March 13-29, 2017
Miles traveled: 170
Total miles traveled: 3275
It has been a long time since I blogged and the first thing I want to say is that I had a wonderful and much needed home-stay the week of March 13th. Because Mike was away, I was invited north to spend the week with Veta and children but also visited with the CBLC and PHLAN families. Everyone flexed their schedules to make it happen and I will let pictures tell the story! Have I mentioned lately that I have the very best daughters-in-law ever?
Klava’s beautiful smile
Liam on Oboe – day #1
Ashleigh and friends for the MHS Charity Dance – Freshwomen
Lexi and Audrey going to the MHS Charity Dance – Seniors
My travels were easy except for the shuttle ride from Miami Airport back to Faro Blanco (door to door). Upon touch-down my phone rang telling me to hurry as the shuttle, which wasn’t scheduled to leave for 45 minutes, was departing. Fortunately, I hadn’t checked luggage so I hustled from the far end of the airport to the appointed spot to find the shuttle missing. Ultimately, I found it about another ½ mile down in the frantically busy ground transportation lane. The Keys Shuttle, 12 passenger van was full to overflowing with two folks requiring three seats. I piled in by two women, fortunately with the aisle and sliding door to my right thinking I would simply read my book and look out the window for the two hour ride. Not to be.
In shotgun was a guy who knew everything and continually enlightened us all. In row #1 was a grandpa with two teenage granddaughters listening through earbuds while laughing and talking at a volume that allowed us all to experience their enthusiasm. In row #2 with me were two women whom I assumed were traveling together but were not. In row #3 were a disagreeing couple and a lucky single lady who pretty much sat there in the corner and read her book!
Back to row #2, at some point the lady in the middle turned toward me and I instantly knew that boundary setting was not an option. It became diagnostically clear that this lady was traveling alone, was on overload and anxiety had taken her over. She had missed her flight from Miami to Key West so the shuttle was her only option to Marathon that evening. She was physically unable to get out of the van at the rest stop; could not find her bag or her wallet in her bag or her money in her wallet; and forgot the address where she was to be dropped, but kept telling me (and us all) the same beautiful stories about her life back in the day, in NYC. In the end the entire van was focused upon and caring for this delightful lady until we had her in the arms of her waiting friends. Her gratitude was endless and I will never forget her determination and spirit. I only hope that the world will be as friendly to me and you one day! I was ecstatic to depart the shuttle after our 3+ hour adventure (there was also an accident on Highway #1) seeing Jim and Sammy happily awaiting my return. I believe they both enjoyed some alone time at this beautiful resort but we were all happy to be together again. We indulged ourselves with a stiff drink for me and a late-night order of lobster mac and cheese!
Jim accomplished much on the Namaste while I was gone: painted the head, v-berth and rub rails; varnished the binnacle, cabin floor, hatch, companionway, mast-step, taft and toe-rails; installed a cigar lighter (like in a car) on the navigation pod to plug in an inverter and charge the iPad for navigation during long days of travel; and replaced the Velcro on all the screens. Oh yes, and the taxes are done, check!
During our last week on Marathon/Faro Blanco we enjoyed the company of wonderful people. Gypsy Spirit (Dan and Jenny Lynn from White Lake, MI) fed Jim spaghetti dinner while I was away and whom I am certain we will meet again. Gypsy Soul (Troy and Lori) we met at an anchorage in Marco Island weeks ago turned up again across from us in the marina. They reported also seeing us in Panama City, up in the Pan Handle, Thanksgiving, 2015 and although we didn’t meet then, the Universe truly meant for us to connect. Their youthful energy and interesting life stories were refreshing! If you haven’t guessed by now, the people we meet and connections we make frequently fall into the “meant to be” category for us. We had a memorable Faro dinner with both Gypsy families one evening! Additionally, we were treated to Don and Barb on the gorgeous DeFever 49, Cavara. Thank you for the lovely dinner and time together. Also, Jim and Rita onboard Daisy shared incredible life stories from which to learn. Please let our paths cross again sometime!
A day at Sombraro Beach, Marathon
A sunset dinghy ride home after dinner at the Fisheries.
