We just enjoyed the most wonderful weekend. We got an early start on Friday when we met a very nice young couple in the laundry room from South Africa and Hungary. They just moved on their Island Packet during the week and are preparing a 2 year round the world cruise. They met while crewing on a 110 ft power vessel. He is a captain and she worked as crew. They’ve enjoyed ports all around the Mediterranean and Caribbean. We had planned to leave late Friday afternoon and scoot over to an anchorage – but decided instead to invite them to dinner. It turned out to be a fun evening.
Saturday morning Coleen and I got up early and enjoyed a nice long walk on Ft. Myers beach. We stopped for breakfast at a neat little outdoor place – and then attended the first annual Ft. Myers Beach Pumpkin Festival. Coleen enjoyed lots of free carnival games and walked away with a huge bag of candy. We also bought a rather large pumpkin. We arrived back at the boat around 10 a.m. and prepared to leave. I’m going to skip the whole part about me thinking I’d lost my wallet, wandering all over to find it, cancelling my credit cards, and then finding it behind a pillow on the settee. I mean who needs to know that J We finally dropped our mooring and headed out around noon! I showed Coleen how drop the mooring and she did a super job!
We traveled through the bay and back under the Sanibel bridge heading for an anchorage at Glover Bight. We’d decided not to trek through the miserable mile at low tide, but rather hold up at the anchorage and then head over in the morning to Sanibel Island. It was a wild ride through the ICW as all the power boats were out in full force. We were getting bounced around by wake after wake. The first big one bounced our pumpkin off the companionway hatch and down into the galley floor – breaking the stem –but thankfully not breaking the pumpkin. Yes I suppose I should not have had it up there, but that’s where we kept it last year…..in our pre-ICW days. I was daydreaming using my iphone to look at boats on Yachtworld when the next big wake got us. Instead of turning the bow into the wake – like I knew I should – I decided it wasn’t that big and took it on the beam. HUGE mistake. All of a sudden I heard the weirdest noise. I yelled out to Coleen who was in the cabin – “what’s that sound” – although I might not have said it quite that way. Being the savvy first mate that she is, she quickly replied –“ it’s the anchor chain!” Yikes that big wake dropped BOTH of my anchors - one off the bow roller and the other off its holder on the rail. I quickly put the engine in neutral and ran up front. Yep – all the line was out! There I was anchored in the middle of the channel. (And yes if my friend Brett is reading this – he told me this would happen one day – that I didn’t have them secure enough). I quickly began the horrible task of dragging in all that rode --- and me in a dress too! I got a little muddy. Once again my first mate came through She had quickly donned her life jacket, came out into the cockpit and took the helm – before I even asked. Then after everything was back in order – and much more secure – she brought me a warm wash cloth for cleaning up the mud on my legs. That girl is too much.
Meanwhile our buddy DJ had turned around and was headed back our way. He thought I had broken down. I gave him a call to say that I had just anchored in the channel for a few minutes. About an hour later we arrived at our anchorage in Glover Bight. It was a quiet little place nestled among banks of mangrove trees. Tarpon Point marina was across the way – along with a huge condo building – but all beside and behind us was mangrove swamp. After cracking a cold one – we piled in the dinghy and set off exploring. We took the little waterway all the way to the end – slowing down to a crawl many times so we could duck under the trees that formed a canopy over the water. There were so many fish – and once again me without a rod.
I talked DJ into cooking dinner – while I just relaxed reading a library book on the Everglades. It was a peaceful evening until the bugs came out. That’s the thing with those cool, peaceful mangrove anchorages – they lure you in with their peace and beauty and then ravage you with bugs at night. We turned in early – to escape the bugs and because we planned to depart at daybreak.
Sunday morning I was up at six excited at the prospect of being underway. We were going to hit the miserable mile at high tide, then anchor off Ding Darling Wildlife refuge, dinghy in and ride bikes to the Historical village. I promised to make a huge breakfast when we arrived. While sitting and enjoying a cup of tea – just prior to departure, I got out my guidebook to see just how far we’d have to ride our bikes…. and only just then did I realize the place was CLOSED for the season until Nov 1. So as all good cruisers do – we quickly made a plan B or maybe it was C at this point.. anyway we decided to go the opposite way and head up the river to Ft Myers, anchor or grab a mooring and visit the Edison/Ford Winter home & gardens museum.
OK, so that turned out to be a long ride. A bit over 3 hours. There was a very narrow little channel leading across a shoal on entry to the mooring field. It was so narrow a big boat would not have fit. It was only 7 to 8 feet deep too. This was a huge anchorage but only had a few moorings. DJ decided to anchor while Coleen and I picked up mooring. I should say Coleen picked up a mooring. I explained how to do it and made her promise to hold on the boat hook no matter what. The water was very calm so I came up right next to the mooring ball. It didn’t have a pennant (that little floating line you are supposed to pick up). I told Coleen to use the boat hook to grab the metal eye on the mooring ball – and that girl did it --- first try too! I had to lay down flat on my tummy, scoot way out under and over the rail to loop a line through that thing – but it worked! We gave each other huge high fives!
Were we ever hungry! I made a nice unhealthy brunch, bacon, fried taters, eggs, toast before we took the dinghy over to check in. A mooring with the Boat US discount was only $11 and change. We then walked a little over a mile to the Edison/Ford Museum. After the first few blocks I was wishing we had the bikes. It was a long hot walk, but turned out to be well worth the effort – definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
Turns out Thomas Edison had his winter home in Ft Myers right on the river. He also had a laboratory for botanical research. Then later his good friend Henry Ford bought the home next door. Both homes, the gardens and the laboratory were in amazing shape and very informative. I was surprised that both homes were of modest size and simply furnished like you’d expect for a beach home. Edison had planted a wide variety of palms, trees, and flowers partly for his research – he was trying to find an alternative source of rubber – and partly for enjoyment. It is a truly beautiful place.
To make things even better – we’d spotted a Publix grocery on our walk. So on the way back we stopped for a rotisserie chicken, fresh bread and potato salad – all the makings of a quick dinner. I tried to talk DJ and Coleen into just stopping in the park and tearing in to the food – but both of them were too worried about germs.
We had planned to travel back to the Glover bight anchorage – but after eating dinner decided to stay the night – and actually for the next few days until I return from Denver on Wednesday night. I think it was a good choice as I was very, very tired. My darling little girl then gave me a foot massage – and a back rub…. only charging 10 cents or 1 dollar – my choice….. perhaps we need to work a little more on the value of money J