It was our plan to stay in Marathon for a year or so, but like all cruisers, plans change. We loved Marathon's relaxed island life, and met many wonderful people. It was great fun reconnecting with cruisers that we encountered along the Atlantic Coast as they made their way through Marathon this winter. When Spring arrived, Boot Key Harbor slowly emptied as many cruisers returned north to their homes, home ports, or ventured on to the Bahamas.
A couple of weeks ago fellow cruiser and friend Tom Young came to Marathon with friends to go snorkeling. Tom suggested we come to Fort Myers Beach, Estero Island, where he keeps his boat and check out his marina. We took a road trip and spent the night for a look see. We were very pleased with the marina and facilities, and the price was right. It did not take anytime for us to decide we needed and wanted a change.
"Chasseur" was very excited to hear the news, for she has been tied to a dock for 4 months. We made her ready to travel once again. After preparing for our cruise, the weather changed bringing torrential rain and powerful North winds, so we sat waiting, waiting, and waiting more than a week for a weather window.
Finally, on a beautiful fair day of May 7, 2013, we were underway once again, "Chasseur" and her crew smiling ear to ear. We had crossed the Seven mile Bridge several times to visit Key West and neighboring keys. This day however, we went under it and entered the Gulf of Mexico, for the very first time! The water was a beautiful turquoise green and calm. We enjoyed the flying fish that walk on top of the surface of the water, like a skipping stone..great fun to watch.
We departed Marathon at 0630 hours on Tuesday and motor sailed through the night. We had to endure a northern wind with a 2-3 foot chop for most of the evening sail, but it was a beautiful time out there with no moon, black sky, and brilliant stars! Sailing the Gulf reminded us of our beloved Lake Michigan with the sun setting in the western horizon and sun rising over the eastern shore. We arrived at Fort Myers Beach's inlet, Matanzas Pass, about 0830hrs Wednesday, but had to wait for a 1209 hrs high tide to venture through the pass and into our slip.
New friend,and dock neighbor, Dave Denise, dinghyed out to "Chasseur" in the pass and boarded "Chasseur". Very experienced and knowledgeable of the Fort Myers Beach area, Dave provided valuable "Harbor Pilot" services to help us make the correct turns to approach our slip. The Bay has many shallow areas and we welcomed the "local" knowledge. With a 3 foot high tide helping us, "Chasseur" (and her 6.5 ft. draft) arrived unscathed! THANK YOU DAVE!
"Chasseur" is now tied up at Snook Bight Marina overlooking Estero Bay Preserve State Park, with a barefoot walk just across the street to beautiful Fort Myers Beach! The marina has new (4 months old), state of the art floating docks that are Category 2 and 4 hurricane rated. The facilities are first class, bathrooms/showers beautifully tiled with granite counters. The private pool and grill patio is on the second level above the marina parking structure. All of the facilities, private and locked, are exclusively for marina boat owners. Topping off the marina's amenities is a 5 star restaurant and out door bar overlooking the marina. A person could become spoiled here!
We are again seeing porpoises. They love this Bay, for mating and feeding. They come right up to the docks. We have one porpoise that feeds in the marina basin, the dock hands call him "Juan". He startled Suzanne the first time she saw him when he came up next to her in our slip.
We are enjoying our morning beach walks, beach sunsets, and Bay sunrises over our bow. Our kayaks are stored in the dry rack storage building. The dock hands bring them out for us and return them when we are done. Suzanne and Terry spent Mother's Day kayaking in the Preserve.
"Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
George Bernhard Shaw
Some parting photos from last days in Marathon. Fort Myers photos follow........
|More Marathon humor, tow truck business|
|Diane and Suzanne on one of many kayak adventures|
|Peacock, wild in the "Blue Hole" Preserve on Pine Key|
|Alligators in the "Blue Hole"|
|Dock neighbor, Tim, in Marathon cracking open coconut|
|Suzanne's good-bye treat|
|"Iggy" comes to say good -bye|
|Last visit to Sunset Grill, Diane & Suzanne enjoying a "Bucket 'O Tropical Drinks"|
|Hanging out at Burdines Grill & Bar, Boot Key Harbor.|
Mutual friend and cruiser Phil Haines on SV "Special Bird"
|Suzanne and Phil cleaning dinghy bottom at Sombrero Beach|
|Approaching Seven Mile Bridge, Gulf of Mexico on the other side|
|Sunset at sea, Gulf of Mexico, a long transit through the night|
|Dave Denise, our harbor pilot through the "back" bay|
|Snook Bight Marina, Fort Myers Beach|
|Marina "promenade", great place to hang out|
|Fort Myers Beach, across the street from marina|
|At our bow, Estero Bay Preserve State Park|
|Marina pet, "Tiki"|
|Blue dot our location|