We’ve moved around a bit over the past couple of weeks: Burnt Store Marina for two nights of dockage (our first dock in two seasons!) where we washed Prairie Dog of salt collected over 2 months, caught up on laundry, I managed 10k step days, and we attended a gathering of fellow North Channel boaters at the local restaurant, sponsored by the Little Current Cruiser’s Net. What a delight it was to catch up with old and new friends, and especially visit a bit with Roy and Margaret Eaton. Roy is the net controller and provides an invaluable service to those of us who cruise the North Channel and Georgian Bay waters each summer. We look forward to his broadcasts on channel 71 every morning at 0900, July 1 through August 31. Roy is a North Channel treasure!
Two nights tied to a dock, we were ready to be swinging at anchor again. We love Pelican Bay at Cayo Costa, but north winds can make the anchorage uncomfortable. We’ve longed to figure out the route between shoals to get into a small “back bay” that gives good protection from any waves that a north wind might produce. Good friends had supplied Ron with GPS coordinates to avoid the shoals and with a light north wind forecast for overnight, we decided to try it. We made it into the back bay without incident, saving a track going in and coming back out. It’s a long dinghy ride to the dock to walk the island, but the protection is great. I could spend a week anchored back there!
With heavier winds forecast, and due in Fort Myers for the Duncan Bay SW Florida Rendezvous a few days later, we decided to not dawdle and to head into Bimini Basin. This very protected anchorage adjacent to Four Freedoms Park in Cape Coral supposedly has a limit on how long a boat can be anchored, but out of 12 boats, just 4 had people on board. Those 8 boats looked very permanent. We have had a problem with our anchor dragging in heavy wind–bottom is reported to be “like soup”–and this time was no different. In the end, our Fortress anchor seemed to do a much better job holding us than our “go to” Delta. I guess that’s why we carry different anchors on board, for different bottoms.
We stayed at Fort Myers Yacht Basin for one night, meeting old Muskegon sailing friends, Ben and Cindy (and their little lamb of a dog) for lunch, then seeing our fellow Duncan Bay Boat Club friends for happy hour at Pincher’s. We were dealing with a couple very warm days and discovered that our air conditioning aboard Prairie Dog is not working. Fans are better than nothing, but we wouldn’t want to be cruising in May without AC. I guess that’s what we get for last season’s cooler than normal temperatures and never bothering to start up the AC.
A day later and it was time to be off again, this time heading back down to Fort Myers Beach to a mooring ball, to ride out four days of gusty winds that kept us mostly boat-bound. It was great not worrying about anchors dragging, but tidal changes got us very close to the sailboat moored next to us. Sometimes it felt best not to look!
There is a large wildfire in Collier County, near Naples. There have been a couple of nights, when the wind has been right, I’ve smelled woodsmoke. The past two afternoons, with a bit of a windshift, the smoke from the wildfire has made it to this area, obscuring the sky. It made for a beautiful sun setting last evening.
We’ve got just about a month left to this season. The weather forecast is looking good for going south for a bit. We hope to get down as far as Marco Island before making our way back north towards Charlotte Harbor.