Eau Gallie to Cocoa

It is the evening of February 22nd. I’ll try to catch you up on our antics.

Thursday, February 15, 2018:

When we got up, Jane insisted that we have to get some exercise. After a night on anchor, I figured that we might need the batteries charged, so we rigged up one of the folding bikes and I let her charge ‘em up.

Jane the Generator

The kicker was I had to take a turn too, but it was a nice breezy morning and it did me good. (Editor’s note: No batteries were actually harmed or charged during this event)  Just wondering if I can run a bike chain to the prop shaft?

I wasn’t happy with this anchorage for a number of reasons (wind, high voltage lines sparking, and the crab trap, so we moved over to the other side and other end of the Eau Gallie Bridge to a much better location just south of Dragon Point at the mouth of the Banana River. I swear I am not making these names up.  They are real places.

Dragon Point  Dragon Point

We launched the dinghy in the afternoon and found our way to a public park where they had a bunch of crew shells. I knew we couldn’t land on the crew pier, so we tied to a sign post that said “No Mooring”.  Sometimes, ya just gotta take your chances.  From there we hoofed it about ¾ mile to the Publix for stocking up and due to the load, Ubered back with Gramps.  (Doesn’t Uber have an age limit?)

We were enjoying wine on the fly bridge and I was trying to get some good pictures. After a while I looked back over my shoulder and realized I was missing a great sunset shot.  Jumping up (as one should never do on a boat) I left some shin skin and hair on the corner of the bench seat frame, and grimaced while shutter clicking my way through the pain and beauty.

Pelican  Sunset from Dragon Point

Sunset over Eau Gallie  Sunset from Anchor

Friday, February 16, 2018:

We got up and decided to move on up to Cocoa Village Marina. They had good reviews in Active Captain.  Mike met us on the finger pier of our slip and was excellent in both helping us tie up and giving us the lay of the land.  Getting into the marina was not difficult and we eased into the slip bow first like old hands.  Amazingly, we were berthed next to another boat named Sabbatical.  What are the odds of that?

2 Sabbaticals  Jane at our mooring in Cocoa

The marina is right by the cutesy part of Cocoa with lots of independent dining options and shops. We met Floyd Tapp and his wife, Elaine on the dock.  He is the author of The Saga of the Sailing Hillbillies. They’re experienced sailors and an interesting couple.  We hope to see them again.  That night we walked over to Ryan’s Pizza and had a fried cauliflower appetizer and a thin crust pizza done just our way (with almost no cheese).  Afterward we walked the village and ended up at Murdock’s Pub  since they had a great band playing an assortment of rock and blues.  On the way back to the boat, we stopped into the Café Margaux for a nightcap and Dragon (from Serbia) concocted a great one for us.

Saturday, February 17, 2018:

It’s exercise time again, so off we trot for a five miler along the river road. Lots of cool old homes to see as we hoof it down into Rockledge and back.  Breakfast had to wait until after and then we got cleaned up and planned a trip to Publix to restock.  There is one on the east side of the river, so we checked out the bus schedule and thought that would work.  Once we get to the bus stop we realize that it’s going to be 50 minutes before the next bus so Jane summons Uber.  Three minutes later here comes the bus, so we cancel the Uber ($5.00 penalty) and hop on the bus to go over the bridge.  We know that we get the senior citizen discount on the bus so it’s only 75 cents, but, sorry no change given so it’s a $2.00 ride for us to get to Publix.  No two seats together and so I sit down next to Mr. Stinky.  Mr. Stinky proves to be very helpful about where to get off and where to catch a bus for the return trip.  After we get our provisions, my lovely wife thinks it would be a good idea to walk back the two miles to the marina.  It is after all, exercise day.  So, on we truck while I keep a keen watch over my shoulder in case another bus might be coming by.  As we approach the bridge, we realize that there is no walkway and the cars are flying, so we stop short at the fishing park and opt for another Uber.  Directly he shows up in his Ram pickup and we get back to the boat for only another $8.00).  At this point I’m just wondering if there is a grocery delivery service that could bring us this stuff with less time and expense, but what the hey, it’s an adventure.  We rewarded ourselves with another walk to Paisley for a great vegan meal and then returned for a well-deserved nap.  That night we attended the show “42nd Street” put on by the Cocoa Village Playhouse.  The theater was built around 1924 for the silent films and it is gorgeous.

