Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sanibel lives on

Where has the time gone? I find myself asking that question far too often. We last left you with the news that we bought a church in Alma, Nebraska. After the closing, we drove back to Sanibel in Marathon, Florida and resumed life as we’ve know it for the last four years.

Our plan was to sell Sanibel and move to Nebraska to begin renovations on the church. After returning to Sanibel and realizing how much we would miss her, we decided to take a different approach. With Jimi not liking the cold winters up North and me not liking the hot summers down south with no climate control, we will become ‘snow birds’. Summers in Nebraska with air conditioning and a chance for Jimi to chip away at anticipated renovations and warm sunny winters on Sanibel along the East coast of the U.S.

This year we’re putting Sanibel on dry dock in Jacksonville, Florida. Our goal is to get there by mid-May. We’ve already delivered the van there waiting for our arrival. As of today, we have 300 nautical miles to go. That means we must sail about 43 miles (approx. 10 hours) each week.

Before we left Marathon, our friend, Juraj came out for a weekend visit. It’s always good to see friends and, though short, we enjoyed our time with him.
 Jimi and Juraj took the paddle boards in to the mangroves. 

 Juraj had fun swinging off the halyard.

We took bicycles to Key West and biked around for the day. Interesting - this larger than life statue is different than the one that stood here just two months earlier.

We went to an Art Festival and found these creatures. A tortoise.

A Spiny Lobster.

A Sea Cucumber.

A Horse Conch.

A Brittle Starfish.

Sand Sculpture in the making.

We said our dreaded farewells to sailing buddy, Bob with a night out for supper.
Dinner with Bob before leaving. Shrimp served on the burger. it was actually yummy!

Jimi surprised me with flowers for no reason at all.

Then just over a week later it was valentines day. He bought roses and made me a salmon alfredo pasta dish from scratch.

 We saw this in Jacksonville when we dropped the van off. It's a main fuel booster tank for a space shuttle that was never put to use.

Our first sail after leaving Marathon was a 35 nautical mile sail to Isla Mirada. We stayed one night and then continued on another 20 miles to Key Largo. Since there’s only one road down the Keys, the area very much resembled Marathon. We could walk a mile to a small shopping area where we visited the local library, K-Mart, a quaint coffee shop and a grocery store. Our final weekend there, we walked 2.3 miles to the laundromat. The area was more populated with many shops to my liking.

The Key Largo city buildings.

City dinghy dock at Key Largo.

Jimi caught a trout and then he cooked it and we ate it.

Coffee for two, please.

Our next sail was 17 nautical miles to the Southern end of Biscayne Bay in Miami. We anchored there one night and then sailed the additional 32 miles the following day. We stayed in Miami’s Biscayne Bay for a week. We never launched the dinghy, as there wasn’t anywhere we could really go or a dock to get on shore from.
Miami skyline from Sanibel.

I took this picture just after arriving. School of canoe boats practiced daily.

We had a bit of excitement upon our exit from Biscayne Bay. As we headed out for the next stop, we passed the Port of Miami. Two tugs were helping a container ship come in. As we got close, the tugs rotated perpendicular to the container ship to push it to the dock. We found ourselves in the wash of the tug boat and were thrown across the channel. Sanibel rocked like she’d never rocked before. I was below deck and even things safely stowed were flying. Following us was a 200 foot yacht who didn’t fare as well as we did. The wash from the tug boat spun the yacht all the way around and the yacht nearly wrecked into the container ship. He recovered and we all went on our away with a story to tell.

A container ship at the Port of Miami.

That’s not all this sail brought us. We went 30 miles on the outside. The sail was rough for both of us.  Variable winds and pointing close to the wind made it difficult for Jimi to keep the sails full therefore he had to constantly babysit them. Anyhow, we arrived about six hours later, before dark, at Lake Sylvia in Fort Lauderdale. Jimi wasn’t happy with the conditions of the anchorage. The bay was packed and barely left any swing room. He stayed up nearly the whole night keeping watch. We would have left, except we had to get to the grocery store. We’d been without meat, most of our staples and were down to coffee, pasta and one potato. We found a grocery store the following day, stayed one more night and left early the next morning.

We decided to travel the intracoastal waterway and dealing with the bridges rather than waiting for a weather window on the outside. No more sailing for a while. We were now on the intracoastal waterway. This stretch brings us an average of a bridge every two miles for the next 40 miles. Most of the bridges open at certain times and others are opened upon request.  We had to pass up one location we’d planned to anchor at because they were entirely too packed. We ended up motoring to Pelican Harbor and stayed there two nights, which gave Jimi some time to rest.
Captain Jimi

One of many bridges.

The bridge is opening.

Almost open.

We’re now another 15 miles up the coast at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach.
So far 17 bridges have opened to let us through. We’re finally getting away from the tourist population and into more relaxed surroundings.

In other news - Jimi and I are first time grandparents. My daughter, Jennifer gave birth to a beautiful, healthy girl on March 1st. We're excited to see her when we get to Nebraska.
Aubree Kay

She's a happy girl.

And so alert.