Chapter IV, Part 2. To Fort Myers
Chapter IV: Tarpon Springs, Florida to Marathon, Florida, plus 20 miles (cont.)
Part 2. Days 7 through 10: Southwest Florida, Tampa Bay to Fort Myers
Mar. 2, 2004 (Tue.), Day 7
After coffee and a snack, we pulled our anchor and proceeded south on the ICW. The wind again was coming straight at our bow so putting up the sails was not an option. We traversed Sarasota Bay, which took about 3 hours. The wind became stronger and we were running through 1 to 1-1/2 foot chop. There was considerable power boat traffic, which meant that we were constantly dealing with heavy wakes. We stopped for lunch/dinner in Venice, Florida, and enjoyed a shrimp dinner.
We are now anchored to the side of the ICW about 5 miles south of Venice. A few mosquitoes have found us so the mosquito screen is in place for tonight. We were eating peanuts in the shell while traveling today and Captain Robin was not pleased to find peanut shells in the trailing inflatable. Where we are anchored, we can hear the surf just over a very narrow strip of land between us and the Gulf.
Mar. 3, 2004 (Wed), Day 8
When Robin and I climbed out of our sleeping bags this morning we discovered that we were gently sitting on the bottom. By the time we had coffee and a snack the tide had come in enough to allow us to pole out to deeper water using the boat hook. The wind was still coming from the south about 5 mph. By the time we reached Lemon Bay, which was about two hours of motoring, the wind had increased to about 20 mph with lots of whitecaps. We were not making good headway so we decided to find a marina early today.
We are now docked at Cape Haze Marina at Englewood, Florida. This is a very nice marina with very nice people in charge. When we asked if there was a grocery store within walking distance, the office manager (Dondi) without hesitation handed us her car key and gave us directions. We ate lunch at a local restaurant and then to the store for more groceries. We also purchased a pink potted mum for Dondi to show our appreciation for the use of her car. She was very pleased. Late this afternoon Robin and I used the hot tub for about an hour followed by much needed showers. I think we will both sleep well tonight. Robin borrowed a hose from a neighboring slip and spent about an hour washing Spirit Song.
Mar. 4, 2004 (Thu.), Day 9
We walked to breakfast and decided it was a bit windy this morning so we decided to stay here one more night. Robin topped off both fuel tanks. It took about 5-1/2 gallons. I check the bilge and only removed about ¼ bucket of water. AT 11:30 AM the owner of the hose that Robin borrowed yesterday arrived at his 27 foot Catalina sail boat. Robin and I went over to thank him for the use of the hose and was invited aboard. For the next 3 hours we had a very interesting visit with this man. His name is Carlos and he is a 73-year-old retired surgeon from Argentina. He practiced in the New York/New Jersey area and now lives in this area of Florida with his wife. He purchased the 27’ Catalina about a month ago and is becoming familiar with every nook and cranny. Although he has been on several sailboats as a guest, this is his first boat ownership. We found another restaurant at a neighboring marina and enjoyed an early dinner. Robin and I made use of the hot tub for the second night in a row.
Mar. 5, 2004 (Fri.) Day 10
We were up a little earlier than usual this morning. After breakfast at the restaurant located an easy walk from the marina we readied Spirit Song for the day’s journey and departed the marina. Again no sailing because of the wind direction. We motored into the wind until the wind picked up to about 35 to 40 mph with spray coming into the cockpit from the bow. We decided to head to shore for a b4reak because it was becoming not fun. We tired up to the fuel dock of a marina for 30 to 45 minutes and then back out to the ICW. By this time the wind had settled down a bit. We proceeded south until about 5:00 PM and found a nice anchorage about a mile off of the ICW. We are anchored on a single hook with about 8 or 10 other boats spread over a large area. We saw dolphin again today as we have almost every other day. Robin just watched a cormorant fishing bird dive and come up with a fish a little too big to get down without a struggle. The bird finally ate the fish and flew off looking happy. We traveled 37 miles today. I am sitting in the cockpit of Spirit Song feeling a cooling breeze and looking at an almost full moon. In the opposite direction the sun has just set and presenting us with a very colorful sky. We are now anchored about 15 ICW miles west of Fort Myers, Florida.