Naples to Marco – Extraordinary Contrasts

February 5 – 11, 2017

Miles traveled: 14

Total miles traveled:  2961

I haven’t commented on our weather recently so I will simply say that it is perfect.  Every day is in the high seventies/low eighties and we have had only one day and one night of rain since January 10th.  Not good for the environment but nice for tourism.  We use a couple of fans during the heat of the day plus at night and we are all good. This time last year it wasn’t nearly as nice in the Keys.img_2397CBS Days (clear blue skies)

Report on our time in Naples.  We stayed on the mooring ball four nights (the maximum allowed), went into the dock for two nights getting everything charged up, and back out on the ball for a night.  It was a wonderful stay for many reasons but mostly because everything was convenient, the people were great, and we had friends who treated us to some of the local pleasures of Naples.img_2639View from the mooring ball

On Saturday (4th) we set out for a long exploratory walk.  We literally ran into the Naples Farmers’ Market and believe me, not like any ordinary farmers’ market.  Several blocks long it was colorful, high energy, and high fashion with everything for sale from beets to bikinis.  The baked goods gave way to several unique vendors and displays.  From there we headed away from the crowds and to the beach.  Naples is unique in that every street that runs perpendicular to the Gulf has public access with parks and resident parking.  We walked a long way with our feet in the water enjoying the wildlife, both human and animal.  It was quite a display!  About ten blocks up we left the beach and headed to the grocery market – Wynn’s for some provisioning.  By this point it was hot and a long, long walk back to the Namaste carrying provisions so we Ubered back for $5, well spent.

img_2524Naples Farmer’s Market

Another day we went back to the beach by way of the Bad Ass Coffee Shop (the name has something to do with donkeys that carry the coffee) and required window shopping.  The beach was even more wonderful as it was earlier and cooler.  We next braved the unknown and walked back through neighborhood after neighborhood of multi-million dollar homes.  The auto-parade is yet another story.img_2517There are no words

Additional highlights included meals at Nemo’s and the Ciboa Grille – both excellent – and a walk through the lovely Naples botanical Gardens.  Something we learned:  there are 65 thrift (resale) shops in Naples.  Why you wonder would this community need thrift shops?  The answer lies in the age and stage of its residents.  It is a relatively new community beginning development in the early ‘60’s with lots and lots of older folks buying homes and condos over the last fifty years.  When the inevitable happens, there are lots and lots of gigantic homes and posh condos full of stuff to be disposed.  Families simply call one of the 65 shops who show up and evaluate the goods.  No drop off here, they don’t take anything that is even slightly worn!  The store layouts (one was previously a car dealership) and bargains are astounding.

fullsizeoutput_85f2In the Asian Garden – One of several gardens representing this latitude around the world.

img_2620The Botanical Gardens Origami display – paper through to metal sculptures

img_2635 img_2637Orchids everywhere

I may have reported on laundry experiences before but recently gave the prize to a couple who washed two very large loads, threw them both into the same dryer and allowed it to run for well over an hour – never coming back to check on drying progress.  When the dryer shut off I removed their clothes which is a breach of the marina laundromat ethical code but enough was enough.  Since there were only two washers and one dryer we invested over two and a half hours in accomplishing one reasonable sized load of laundry.  No multi-tasking here.  The good news was being outside with an incredible view.

What have we been up to besides meandering down the SW coast of Florida?  Jim has been working hard on varnishing the exterior teak while I perfect the wet-varnish-dance.  Step here, don’t touch there!  Currently he is sanding the binnacle – the post that holds up the compass just ahead of the wheel.  Sammy finds a shady spot in the cockpit and settles down for what she knows will be a long nap!  Hear boring, zzzzz!

img_2699Keeping the Namaste beautiful

Today I learned that the manatee is no longer on the endangered list.  Although not sure why, I suspect this is a good thing.  Pelicans (not endangered) greeted us at the breakwater coming into the Naples channel and then gathered for dinner below where the charter boat fishermen were cleaning their catch.  We loved watching the Sandpipers gather on a windy day, in rows like soldiers, facing into the wind. We also identified a Royal Tern.

img_2492Naples Greeters!

img_2507Where is dinner?  This scene was just off the dinghy dock where we parked to go ashore. Sammy was somewhere between ecstatic and terrified.

fullsizeoutput_85deThe dinner scramble

fullsizeoutput_85e3Sandpipers all in a row

fullsizeoutput_85e7Beautiful Royal Tern

fullsizeoutput_8629One of my personal favorite, random, beach pictures.

On Thursday (9th) we sadly pulled up anchor – really released lines to a ball – and headed back out into the Gulf for Marco Island.  It was a short but lovely 14 mile sail.  Upon arrival, we had the choice of either anchoring out in a bay (remember free) or heading to one of several marinas.  Since we knew the weather report was calling for high winds the next day and a few other variables, we opted for the most expensive, Marco Island Yacht Club and Marina complete with pool and beautiful, quiet setting.  What we didn’t know was that due to the spectacular full moon, the tides would be at their lowest of low.  The first morning here we woke up to Sammy’s insistent whining because our keel was resting into a couple feet of soft muddy bottom and the boat was pitched forward.  Our watch dog warned us that something was definitely wrong!  We were tied to a floating dock which kept us upright and were delighted with our decision not to anchor out that particular night.  Sammy has two wonderful playmates, Izzy and Sprite.  Izzy is a black lab who carries two toys in her mouth at all times and Sprite who keeps Sammy in line as it is her dock.

We will stay a few more days in Marco before we head into the Everglades and on down to the Keys.

Good boat name of the day:  Magic Happened (Makes you wonder?)

Bad boat name of the day: Nervous Wreck

Quote of the day:  At times I’m grateful that thoughts don’t appear in bubbles over our head-Kushandwizdom

Happy Birthday to:  Jim, Bernie and Happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Our very best thoughts to:  Michele, Roger

3 thoughts on “Naples to Marco – Extraordinary Contrasts

  1. Thinking about you. Do you travel with that compass that was in a box up at the cottage? Or would it be too cumbersome. Enjoying your travels vicariously. Love to you both.


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