Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A stop in Marco

Marco Island was a stopping point to wait for a weather window for the final jump to Key West. The day after we arrived, we received a phone call from Jeff and Karen, Jimi’s brother and sister-in-law. They delivered a load of water as part of the hurricane relief near Orlando, however, the organization wasn’t able to unload them for several days and possibly even a week or more.  They decided to  leave their trailer there and drive to Marco Island to spend their days with us. Exciting – we love company!

They arrived on Sunday and we had them aboard Sanibel for yummy eats and treats that evening. The next day Jimi, Jeff, Karen, and Brittany went to the beach. While there, they enjoyed the pool and outdoor showers at the Marriott. Karen was smart and took shampoo so she and Brittany could wash their hair in the outdoor shower. Unfortunately, I missed out on all the fun, but that evening we all walked down the street to Island Pizza. The pizza was good, but I doubt we would go back there again. When the pizza was delivered to our table it nearly landed in my lap. Hot and steamy, the server caught it by placing his hand on top of it. Cheese stuck to his hand, as he set it down and pulled his hand away. His response was “Enjoy” and walked away.  My thought was your bare hand just landed in the food we are about to ingest – yuck! Well, no one else said anything, so I didn’t either. We all ate and are still alive today.

The next day Jeff treated us to Cold Stone Creamery. Ok – my new VERY favorite ice cream place. There are no words to describe this goodness. I think Jimi and Karen ordered shakes, Jeff and Brittany ordered smoothies – but I ordered a mouth-watering dish of Founder’s Favorite: Sweet Cream Ice Cream with Pecans, Brownie, Fudge, and Caramel. I ordered a medium, which was about $6 and let Jimi help me finish it.

 Jimi is happy after eating ice cream!

 Jimi, Lorie, Karen & Jeff

Which way?


We did some shopping at Bealls Outlet. Jeff and Karen scored with a basket full of clothing and a roller beach bag. Jimi bought a couple of shirts, electronic items and I went baby shopping for my grandbaby-to-come.

We found THE best pizza in Marco Island at Gino’s Trattoria. Jimi got wind of this place and decided we would go there for his birthday dinner. Although his birthday was still four days away, we wanted to celebrate with Jeff and Karen here. It’s a nice Italian place; at first glance, we thought it was a little out of our league, but they accepted us all the same.  This is the spot for pizza and possibly other Italian dishes too. They have the only brick fired oven on the island and apparently Monday and Wednesday’s pizza is half price.

Very disappointing news came when Jeff received an unexpected call saying he needed to move his trailer, which meant they had to leave at midnight. We only got 48 hours with them, but it was more than we had planned. So, until next time!

Before they left we goofed around with photos by the fountain at Esplanade Shopping Center. We wanted to climb in like the intro on Friends, but signs made it clear it was frowned upon. 

 "Take One"

 "Take Two"

"Take Three"

Later, Brittany and I were goofing around with my selfie stick until Jimi snuck in and photo bombed us. 

On Saturday Jimi took Brittany and me to a remote island, but yet not so remote because all the tourists rented boats to visit as well. When we first arrived we were in awe at the vast numbers of fighting conch shells lying on the beach. There was literally nowhere to step. We also saw dozens upon dozens of dead fish. This was the result of the Red Tide.

The Red Tide in Florida is the result of high concentrations of Karenia Brevis, a microscopic marine algae that occurs naturally but normally in lower concentrations. In high concentrations, its toxin paralyzes the central nervous system of fish so they cannot breathe. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_tide  

While there, I even felt the effects of the Red Tide. There were times I coughed and felt as though I couldn’t breathe. It’s common for humans to feel the allergy effects.

Despite the conditions, we had a full day, a good time and collected lots of shells. I would have collected more, but failed to bring my shell bag. I improvised and used our tortilla chip bag.

 The beginning of Brittany's treasures.

The beach is beautiful.

The sand is so white.

This is a roped off 'bird sanctuary'.

This Osprey posed without a thought of it.


Hundreds of Fighting Conch.

Smokehouse Basin is always so calm and relaxing. Jimi and Brittany were able to get the paddle board out. Brittany learned just how tiring it is.

Jimi is a pro now and doesn't even bother to put on his swim trunks.

Early in the week,  Jimi said: “Let’s go.” So by 7pm, Tuesday we were on our way to Key West. It took us about eighteen and a half hours of straight sailing through the night. Here we sit in Key West. In the next blog post, I’ll fill you in on the festivities here.

