a play that both Tracy and I acted in when we were in college, so we look forward to this opportunity to watch others perform the same play. The meal is a decent buffet and as we look around on this Thursday afternoon, we realize that we’re probably the youngest people in the entire audience. Another unprovable coincidence is that after posting on Facebook that we’re watching Guys and Dolls, we get a reply from our daughter-in-law Stephanie that one of her close friend’s daughter is the star portraying ‘Mission Doll, Sara’. Small world huh!

Friday, I drive over to the local Fort Meyers Country Club and get into a foursome with some locals and enjoy a nice round of golf while Tracy gets some chores done aboard Kailani. Also, I drive a bit further south to the local dive shop and drop off my dive watch for a battery change. They will replace the battery and it will be ready early Saturday so I can pick it up before we depart.

Saturday we take our rental car and drive to the IMAG History and Science Center. This is a local small-type facility, but we are able to get in using our reciprocal agreement from our membership we purchased at the Air and Space Museum back in Hampton, VA, so an afternoon of no-cost fun viewing science, weather and history exhibits.

Ever since we got here, our plan was to spend two weeks here, then leave next Monday to go just across the river to Kitty Nicolai’s house for an evening stopover before leaving again on Tuesday headed for Marco Island, but as the days have gotten closer to our scheduled departure, we’ve seen the weather worsen for winds and waves in the gulf. So we make a decision to stay here a few extra days to wait out the weather. When we checked into the marina, we ended up paying for a month because the monthly rate was more economical than two weekly rates, so staying here will not cost us money, it will just delay us from getting to the bluewater of the Keys.