5 February, 2015

Ola mi amigos,

0630, very still and kinda close.  Wispy, pre-sun fog that is turning back to vapor as the suns’ progress toward the west makes the eastern horizon a fiery orange.  One of those mornings that you don’t want to make a sound and break the spell.  By 0700, we’re tiptoeing away from the wall in Moore Haven, bound for our intended anchorage below Franklin Lock outside Fort Meyers.  As our Girl glides past silent houses, with the sun making his appearance over the palm-lined river banks, we’re eyed by couples on their porches here and there enjoying their first cuppa.  The morning chill dissipates as the sun rises higher in the sky, and by noon the temperature passes 70 degrees.  Sitting on the bow with the autopilot remote in hand, we while away the time cleaning our boats’ fenders.  We’re pretty psyched that our navigation computer tells us our anchorage will appear on our starboard side around 1310.  No boat chores scheduled, so we’re looking forward to some reading in the sun.  Franklin, our last lock for the foreseeable future, was only a drop of 3 feet, and should have been a real yawner.  There were spiffy new lines, complete with decorative crown knots at the ends hanging from the lock wall for us.  Only problem was, they were about a foot shy of high water.  Now, in a 19’ runabout, that ain’t no big thang.  For a gal weighing in at a touch over 61,000 pounds in a 10 knot crosswind, hanging on to lines by your fingernails is a bit of a challenge.  When the Admiral yelled “Uncle” from the stern, I dropped my line, and headed back to the pilothouse to hold the Girl against the lock wall with a little diesel power.  I’m sure the lockmaster wasn’t favorably impressed with an unsecured vessel in his lock, but we were the only boat locking through, and he didn’t say anything.  As we exited, Suz suggested to him that maybe the lines could be a little longer, to which he replied that “They got scuzzy when they were long enough to hang in the water”.  Clearly, he was the craftsman behind the fancy rope work, and therefore very proud, and just as clearly, not a boater.  Our anchorage was just below the lock, so we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon sunning, reading, and watching the shenanigans of young boatdrinkers aboard several other vessels.

Sunny Sunday first of February, and we had a short 10 mile run into Fort Meyers, where we docked for the Super Bowl.  Fuel for $2.72/ gallon looked pretty good-“we’ll take 308 gallons, please”.  We spend the afternoon doing boat chores, and get a surprise visit from Chris and Gayle.  We had met them 2 years earlier at the Krogen Rendezvous in Solomon’s.  They live aboard their Krogen 42 in the marina next door and work here in town.  Of course, they offer us the use of their car, ‘cause that’s how it rolls with fellow boaters.    We were all stocked up, so didn’t need wheels, but I’m just sayin’.  Football and spaghetti dinner, two of my favorite things, don’t get much better.  Monday morning we had another short hop to Glover Bight, outside Cape Coral, where we were to meet our dear friends, Jeff and Susie Parker, captains of a Krogen 48, “Idyll Time”, and their faithful crew Sebastian (Jack Russell terrier), and Nate (African Green Parrot), from Chattanooga,Tennessee.  J & S helped us in making our decision to build a Krogen, then how to outfit her.  We’ve cruised as buddy boats in the North Channel of Lake Huron, and in Lake Superior.  Several years ago, we travelled to Antarctica together on a somewhat larger vessel, then bareboated on The Sea of Cortez on a chartered sailing catamaran.  On the way to Cape Coral, we get a little excitement as the engine temperature gauge pegs, and the alarms start howling just as the Admiral is chatting on the VHF with a passing boater that “just loved Charlevoix”.  Shut ‘erdown, anchordown, and take a lookee.  #$@!!, the impeller on the raw water pump had just self-destructed.  Well, it was changed less than 100 hours previously, so I just chalked it up to a case of infant mortality.  In twenty minutes, new impeller in, we’re back underway, but not before Jeff has called on the radio to see if he “needs to rescue us with his dinghy”-seems he heard us on the radio alerting other vessels to the fact that we were anchored in the channel.  By 1130, we’re anchored in the Bight around 200 yards from where Idyll Time is docked for the next month while J & S take care of some family business.  Over the next few days, we do a lot of catching up, and make plans for a rendezvous and trip to the Keys in mid-February.  Jeff and I compare notes on boat fixes, tips and tricks since we last talked (the ladies call us “brothers from different mothers”)-total boatnerds.  Sandwiched in between the non-stop gabbin’ we help a friend of theirs sea trial his 70’ Hatteras after some extensive repairs.  Weloveboats.  The Bight was a tremendous anchorage, but a long way from town and grocery stores, requiring a car for any provisioning.

February 4th came too quickly.  We’re heading out to take advantage of a weather window, and Jeff and Susie had to close up I.T. and head out on land.  Hopefully, we’ll see them again in a few weeks.  Our trip north to Pelican Bay off Cayo Costa was a short 3 ½ hours, punctuated by our omnipresent friends, the dancing dolphins.  Since we really don’t like the feel of the Girls’ bottom rubbing the seafloor, the entrance to the bay was a little nervewracking.  Once in, we found a 9 foot hole to throw the hook in, and with 3 ½ feet under us we are happy, happy.  Looks like we’ll be here a few days, with hiking at the State Park, and a Dinghy ride over to a bar on Cabbage Key (supposedly the inspiration for Jimmy Buffett’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise”).  Wind is blowing 20, and will be for the next few days, so our wind generators are “making money”.

Using our “Hotspot”, so pictures later.

-Hasta Manana

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