It's early Sunday morning and we're sitting anchored off Caya Costa Island which is just north of Ft. Myers. The whole island is a state park accessible only by private boat or ferry. After breakfast, we'll pack up a picnic lunch load our bikes in the dinghy and head to shore to explore. There are supposed to be miles of bike & hiking paths and of course beautiful Gulf beaches. I am somehow going to fit my snorkel gear on my bike!
We arrived last night just after dark after making a coastal run of a little more than 50 miles. We left early yesterday morning from Longboat Key after deciding to skip Sarasota and going the ICW route -with it's many bridges and shoal water. Unfortunately the wind was on our nose most of the day so we had to motor sail. It was pretty choppy/sloppy the first few hours and Coleen had a rough go of it mostly moping around. She laid on the cabin floor with her teddy bear for a long time before I could convince her she would feel better outside. We were getting bouned around too much to really do anything other than hold on and watch for crab pots.
When it settled down a bit I fired up the computer and Coleen enjoyed playing on the Disney website for a couple of hours. We had amazing internet receoption all the way down the coast - and were usually only about 2 miles off shore. I graded school papers and made sandwhiches for lunch. As we neared the pass near Venice - DJ called and asked if we wanted to quit or push on. There is reportedly only a few spots to anchor near Venice - and it was after noon. I checked the weather radar and decide to press on. It had calmed down to a more comfortable motion.
Late in the afternoon, I fired up the computer, tucked it in a reasonablly secure spot in the cockpit and Coleen and I watched Dancing with the Stars on ABC.com :-) First tv we'd seen in weeks.
We arrived at the pass just as the sun was starting to set - only minutes to spare! We had decided to take a short cut - based on a recommendation by other sailors - that had us cutting through a very narrow and shallow (7 ft) stretch close to shore. We were at high tide so that helped. I led the way using my chartplotter and my ipod gps. I'll say those were some tense moments as it was WAY to close to the shore to make a mistake - and also there was a bit of current.
Just as DJ made his way through and into the channel the sun dipped below the horizon - as Coleen and I were watching. She said that sunsets over the ocean are the most beautiful of all.
We had a short distance to travel to this anchorage and it was completely dark by the time I dropped the hook - a safe distance between two trawlers and quite far from shore. First order of business was bug screens and changing into my bug clothes.... I have a set of loose, long sleeve silk pajamas that I wear on buggy evenings complete with socks! Then I settled in for a icy cold beer before making dinner. I was actually too tired to even think about cooking - but DJ had caught our very first fish - two beautiful spanish mackerels. They had the most beautiful coloring you can imagine. It was almost sad to see them lying in the bucket.... From what we heard, they are good to eat but only on the day you catch them. So I started some rice while DJ cleaned the fish. A google search showed a good way to cook them - just a little butter and paprika - wrapped in foil on the grill. We added a little freshly squeezed lemon and they were quite tasty. A bit of a heavy fish - but very nice. Coleen had hers covered in catsup and reports it tasted ok.
We hit the covers after dishes and a very quick shower. It was only 10 p.m. I was exhausted - but it was that good kind of tired - from a job well done and a mission accomplished!