IMG_0876  IMG_0878

Sunday, February 18, 2018:

Attended St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. Historic church by the riverfront with friendly congregants.  In the afternoon we saw that Captain Terry and Dorothy Godbold had moored at the marina.  They are gold loopers, so they’ve already been the full way around and they are going for another loop.  We had them over for docktails and really enjoyed getting to know them.

Monday, February 19, 2018:

Maintenance day for me, so I cleaned out all the raw water strainers, changed the fresh water filter, and spent some quality time with Big Red while Jane did some shopping. We had to make a trip to the S. F. Travis Company hardware store.  Established in 1885, and I believe that they still have some of the original stock, it is huge and if they don’t have it, you don’t need it.  It grew into 7 buildings that are all joined.


Tuesday, February 20, 2018:

Mack and Dolly McReynolds came over from Oviedo for lunch with us. They were both at Howey Academy with me and it was good to catch up and reconnect.  We ate at Café Margoux and it was delicious.


We introduced Mack to the Travis Hardware store and he found some needed wood stove pieces for his hunting camp. That evening Mark and Lezlie from Antonio drove their dinghy over from their anchorage across the river and we all went to Ryan’s and sat on the upper deck for dinner.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018:

While Jane defrosted the refrigerator again, I got what I needed from Travis Hardware to replace the short shower hose from the swim platform with our 50 foot expandable hose. Of course, my fumble fingers had to let one $6.00 brass fitting drop into the water so I had to return to the store for another, but that’s just par for the course.  I did get it done and now have a fantail shower and a fresh water wash-down hose.  Jane did the laundry as I piddled about on the boat.  We spent a good bit of time planning for the next runs through St. Simons Island, Georgia.  Dinner at Thai Thai was fabulous and spicy.

Thursday, February 22, 2018:

Another trip to Publix – this time by bike to the Rockledge Publix on our side of the river.


After that we attended to maintenance on the boat and among other things, I worked on re-varnishing the damage to the bow rail. We checked weather for our departure tomorrow and figured for an early shove off due to the 52 miles we plan to cover to get to New Smyrna Beach.

Peck Lake to Eau Gallie


I realize another week has already zipped by, so here’s another blog installment:


Thursday, February 08, 2018:

Sunrises here were beautiful.  We rose early and started a new on-board exercise routine that’s sure to be short-lived. After breakfast we got the dinghy ready and dropped it in the water to cruise over to the island.  This would be Jupiter Island.  By our anchorage at Peck Lake is the Hobe Sound National Wildlife Refuge and we found the spot to tie up the dinghy and walk over to the beach.

2.8.18 Peck Lake Anchorage    Hobe Sound Wildlife Refuge

Since it was the middle of the week there were very few folks around and we enjoyed walking on the beach, swimming and a picnic lunch.  A dinghy ride tour followed around Peck Lake and through Loblolly Marina on the west side of the waterway.  After returning to the boat we cleaned up with showers on the fantail and just dozed for the remainder of the day.  Later, as we planned ahead, Jane found that Marshall Tucker Band would be playing in St. Augustine while we’re there.  By mutual agreement tickets were purchased under the rationale of Valentine’s gifts for each other.


Friday, February 09, 2018:

DSC_0327  Chester came out to help weigh anchor.

We pulled anchor at 1130 under light east winds and set off for the Fort Pierce City Marina 26 ½ miles north. It was a beautiful sunny day.

