Coral Gables, FL to Marco Island, FL
Tuesday, Jan 29, 2019
Miles: 52.6, Run Time: 5:40
Hard to leave our friends, but south we must go. After good byes to Barb & Dave and Bruce & Sue on Lark, we headed off. Flat seas greeted us on the Caloosahatchee River. Winds picked up a few hours later, but still great cruising about 3 miles offshore down the coast in the Gulf of Mexico.
The auto pilot stopped working almost immediately. Not good. Rip tried to trouble shoot as we were moving. No joy. He will attack it once we dock.
Cally took it all in stride. Though she did signal she was ready to go out about an hour before we docked. She was one happy girl when she got to shore. Plus, the marina staff had a biscuit for her, too!
While waiting for answers from Raymarine about why the auto pilot died today, Rip rinsed the boat off from all the salt water and flushed the engine of salt water too. There is always stuff to do on a boat. And, nothing is as easy or as quick on a boat as at home.
Lots of vessels went by – including the Pirate Ship…
which every town seems to have.
Not complaining, we are on a boat.
Marco Island, FL to Everglades City, FL
Wednesday, Jan 30, 2019
Miles: 30.5 miles; Run Time: 4:14 hours
As we left The Marina at Factory Bay, we were joined by two Looper Boats we had not yet met. MV Laurie Jean and MV Salty Nutz. They anchored out across the Harbor from our marina. The marina was nice and clean, very good wifi (just upgraded with access points thru out the marina) but a long walk to facilities for the us. We were the furthest boat from the bathrooms/showers and on a Tee head so passing boats would wake us a bit.
A good day to travel in the Gulf of Mexico, cloudy and pleasant temps. We traveled with Laurie Jean and Salty Nutz for a while, I texted back and forth with Laurie. We both fly the AGLCA burger so I looked her up on the group website and reached out. After a bit the separated off and we ventured further down the coast and then about 7 miles in, off the Gulf, to Everglades Isle Resort & Marina in Everglades City, FL.
This is mostly a Class A Motorcoach resort with a marina. Beautiful doesn't begin to describe the facility.
The weather says leave tomorrow, but we could have stayed here longer.
We treated ourselves to dinner out just across the end of the harbor at City Seafood. Fried shrimp and scallop baskets were very good. An a view of the boat...no peeps out of Cally while we were gone.
Everglades City, FL to Marathon, FL
Thursday, Jan 3, 2019
Miles: 87.05, Run Time: 5:40
Up early this am as we have a long, 88 mile, run to get to Marathon, FL. Very low tide greeted us, so we made breakfast waiting for some water to come back into the harbor. When we left Rip had to push the boat from the dock out of the slip, then tilt the motor up a touch to move us out to deeper water. We churned mud for a short bit. We would not have been able to leave if we were still in the Monk. That's one advantage of this smaller boat.
Another is we ran between 17-19 mph, making the run to Marathon fast enough to get, Cally to shore in a timely manner.
It was a bit sporty the first 40 miles or so, Rip had to work hard to find the most comfortable water closest to our intended route. He got quite the workout and did a great job as the ride was comfortable. Things calmed down, but we didn't have lunch until we arrived at Blackfin Marina.
About 3 miles out Rip noticed the engine rpm's revving without speed changing. He thinks we "spun a prop". So we came into the marina slow and easy. It's a tight entrance, tight fairway and tight slip. Calm winds and lots of dock mates were on hand to grab lines and help Rip slide us into position.
This is a very small marina, right on the Gulf of Mexico with a beach, heated pool, laundry, free ice and walkable to many things like Publix. The “beach” isn't easy for Cally to reach the water as it is sandy but rock protected shore. So, we got permission to let her swim off the boat ramp.
Rip worked on various things; banking and small boat projects. He had not good success reaching Raymarine about the auto pilot, but had the Ah-Ha moment. He installed a kill switch to the Auto Pilot. Yep, the switch was in the kill position. We have auto pilot back without anymore drama!!
Rip put the final touch on the grill stand/platform he built so the grill can be used onboard and not fall over!
The prop was taken off, sent out to a prop shop & returned a few days later. Meanwhile, Rip installed the spare we carry. We will store the repaired prop. Curious if we notice any difference with the spare prop.
We will be here for two weeks enjoying warmth and sun instead of the awful Polar Vortex cold that is reeking havoc most everywhere else. We have friends in nearby marinas to catch up with as well as past clients of mine who are down here the same time as us.
We ventured over to a popular Looper marina for their Happy Hour to visit with Tammi & Ethan (Liberty) and Mandy & Jim (Shell Belle) for a while.
Happy Hour at our marina is when the fishermen come in, clean their catch and feed scraps to the Pelicans. I have now heard it is illegal to feed Pelicans, as any bones in the scraps can serious hurt the Pelican’s throats, etc. But, they sure think they like it.
Time to provision for the next week. We eat on the boat much more than we go out. A trip to Publix, .3 miles away, was much easier with our trailer. It attaches to the folding bike we had on the Monk. We decided not to find a place for the bike on this boat. The walk is good exercise.
Tammi, Ethan & Jim popped over for dinner at the restaurant at our marina. Missed Mandy & hope she is feeling better soon.
Past clients / friends of mine have a rental in Marathon and are down checking on it while we were here. Thru FB we figured out the timing and made plans for lunch out. George & Jane had never met Rip (almost none of my clients have, but they have ALL heard about him). A quick tour of the boat then lunch at Burdines on the water was great. HUGE and delicious hamburgers and their famous french fries were in order.
Meanwhile, Cally gets lots of walks. She gets swim time, beach time and lots of petting from the other boaters. She is hard to ignore.
The nightly routine for folks at the marina is to go to the beach and watch the sun set.
We are here until about 2/18/19 … then we will head north towards Miami.