Wings of Freedom

January 30 – February 4, 2017

Miles traveled: 59

Total miles traveled:  2947

On our last night in Fort Myers we had one of those rare but wonderful, I feel like have known you all of my life experiences.  We had been watching a dock-mate carefully sand, tape, stain and then varnish the bright work on his boat.  He was meticulous and painstaking, just like someone else I know.  We never got around to saying hello until another boater mentioned that John, Luann, and the boat Sandpiper were also from Michigan.  I then made it a point to go over, admire his work and mention Michigan.  The litany of what we have in common is endless including they’re home on Lake Michigan just down the beach from Camp Lookout, our shared time at MSU, as well as Jim and John’s engineering and sailing histories.  We enjoyed an evening together with the promise to meet up again in the Bahamas and/or eventually Frankfort!

img_2377And we thought we were the only Namaste?

After a rainy Sunday, we left Fort Myers on Monday, January 30th heading to Fort Myers Beach which is not as close as it sounds and which required navigating the multiple and confusing channel markings at the convergence of the Caloosahatchee River and the Gulf.  We mostly stayed out of trouble.  Since we are attempting to see and do different things this time around southern FL, we called ahead to several resort/marinas along the way but found that they charged more than double our nightly dockage budget which is already way too high.

img_2397The pretty part of the channel

img_2400The hair-raising part of the channel

img_2401Arrived at Salty Sam’s

While at Salty Sam’s we met Loopers Nick, Barb, and Ziggy (Ziggy Zaggy Scallawaggy) who looks like Sammy with long legs.  I mention them because when they pulled up to the dock next to us, I thought she looked familiar.  Through conversation we realized that she had been sitting at our table at the Looper Palooza Conference.  After the first session break her notebook and water remained at the table but she never returned.  By her admission, it was a beautiful day and she has no attention span! Exactly, who needs an indoor boating conference!  They are having boat repairs done but hopefully we will cross paths again soon.

While here Captain Jim got the dinghy outboard motor running again.  Note to selves:  don’t let it sit in the hot FL sun for eight months with gas in the carburetor = syrup.  Another day we walked across the waterway bridge and had a beautiful beach and shopping day.  I found the best  bathing suit store ever, did I just say that?  The pictures (of the beach, not the bathing suits) tell the story!img_2426View walking across the bridge in the early morning

img_2446Perfect Beach!

img_2447Pausing for a moment of reflection, or is it planning?

fullsizeoutput_85cdThis White Egret and I share similar coiffure challenges

img_2435This is a first – note the fleece blankets for a cozy  breakfast on a slightly chilly morning.

On Thursday February 3rd we cast off from Salty Sam’s and headed back out the very long channel into the Gulf.  It was a gorgeous day with not much wind for sailing so we motored along the southwest coast of FL about five miles off-shore past Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs, eventually entering the channel for Naples.  The nice thing about an outside passage is that once you are in the Gulf there are no channels or markers to watch, simply put her on auto-pilot, follow the compass and chart plotter, oh but then there are always the pesky crab pots.  When back inside and after passing more and more and more gorgeous houses and mega yachts, we found the efficient and friendly Naples City Dock that has everything we need.  This time we opted to tie up to a mooring ball instead of a dock slip where our neighbors are three other beautiful ketch sailboats.  Mooring ball pluses include:  peace and quiet (except for the slightly crazy arguing couple next door this morning) and a $10 per night fee.  Minuses include:  no shore power – nothing that takes 110 volts – think hair dryer, toaster, phone chargers, microwave.  There are also at least three required dinghy trips/day to shore for Sammy.  Today I have opted to spend the whole day on the boat reading, writing, and am looking forward to a phone conversation with Sally over a glass of wine at 4:30!  Jim is doing some more varnish work and Sammy is sleeping – she reports being up all night as guardian of the Namaste.  There are different noises out here in the bay.img_2488Somewhere out there is Mexico!

img_2539The Namaste mooring out in Naples

A word about sea horses or kangaroos of the sea.  Did you know that the males give birth?  The female deposits her eggs in a pouch which he then fertilizes and carries, eventually releasing 100-200 tiny but live and fully developed sea horses.  My eyes are peeled for one. . .

I hope I made you curious about today’s blog title.  Yesterday as we arrived in Naples it was under the loud but fascinating fly-in of restored WWII aircraft for a Wings of Freedom Show including tours and rides at the Naples airport.  Again and again our heads turned skyward as the deafening drone of yet another historic plane arrived (B-17, B-25 Mitchell, B-24 liberator, and a P-51 Mustang). With the run-way just across the river, it felt like we could reach up and touch history.  Apparently this tour, sponsored by the Collings Foundation, visits 100 cities a year displaying these old aircraft as memorials, as a museum.  Of course, these oldies were mixed with a parade of white private jets whisking their owners down for a weekend in the sun.

img_2544

Captain Jim watching the flyovers

img_2555

WWII aircraft

Unfortunately I do not have a strong enough internet connection, even with creating a hot spot to download the most recent pictures.  I will post this and add more pictures later.  The best places to get a good connection I have found are the library and McDonald’s but neither is close-by.

Good boat name of the day:  Untide (on a sleek old-style sailboat)

Bad boat name of the day: Reely Lost (on a fishing boat, of course)

Quote of the day:  I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality. . .  I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy Birthday to:  Carson and Kevin

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