IMG_0834  2.11.18 Ft Pierce Marina  2.10.18 Ft Pierce City Marina

We eased into the Pier A alongside the floating dock at 1500.  Jane did laundry and we cleaned up the boat.  We reconnected with Mark and Lezlie as the Antonia was already there when we arrived.  The marina had been completely rebuilt after the storms in 2004 and it is very nice.  There must be around 300 boats at dock here.  We met some really nice people on the dock.  All the neighbors are very friendly.  Ilona and Bob from Minnesota were just to our stern and since they have their sailboat on the market, directly she is offering us poo powder.  I’m just going to let you google that, but suffice it to say that boaters will offer information on all sorts of subjects.  Later, we joined Mark and Lezlie for dinner at Cobb’s Landing and then went back to their boat for a game of Quiddler.  Word games for folks who can’t spell are just crool.


Sunset at FPM

Saturday, February 10, 2018:

Slept in and once up enjoyed an incredible farmers market in the waterfront park by the marina.

2.10.18 Farmers Mkt

We found one booth with Jamaican ladies cooking and chowed down on a large order of conch fritters.  Best we’ve ever had.  Also, we couldn’t pass up buying some excellent guacamole for later.  After some housekeeping we walked around the area and ducked into The Second Street Bistro for a snack and refreshing adult beverages.  On the recommendation of Phyllis and Brian on “Heat Wave” we bought tickets to Brian Regan at the Sunrise Theater for Sunday night.  The dockhand showed up and we got the holding tank pumped out.  Dinner was at Thai Pepper with Mark and Lezlie and it was great.  Afterwards we all slipped across the street and discovered Rizzo’s for a glass of wine on their back patio listening to an awesome blues singer.

Sunday, February 11, 2018:

We biked to The Common Ground Vineyard Church. They have a very friendly and most enthusiastic congregation.  Afterwards we biked on to Publix to pick up some groceries.  As soon as we got back and put the food on board, off we biked again to meet Mark and Lezlie where they were just finishing lunch at Buoy 12. People always comment on our little folding bikes with their tiny wheels.  We should just wear clown suits.  We caught an Uber with Mark and Lezlie to the Navy Seal Museum.

2.11.18 Navy Seal Museum

It is very well done.  If you go, take some tissues.  By then it was time for dinner so we returned to Cobb’s Landing and this time we actually used our 20% off coupon.  Then we got showered and off to the Sunrise for the comedy of Brian Regan.  He’s a very funny guy with a clean show.

Monday, February 12, 2018:

It was time to leave Ft. Pierce, so we shoved off at 1020 with assistance from Ilona and Bob. We arrived at the Vero Beach Municipal Marina and prepared to pick up mooring ball #17.  The wind and the tide were working together from the south so we got Sabbatical turned and nosed up to the ball with Jane on the bow and me at the upper helm.  There were some difficulties for Jane picking up the line from the ball and she got the boathook stuck in the eye of the line.  Once she got the extendable hook, she was able to get the first one free, pick up the line and pass one of our bow lines through to get it tied.  At this point, I come down to assist with the other line, but before I can get it through the eye, I realize Jane has untied the first one, we’re unable to hold it by hand and moving back toward the two sailboats rafted on ball #18.  I’m yelling and scrambling back to the bridge to attempt to avert the impending collision. I’m able to get the ship under control in plenty of time while patting myself on the back for having not turned off the engine.  Jane takes it all in stride and there are no tears and nobody is angry.  We make another run at the ball and she picks up the line and gets it tied.  I invoke the oft used line, “We always knew it would be an adventure”.  After the dinghy ride in, we walk over to the Riverside Café for lunch.  We stayed on the boat for dinner because I couldn’t get the outboard to crank.

DSC_0356  DSC_0353

Tuesday, February 13, 2018:

The dinghy was still very hard to start, but I finally win the battle of wills with Mr. Tohatsu. Jane defrosted the fridge while I’m making friends with the little outboard.  We load up laundry and shower gear and ride in to get the washing done.  It became a little dicey coming back because the drain plug in the dinghy leaks, but we arrive back at the boat with clean dry laundry.  My solution for the drain plug was to wrap it with Teflon tape.  That proved to be a perfect fix and later we ride our freshly bone dry dinghy over to Antonia and go with Mark and Lezlie to dinner at Waldo’s on the beach.  A great dinner and when we return we stay long enough for another glass of wine with them.  The dinghy motor cranks right up and we agree that it was a great night.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018:

It was cloudy this morning, but cleared somewhat in the early afternoon. We dropped the mooring ball at Vero at 0915 and enjoyed cruising up the waterway to anchor just south of the west end of Eau Gallie Bridge at 1445.  It’s breezy and cool, but we’ve got plenty of rode out and a great anchor.  After we got set I noticed that we’re swinging close to some guy’s crab trap, but it doesn’t bother me as long as I can spot that thing before we re-crank.  Jane is cooking us a Valentine’s dinner (not crab) while I write and Nora Jones serenades us via Pandora.  I don’t know whether to feel guilty or blessed so – blessed it is.


