Friday morning we were up at dawn, heading to shore through a quiet mooring field. We had arranged to borrow a car from generous friends to drive to Indiantown, 110 miles away, to pick up our car at the marina. We finally had made the decision to move Thyme Hyssop & Wry to a different storage yard, at Port Charlotte Harbor, on the west coast.
This had not been an easy decision. Indiantown Marina is located along the Okeechobee Waterway, about 30 miles inland from the east coast of Florida. It seems to be a “safe place” to store a boat from hurricanes; it is miles inland and far from the reach of any storm surge. There’s not much in Indiantown (I didn’t have a clue that I was so near Monkees teen heart-throb of old Davy Jones, until news of his death at his horse farm at Indiantown), and it seemed to be a rather depressed central southern town except for the large horse and fruit ranches. Indiantown has a small grocery that caters to the Hispanic and native population, so it was full of interesting items. But if you want a Walmart or Publix or Home Depot or West Marine, you drive the 45 minutes towards the coast, to Stuart or West Palm Beach.
If we had about 6″ less height on our mast, we probably would have stayed at Indiantown. There is a fixed bridge separating us from Indiantown just west of the marina. For a couple of hundred dollars, the folks at Indiantown will come out to meet you on the other side of that bridge, attach barrels filled with water (weight) to your mast, tipping your boat over to one side enough so that your mast clears that fixed bridge. We know other boaters who have figured the heel they need to clear the bridge, filled their dinghy with water jugs, and saved themselves the bucks. But seriously, this would be one more thing to stress about at the end of our winter and we’re just not up to it. And we can think of better ways to spend $200.
We’ve heard good things about the boat storage yard at Port Charlotte: clean, fair pricing, good people, able to do your own work (most boat yards in Florida do not allow owners to work on their boats–have to hire their people), and what Ron appreciates most: you can live and work on your boat without paying a daily fee ($25/day at Indiantown) to be in a “work yard.” This alone will save us a few hundred dollars each season.
And so, on Friday we drove the 3 hours (yes, just 110 miles!) to Indiantown and picked up our Jetta stationwagon. She was covered in a layer of dirt after sitting in the field for 2 months, but started right up and drove like a champ. Another 3 hour drive to Port Charlotte (about 120 miles) to park the Jetta where our boat will be stored in a couple of weeks, and then back together in our friends’ van to make our way back to Fort Myers Beach. It was a long day of driving (a bit strange at first after two months of top speeds around 8 mph) but it was good to have this task completed, the decision made.
I’m personally a bit concerned about hurricane season (though I always am) as this storage yard is only about 5 miles inland from the west coast. But it also is well protected from any storm surge (up from a small lock). Wind, not so much.
However, very exciting for me: The land surrounding the boat yard is covered with slash pine for my pine needle baskets. I will have no problem supplying myself with the pine needles I need!–jes