Ozzy Osbourne and his son had lunch at the Faro Blanco Lighthouse Grille one afternoon – 30 yards from the bow of the Namaste. His appearance lives up to the legend (he is 68 and looks 98). We don’t need our paths to cross again but it was fun to watch the fuss of our friendly Faro staff. A special shout-out to Jose, Josh, Sabrina, Mike and Devon (Sterling Heights) – you are the best!
Ozzy is the one with the hat.
Meanwhile we were waiting for a weather window to cross the Florida Bay back to the west coast of Florida to meet Mike, Veta, Klava, Oscar and Ashleigh on Firday (March 31) at Captiva Island near Fort Myers. The dilemma was that we had our slip rent paid through the 26th but had a good weather window earlier in the week. We decided to make a run for it only to change our minds upon wake-up as the weather had shifted once again and our window had closed. So, on the 26th, rent paid and things looking pretty good for the necessary 3 day window we departed Faro Blanco, 2017.
One of the many rain shower cells around on the crossing from Marathon to Florida
The weather was not what we would have ordered but fine for day #1. Winds and waves increased with shower cells dancing about us throughout the 42 mile and 8 hour passage losing all cell connections in about an hour. We pulled into Little Shark River in the Everglades where we spent the night with seven other boats. It is as remote a place as I have ever been or probably ever will be at the very southern tip of western FL. To say that the mosquitoes were thick is an understatement so at dusk we closed up for the night with only a dozen or so mosquitoes to fight down below keeping us awake along with an animal snorting and breathing just off the boat stern as well as a splash large enough to be a ten-year-old child. Both were probably a dolphin or manatee but could also have been a shark or a gator. As an added feature there was some sort of a low-tone signal we heard every 15-30 seconds all night. After checking and rechecking everything Jim decided it was coming through the hull from one of the other boats in the anchorage but we will never know. On day #2 we awoke to a cacophony of bird songs and pulled out before dawn followed by a swarm of happy-to-see-us mosquitoes. It was a perfect day and the 56 mile sail up to Marco Island with, at one point, 6 other sailboats was a truly beautiful open-water experience! We anchored about 6 p.m. in Smokehouse Bay and had cell coverage restored – amazing how much one misses LTE! The mosquitos weren’t visiting yet so we spent a beautiful evening of supper in the cockpit over sunset, going in by dinghy to walk Sammy and enjoy an ice cream cone and then back to the cockpit for some romantic star gazing. On perfect day #3 we left Marco Island and headed the 15 miles north to the Naples City Dock and a mooring ball where we were greeted by a dolphin playing around the Namaste for over an hour. I have many water pictures but not a single one with a dolphin visible. Day #4 was again beautiful and we sailed the 59 miles to Captiva (South Seas Resort) awaiting Mike and Veta’s arrival. Let nothing get in the way of a family visit!!!!
Leaving Little Shark River at Sunrise – Can you see the mosquitoes?
Leaving Marco Island
Leaving Naples – a parade of boats
Watching crab pots the whole way!
Sammy Says: There is so much to report but most importantly, Jim and Jo have finally invited me into the v-berth. As I believe I have mentioned before, they left me as lookout in the salon – an impossible job on windy nights. Perhaps they don’t trust me but more likely they have given in to my whining and pacing. All I can say is, it’s about time and I love cuddling with the family. On the flip side, I hate going potty on the deck but after 24 with 12 hours left to go…
This is me with my best friend in all the world – Jose!
Good Boat Name: Sweeter than Wine
Bad Boat Name: Rumpshaker
Quote of the day: “Do you ever look at your grandchildren and think…wow, how did I get so lucky! – “Share” Stuff
Happy Birthday to: Sharron (belated)
Love your recent posts JoAnn – so newsy and informative – I hope you got my text telling you that your blog is much better than the NYTimes story on the loop last Sunday, which I thought was rather lame & did not convey the full flavor and depth of the experience like you do. And your photography is top notch too – as I’ve said before you have a book in the offing – narrative and photos. Those grandkids of yours are all so beautiful – and Oscar looks ginormous! Keep it coming and continue to enjoy this experience of a lifetime. But come home to have a catch up lunch with us before too long too. Love to you and Jim, Penny