LaBelle to Peck Lake

Today is Wednesday, February 07, 2018. It has been a week since my last blog entry.  Here’s the recap:

Thursday, February 1, 2018:

We left the glamourous LaBelle City free dock and the crusty but sweet sailors that seem to frequent there on the allowed 3 days in, 8 days out city required schedule. The water was like glass in the early morning and I got a shot of the bridge clearance gauge. At first glance, the unadvised captain would think he’s got 53 feet of clearance.  Alas nay, it is only 23 as the image is mirrored.  Mental note to stay aware.  Shove off was 1120.



We arrived at the Ortona Lock at 1235. There was some westbound traffic entering the lock so we had to wait.  By 1325 we cleared the Ortona Lock with Antonia and another vessel, The 3 B’s.  This raised us nine feet.


At 1600 we cleared the Moore Haven Lock bringing us up an additional four feet. The port side lock door on exit was inoperable, but we slipped right through the starboard door with room to spare.   Along with Antonia, we wasted some time looking for a suitable anchorage, but elected to tie to the dolphins in the waterway.  It became what we now refer to as the Great Dolphin Rodeo of 2018.  Dang those things are hard to wrangle.  We got tied up to one with bow and stern lines both acting as spring lines as well and one big red ball fender to hold us off.  Jane made us a great salad and then decided to make garlic bread on the stove top.  Glad I installed those smoke/CO detectors and I guess it’s good to know they work.  We needed some excitement anyway.  It was a beautiful night with a big moon, but buggy so we stayed inside.

DSC_0160  DSC_0182

Antonia catching a dolphin                                   Sunset over Moore Haven Lock

Friday, February 2, 2018:

We rose early and I got a great shot of Antonia with the rising sun. There were some big gators around and the early morning exposed the millions, and I’m not exaggerating, millions of tiny dead bugs all over the decks.  We ran the generator just long enough to make coffee since the coffee maker makes the inverter complain.

DSC_0209  DSC_0153

At 0935 Big Red cranked without complaint and we shoved off the dolphin which was way easier than tying up to it.  After about 2 ½ hours we made it down to Clewiston and arrived at the Roland and Mary Ann Martins Marina.  The nice gal that came out to greet us on the dock was very complimentary of my docking skills as I pivoted Sabbatical in the narrow canal.  (Thanks again to Captain Billy).  A huge iguana came out to great us.


Chester came out but went back under the ice chest. It was good to see he is still with us. Martins Marina is geared for bass fishermen and the facility presented facilities that I would characterize as fishcamp-like.  The Tiki Bar had great ambiance and the server, Libby, was nice but they were extremely slow getting the simplest food out of the kitchen.  We spent a good amount of time cleaning up the boat then showered in their basic facilities (best described as a latrine).  It was warm and we were on shore power so we put on the A/C.  Later we walked with Mark and Lezlie to dinner at the Mexican Restaurant, Tacaqueria.  We stuffed our guts and still had food to take back to the boat.  Real Mexi, no lie.

Saturday, February 3, 2018:

Needed some exercise, so we went for run-walk of about 6.5 miles. Then I made walnut pancakes and we read the Gainesville paper online.  It was time to do some maintenance, so I cleaned all the raw water strainers and replaced a hose while Jane went with Mark and Lezlie to Walmart in the marina loaner car.  I had to sacrifice some skin trying to get the new hose on.  Jane returned from the store and we now have a leaf/trash blower on board and a nifty grocery/laundry cart.  Later, we went up to the Tiki Bar to watch the Gator basketball game vs Alabama.  UF lost and we returned to the boat and Jane whipped up another batch of great pasta which we enjoyed with some wine.  Directly, the band in the Tiki bar beaconed and we responded by dancing till closing time.

