January 20 – 29, 2017
Miles Traveled: 2888
We left River Forest Marina on Monday (January 23rd) grateful that our repairs were done and ready to be on our way after two days of 25-35 mph winds with gusts above 50. It was an uneventful trip the final 40 miles across Florida to Fort Myers managing two locks and several lift and swing bridges through rural turned high-end Florida. We tied up at the FM Yacht Basin wall, not a pretty but a successful docking under 25 mph crosswinds. This city-owned marina meets our needs well: good, clean, new showers; large outdoor laundry with a view; dependable internet reception; a ship’s store that has everything and more; a one block walk to the historic district with great shopping and restaurants; close-by post office and library; friendly people and lots of dogs to entertain Sammy.
A swing bridge. Note the lady in yellow in the right picture – the bridge tender who walks out from shore to open the bridge for each passing boat!
Provisioning here isn’t easy with the local Publix a mile or so walk away. We planned on riding the Trolley back with our many bags. However, in the lucky and small world category, we ran into our yacht broker who drove us to within 100 steps of the boat. Thank you, Michael! Need to provision again today, think we will use Uber.
There have been several highlights to our days here. The social report includes saying good-by once again to our boat buddies Vickie and Ron who are wintering near Orlando and then bumping into a happy-hour group of ten or so Loopers. Many were gold Loopers meaning they having already completed at least one loop. Some we knew from last winter and several are currently in progress so conversations were fun, interesting and helpful. Another day we spent with Jim’s cousins Judy and Beth and their husbands Gary and Dean. We had lunch at Ford’s Garage, ice cream at the local ice cream/popcorn shop and the afternoon by the water catching up with the Kelly/McFall families – the best of family soup! Then yesterday we accepted an invitation to join Ev and Clark on their beautiful new boat, Sunset Delight – a 52’ Krogan Express. We went on a day excursion, anchoring for lunch and enjoying Fort Myers from the water. She is by far the most beautiful boat I have ever traveled aboard and I have been on a lot of boats!
Another day we hopped aboard the free Trolley and headed to the Edison Ford Estates – really a museum remembering Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. To say it was interesting is an understatement but for me the depiction of their father/son, turned peer relationship was the best! The two family’s neighboring winter estates and their camping trips into the Everglades alongside the prolific achievements of both men made for an attention focused afternoon. There was also a Banyan Tree on the property whose canopy covers more than ¾ of an acre. I fondly remember sitting under that tree with my mom while visiting in the early 1970’s when they first came to Florida. Today I sat under the same tree having a pretend glass of wine and enjoying a phone conversation with my friend Sally. Captain Jim was watching a movie about Henry Ford and reminiscing his 40 year auto industry career.
A word about birds. The brown and most common pelicans catch their food by diving below the water surface which is hazardous to their vision followed by cause of death when they can no longer see their prey. The more rare and somewhat smarter white pelicans simply scoop up the fish with their bills and massive gullets. We have seen a couple of white pelicans and my hope is to see one while feeding. Also, Sammy and I unintentionally scared up a large flock of white Ibis the other day but I am not sure who was more scared.
A word about books. Captain Jim is enjoying a book he found on a marina “free” table, Your Boat’s Electrical System, published in 1973 and a perfect manual for our 1976, Namaste.
We will be here through Monday, January 30th, catching up on boat chores like laundry, filling water tanks and varnishing the sole (floor) of the cabin. Today we had lunch outside at the Lodges with beautiful but surreal north country lodge décor which made me a little homesick. Great food was followed by a walk down main street closed for the local car show. It is supposed to rain tomorrow which will be our first since leaving Michigan. Wishing you peace in these turbulent times!
Watercolor, beautifully painted
Evergreen, totally white plastic with not a lick of wood or color
Happy Birthday to: Curt and Roger