FL to CT Day 1
Punta Gorda, FL to Pelican Bay, FL
Started our trip north today... a day later than initially planned to leave but we finally got things ready and were underway at 1015. We cleared the lines and I attempted to move away from the dock... no movement at all... we were sitting on the bottom... The bottom in the marina is thick mud but it had a grip on SAILS and did not want to let loose... took a lot of power to get us moving slowly away from the dock and into deeper water... at 1030 we started moving out of the marina.
I could hear both engines bellowing... checking there was no water flow out either exhaust... I continued out of the marina and into open water and stopped where I thought I would need to clean the mud out the raw water sea strainers... just as I was about to shut down the engines I heard an awesome sound... the exhaust quieted down and I could hear flowing again... we sat there for a few minutes waiting and watching to be sure full water flow had returned... all seemed well and we were back underway.
It was an uneventful trip down Charlotte Harbor to our destination Pelican Bay... running against an incoming tide we did not make much speed but it was good to be away from the dock and on our way.
We arrived at our destination Pelican Bay and were secure at anchor at approximately 1400. Our position tonight is N26°41.018', W082°14.517'. We traveled today for 3.5 hours covering 20.9 nautical miles averaging 5.96 knots.
We will spend one or two days here to complete prepping SAILS for the trip north... clean the bottom and running gear, stow away loose gear, double check everything, etc.
Posted at 3:49 PM
CT to FL Day 45
Fort Myers, FL to Punta Gorda, FL
This morning the alarm did not wake us... it was the sudden onset of wind and rain... wind started blowing and then it the sky let loose with the heaviest rain we have seen the entire trip south.
We debated on staying at the marina another day due to the rain and wind but checking the foreast the rain would soon be over... the wind was to be with us all day... NW 20-25 knots with gusts to 30 knots... not the best but doable... we decided to leave as soon as it quit raining.
Rain stopped around 0700 and we were away from the dock at 0730 heading down the Caloosahatchee River with a very favorable current pushing us to almost 9 knots in several places... but we knew it would not last... soon we would turn to head up Pine Island Sound and we would have this same current pushing us now against us.
With the windy conditions I was surprised to see as much boat traffic as we did... several small boats zipped past us and a lot of anchored small boats that were fishing.
On Pine Island Sound the current was slowing us to between 5 and 6 knots... the 25 knots winds on our bow were probably also contributing to the slow down... Seas were 2 feet in a short chop... not an uncomfortable ride but a wet one with the winds blowing spray up as high as the pilothouse windows.
We reached Boca Grand Pass and turned up Charlotte Harbor and once again had current pushing us again... not 9 knots but a good push... waves were now around 2-3 feet on our port side... still not uncomfortable but no longer getting the spray on the pilothouse windows. The favorable current slowly dissipated as we got closer to Punta Gorda running at our typical cruising speed for the last hour.
We arrived to Fishermen's Village Marina and were securely docked at 1530... our location for the next month N26°55.751', W082°03.875'
. We traveled today for 8.0 hours covering 54 nautical miles averaging 6.8 knots.
We were greeted at the dock by several of our good friends... it was great to see them... some of them we had not seen in several years.
Posted at 4:22 PM
CT to FL Day 44
Moore Haven, FL to Fort Myers, FL
WE left this morning from Riverhouse marina in Moore Have, FL at 0730... it was a bit foggy but not enough that I had to use radar... just enough to be aggravating...
Two locks today... first lock was the Ortona Lock... we arrived at 0920 and for some reason it was not 0955 that we were able to enter the lock... exceptionally long wait for there to be no east bound boat traffic locking through... he did lower us really quickly... dropping us 8 feet. We were underway out of the lock at 1015.
We did have a bit of favorable current running at 7.0 to 7.2 knots most of the day... never having any current opposing us... nice when you have a day like that.
We had three bridges between the locks... Labelle Bridge that no opening is required when I lower the VHF antennas and mast... the Fort Denaud Bridge is a low swings bridge and requires an opening and the Alva Bridge we might of been able to clear but it would of been real close so I requested an opening to be safe.
We arrived to the next lock... the WP Franklin Lock at 1230 and had very little wait to enter the lock... dropping 2 ft. in about the same time that the Ortona Lock dropped us 8 ft...
We had one more bridge... the Wilson Pigott Bridge that we did not require an opening after lowering everything.
We were going to anchor tonight but decided it was just too warm and it is supposed to rain... so we opted to go to a marina where we would have AC and a nice cool evening. We made a reservation at the City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin.
We arrived to the Marina and were securely docked at 1530... our position for the night N26°38.859', W081°52.203'. We traveled today for 8.0 hours covering 47.65 nautical miles averaging 6.0 knots.
Posted at 4:29 PM