Sunday, February 4, 2018 (Superbowl Sunday):

It is blowing a little harder than we’d like to cross the Okeechobee, so we opt for another night at Roland Martin’s. We watched the on-line sermon from Northpoint then biked to the Ace Hardware to get some Terro to combat some stowaway ants.  I just knew that we’d get the Superbowl game on our digital TV antenna, but negatory.  Some other CBS channel comes in fine, but no game.  We didn’t want to revisit the Tiki Bar nor really care about the game anyway, so we read and turned in early.

Monday, February 5, 2018:

The forecast is cloudy, with winds from the NE at 6 knots. The lake is reported to have a light chop, so we left the dock at Clewiston at 0955 followed by Antonia.  Flights of Teal move across our path from north to south.  The duck population seems substantial.  It begins to turn sunny as we near the far shore and we entered the lock at Port Mayaca at 1322.  This lock dropped us one foot.

DSC_0236 The Admiral at the helm.

At 1500 we reached the RR bridge and had to wait for the CSX workers to clear off the span and then we’re advised of an approaching train.  Big freight train with lots of cars, amazingly, some are not tagged by graffiti.


At 1715 we docked at the St. Lucie Lock Campground and Marina.  We had one reservation and knew that slip #7 would be available on a first-come basis.  Slip 7 was encroached by the wide berth of the trawler in #6 so we opted for the courtesy dock while Antonia took the reserved #2 slip.  We met some other Loopers,  like Gene who’s on the slow track since he started in 2004.  After docktails aboard Sabbatical’s fly bridge, Jane made yummy potato salad for our dinner.


Tuesday, February 6, 2018:

We pulled out early at 0730 to head to Jupiter to visit my cousin Henry and his wife, Kathleen. Locked through the St. Lucie lock which dropped us 14 feet down to the river level.  Lockmaster Jim was very friendly and helpful.  As we made our way through Stuart and down the ICW the water became a beautiful turquoise green.  Just as we’re at Hobe Sound, Jane gets a Tsunami warning alert on her phone for Hobe Sound.  None of my safe boating courses prepped me for this situation, so I just stayed the course.  A few minutes later she anounces it was bogus.  Henry met us at 1300 at the Jib Club Marina to “harbor pilot” us into Sawfish Bay to dock at their home, Mullet Run.  We were docked by 1330. It was great to spend some time with them and enjoyed a great dinner out. The time with family is always too short.

DSC_0264  DSC_0267

At dock Mullet Run                                              Cousins

Wednesday, February 07, 2018:

We cast off the dock at 1345 with a high tide of 1418. No problems getting out of Sawfish Bay (it’s tricky).  We motored north to Peck Lake to anchor for the night.  On the way, a boat heading south we noticed was Sadie A.  We knew we had seen her somewhere and directly they radioed to ask if we had been at Safe Cove.  Connections like this are cool and we switched radio channels to catch up.  They’re headed to Bahamas.  At 1535 we anchored in Peck Lake with 8 feet of water.  It’s breezy and not too hot.  We’re set for the night or maybe two.


From cast-off to LaBelle


Today is Wednesday, January 31, 2018. Since the last post we’ve had a several adventures already.  Here’s a recap:

Thursday, January 25th:

After enjoying a nice late lunch at Ephesus with our old Café Gardens staffer, Sam Arthur of Sarasota, we cast off from the Safe Cove dock at 5:15 pm for a 45 minute run to anchor at the south end of the lake in the South Gulf Cove waterway system. “Run” in this instance means moving mostly at idle speed through the canal past a number of homes.  (A couple of these guys will yell at you if your wake is at all visible.)  We spent a lovely evening on the hook with a superb sunset and the purple martins working all about us in full force.  There must have been thousands of them and they were still there at sunrise glinting purple and iridescent green in the morning light scooping up mosquitos.  They were obviously brilliant in their work as we never encountered a single bite.

