The cold is gone and the heat is on!
We ended up spending a couple extra days in Fort Meyers Beach. It’s a great little beach town. Spring Break must still be going on because the beach was packed with people. We made our way to all the local spots that were recommended to us: SOBs (Shrimp Oyster Brewery), The Cottage, and Petey’s Upper Deck at the Matanzas Inn. All of them were great. We also made it to the Friday FMB Farmers Market. Not a huge event, but some great produce at fair prices and Gillian picked up some some spicy pickles. Our last day there, we went out to the Capt Ron’s favorite Colombian place with him and Ken and Joanne from the boat yard. The five of us shared some authentic Colombian cuisine and swapped sailing stories. We said our final goodbye to Captain Ron – we will miss him a lot, but hope to meet up with him later this season in the BVIs.
Yesterday we left FMB for Marco Island. Shortly after our 8 AM departure we were making headway southbound in the wide open Gulf of Mexico! It was an unbelievable feeling to have all the space in the world to do with whatever we wanted. Well, except for one thing, sail. The wind was right on our nose so we decided to motor and see if the wind would fix itself. Eventually we decided we might as well get some sailing in even if we would have to tack back and forth towards Marco Island. There is nothing quite like the sound of the water rushing by when the engine finally stops making all that racket. We put the sails up, killed the engine, and Stella took off at a speedy 6 knots. We spent the afternoon hours doing some good tacking practice and getting a good feel for how close SB can sail to the wind – we are really starting to understand what she likes. At about 4 PM we pulled into an incredibly busy harbor and made our way up the channel to the anchorage. Gillian took the helm and I went up to the bow to perform our first solo anchoring. Communicating over our walkie talkies, I helped Gillian slowly move us into place. Once we were there I dropped the hook and we were here. It worked!
Oh, but I left out one important event. I had been dying to try out my new fishing gear and with all that open ocean, it was finally time. I got my line all rigged up, threw the lure overboard and let out about 200 feet of line. We were trolling along and I was content knowing we had a line in the water. This went on for some time until finally reel started whining like crazy and the pole was doubled over. This was it! Finally a big old mackerel to fight. Gillian took the helm and put the engine into neutral while I wrestled the pole out of the rod holder. This thing was gigantic. It took off and showed no signs of slowing down soon. AWES….it’s a crab pot. Crap. We turned around went back and got the hook off the damn thing. Now we hate them just as much as everybody else. At least it wasn’t the prop!
We spent today exploring the sights of Marco Island and had lunch at the Snook Inn with a friend who drove down from Naples. Tomorrow it’s off to Little Shark River.