Friday, October 7, 2016


It’s been an interesting couple of weeks getting back into the swing of ‘boat life’, adjusting to another boat mate on board and closely watching hurricane Matthew.

We settled in at Charlotte Harbor, an area that somehow seems to be our home base or starting point. We know the area pretty well and enjoy ourselves there. The worst of it is the anchorage is often choppy. Getting to and from shore in the dinghy is less than a dry experience.

 Excited about frozen yogurt

 Serious about frozen yogurt

Nearly gone frozen yogurt

Walking into Fisherman’s Village to treat ourselves to our favorite frozen yogurt shop, we found the annual Pirate Festival in full force. Pirates of all ages and dress were everywhere. Events included a pirate’s sword fight, several stages playing pirate music, dancers, pirate boats, and mermaids. We devoured our frozen yogurt the first day and returned for the pirate festival the second day.

This guy was our favorite. He would stand perfectly still until the crowd gathered and just as soon as someone got close, he would move....everyone jumped, some let out a squeal, a few cried, but most laughed, had their photo taken and then donated to his treasure.

It’s taken some time, but we finally feel like we are finding our places on Sanibel. With an additional person on board, we’ve had to reconfigure storage, seating and more. At first, we were so unorganized; I thought I was losing my mind. Little by little I’ve been able to reorganized storage spaces, cupboards and vanity areas. Brittany occupies most of the forward berth. She uses three suitcases for her belongings, which are tucked on the port side of the berth and she sleeps on the starboard side. Jimi still uses the built in dresser and they share the vanity area. I still have my built in dresser in the aft cabin but have had to relocate many of my belongings from the Salon cubby to the storage under my berth.  For anyone who lives on a boat, you know that the organizing almost never ends and so we continue.

Brittany has been in Florida with us for three weeks. I have no doubt that her first two weeks she may have had second thoughts about what she’d gotten herself in to. I already mentioned to you that the first week we were all miserably hot and eaten alive by no-see-ums and mosquitoes. She spent the second week getting her sea legs and in the process would hang over the side of Sanibel with what we refer to as ‘feeding the fish’. And in fact, she made several new fish friends doing so. This third week has been better for her. She’s eating well and no longer gets motion sickness while at anchor. She’s adjusted to the dinghy and helps to crew when asked. She’s maintained a good schedule with her school work and doing extremely well in her classes. At this rate, she’ll be done in no time. And finally, she’s having fun!

We’ve adopted a couple of new games that the three of us play in the evening when not on shore: Exploding Kittens and Mexican Train. Both games are fun and we never know who will win. Call it ‘no skill involved’ or the three of us are a good match – we have fun because no one dominates.

After leaving Charlotte Harbor we sailed to Fort Myers Beach. It's another place we’ve visited often on this Florida coast. 

Off season, the mooring field is very empty. They have laundry facilities, which doubles as an air-conditioned dayroom and showers we can use. 

Anyone up for a walk on the beach?

  Fort Myers

 Britt found a live sand dollar

 The Pier

 Shadow fun

Upon arriving in Fort Myers the town was hosting a free Song Writers Music Festival. Stages were set up all over the town and musicians singing with all their hearts. We found seats at a place called Nervous Nellie’s. 
Tim McGreary, Local Artist
The first couple that took the stage were two individuals who just happen to join forces. They each played the guitar and sang; they were very good. 

The second set was a couple of guys who call themselves Trailer Choir from Nashville. They’ve been singing together for about twelve years and one of the members is Big Vinny from season twelve of The Biggest Loser. These guys put on a show – they didn’t just stand up there and sing, they were funny and goofy and made us all laugh. It was the highlight of our night.

For nearly a week we watched the path of Hurricane Matthew. Our friend Bob on s/v Windygo is in the Bahamas and just was thirty miles from Matthew’s eye. He is safe although Windygo has some damage, but nothing that can’t be fixed. Then we watched to see just how far Matthew would shoot West towards us. We prepared for the worst, just to be safe. We were expecting some of Matthew’s edge to cause us heavy winds and maybe some rain, but to our surprise, we got nothing. Probably only about twenty knots of wind and nothing to be concerned about.

 Shrimp Boats

Jimi and Brittany exploring a wreck

We’re patiently waiting for a weather window – next stop is Marco Island about thirty-five miles South of here.