1.25.18 South Cove Lake Sunset

Friday, January 26th:

The El Jobean tide showed a high at 11:55 am so we got a leisurely start to the day. Our draft is less than 4 feet, but there are some shallows beyond the self operated lock to get into the bay.  On my daily maintenance checks I noticed that the oil in “Big Red” was down a bit so added some.  The Ford Lehman 135hp power plant for Sabbatical has impressed me so that I’ve given it the moniker “Big Red”.  (Love this motor.)

The forecast was for NE to E winds of 15 to 20 knots. Now, if we were heading out in our 18’ Boston Whaler, I’d have said “No freakin’ way”, but Sabbatical is 36 feet and 12 ½ tons so we pull anchor and slip out though the South Gulf Cove self-operated lock at 12:37.

South Gulf Cove Self operated lock

It’s breezy, but what the hell, on we go south from the mouth of the Myakka River into Charlotte Harbor. There are white caps, but so what, at Howey Academy; we rowed our crew shell in whitecaps all the time.  No big deal.  Well, 15 – 20 knot winds translate to small craft warnings and waves (even in the harbor) of up to 5 feet or more and shortly we’re getting tossed about.  At this point, I know we’re not going back and we’re just going to have to tough it out until we get past Cape Haze where we turn to the west and get the wind behind us.  I know it’s going to be several hours of pounding before we make that turn at our snail like pace of less than 8 knots and I turn slightly east to get more into the wind so we’re not taking right on the beam.

1.26.18 Charlotte Harbor   1.26.18 Burgee

Things get a little dicey and the dinghy gas cans go sliding around the fly bridge as we bounce around. Several things hit the deck including Jane’s butt.  Our mascot, Chester, a Florida Anole (lizard) comes out and seems unfazed.  Somehow, we take hope in this.  About this time we realize that our AGLCA (America’s Great Loop Cruiser’s Association) burgee (it’s a tiny triangular flag) rips off into the drink.  Jane takes the helm to bring us around, and I get on the deck with the big net to retrieve, but alas, our burgee sinks before we can get back to it.  In the cabin, the microwave has slid on to the stovetop and the coffee pot nearly fell from its perch.

Safety gear was donned.  1.26.18 Charlotte Harbor boat safety

We finally arrive at marker 5 which clears us around Cape Haze and to turn to the west heading toward Boca Grande Pass and Pelican Bay, our intended anchorage.

1.26.18 Marker Five at Cape Haze

With the wind behind us the cruising is smooth and efficient. The waters turn to green and a big dolphin is jumping along our starboard side bow.  It’s like he’s trying to see what we got on the bow.  I grab the camera and the shy guy goes below to avoid my photo shots.  When we get into the Intracoastal, I set a waypoint in the GPS because this will be where we finish the Great Loop and “cross our wake”.  At 1615 we anchor in the lee of Pelican Bay.  There’re around 15 boats in the popular anchorage.  After dinner we enjoy the moon and pop a bottle of champagne given by Joe Morales for such an occasion.  (No more details are recorded in the log after this point.)

Saturday, January 27th:

We awaken to a pretty morning with slight breezes. After breakfast and devotion we pull anchor at 10:20.  Jane is at the helm and I’m trying to watch the anchor as it needs considerable washing as we motor along to get the mud off.  After a few minutes Jane alerts me that the depth is reducing quickly.  I look up to see where we are and then it’s too late and we’re aground.  I realize I should have given her more details about the route out of Pelican Bay.  We get Sea Tow (think AAA for boats) alerted and on the way.  I know the high tide is at 1103 so at that time, I re-crank “Big Red”, put it in reverse and call upon all his 135 horses.  We slip right off into navigable depths, alert Sea Tow to our good fortune and we’re on our way to Fort Myers.  It is 39 miles of breezy and mostly sunny but uneventful cruising, but at some point Jane has gashed her shin in the cabin.  So we’re two days into this adventure and we’ve already had rough water adventure, run aground, blood and bruises, nervous sweat and a couple of tears.  I knew it would be an adventure, but this seems a little much.  At 1630, I ask for and get preferential docking at Fort Myers City Yacht Basin.  I want dockage that is easy to get into since Sabbatical is a single screw vessel with no thrusters and I’m a novice skipper.  They give us an alongside berth near the fuel dock for two nights.  We dock without mishap.

1.27.18 Fort Myers Yacht Basin

Right away we met some other Loopers, Mark and Lezlie Snyder from Texas. They seem very likeable.  Debbie Sanders Lawson, an old classmate from Howey Academy came to visit and drove us to dine at Ford’s Garage.  Very cool theme restaurant with hose clamps for napkin rings and shop rags for napkins.  We enjoyed our dinner and visit with Debbie.

Sunday, January 28th:

Morning duties included pumping out the holding tank. It’s a crappy job.

Pumping out

Then we rode our folding bikes and attended services at First Christian Church then on to Publix to stock up. My sister, Susie and her new boyfriend Jay came by in the late afternoon and we walked up for a meal at The Lodge.

Susie Jane and Jay

This downtown area of Fort Myers is really neat with lots of options for dining, etc. We looked at the weather and decided we should stay put another couple of days.  We talked with the Snyders about cruising together across the Lake Okeechobee route.

Monday, January 29th:

We visited the Edison and Ford winter homes/museum by bike. It was very interesting.  I can only imagine what it was like when Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone got together in Fort Myers during the early part of the 20th century.  Our tour guide Ryan was well versed and the history, houses and museum fascinating to say the least.

Edison Estate

We went to lunch with Lezlie and Mark at the Mexican restaurant, Cabos, and afterward planned our route for Wednesday departure. When we returned to the boat for a nap, we learned that the marina was going to make us move to a slip on H dock.  Didn’t really want to do this since it was still blowing pretty hard, but they had already reserved our space for a 70 foot sport fisherman.  It didn’t go well and I got our bow rail scraped up on our new next door neighbor’s anchor but we did finally get into the slip in spite of the well-intended marina staff hawking ill-advised instructions from the dock.  This was nerve-racking for sure. We had Mark and Lezlie aboard for docktails in the evening and enjoyed getting to know them better.

Tuesday, January 30th:

As soon as I woke up, I knew what I had to do. I needed more training and practice docking.  I called on Captain Billy Drennen who had spent time with us giving instruction when we rented “Patience”, a 32’ Grand Banks last May.  Captain Billy is a USCG 100 Ton Master with decades of experience.  Luckily, Billy had the day off and was willing to come right on and give us whatever instruction we needed to gain confidence and experience in operating Sabbatical.  Billy is super nice and very patient.  We spent about 3 ½ hours in the wind docking in every possible situation.  I gained another level of boat handling competency this day and on returning to the marina, we backed into the slip without a glitch.

Captain Billy  Steve and Captain Billy

The next day, Jane told me about this:

July 30 Horoscope for Cancer (June 21 to July 22):

“Make things easy on yourself. Go ahead and ask for some help.”

We attended docktails aboard Nearly Perfect at 1700. There were a total of 14 and several Gold Loopers.  Heard lots about how we need AIS, Radar and AutoPilot.  The Loopers we met are great folks and very congenial.  I think I can get used to this.  We went with the Snyders to the Firestone rooftop bar to wind up a special day.

1.29.18 Docktails aboard Nearly PerfectDocktails aboard Nearly Perfect

Wednesday, January 31, 2018:

0930 Captain Billy shows up with additional docking lines as a gift. Man, oh man!  This guy just has a true servant’s heart.  Kent from Rising Tide helped us cast off at 1100.  The Snyders in Antonia followed us out as we made our way up the Caloosahatchee.  We cleared through the Franklin lock at 1315 which raised us about three feet.  At 1505 we were through the Fort Denaud Swing Bridge and docked like pros at the La Belle City dock at 1600.  After docktails on Antonia, Jane whipped us up some vegie pasta with Italian sun dried tomatoes for dinner which we enjoyed with a wonderful cabernet.  This has been a beautiful day cruising.  Now I’m getting relaxed.

1.31.18 Dinner at La Belle dock