Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Cape Sable

The sail to Cape Sable from Marathon was absolutely the best we’ve had in a very long time. We had all three sails up, the seas were calm and the winds were light but steady. We left Marathon about 7am, averaging about 6 knots and dropped anchor in the middle cape of Cape Sable at 2 pm. I sat in the cockpit with Jimi the entire day (except for the tail end), which is highly unusual, as I normally stay below deck.

By 3pm the dinghy was in the water and we were on our way to shore for a quick look-see. We walked a little bit in each direction and poked around in the brush. A small sailboat anchored near Sanibel and two men from the vessel came to shore. They introduced themselves, we shook hands and then walked our separate ways. Jimi and I spent an hour on shore collecting our first batch of seashells and driftwood. We returned to Sanibel about 4pm. We had both been in the sun all day; we were hot and tired.

Our trip to shore was also our first time using our new dinghy. It will take some time for us to get used to the differences from our old dinghy. It’s incredibly lightweight. We have no problem pulling it up on shore. Its floor is aluminum versus our old one was fiberglass. The new dinghy, like our old, has inflatable tubes made from Hypalon; however, the new one is much deeper, so the step down when loading can be deceiving and the floor sits at a ‘v’ shape rather than flat. We’re not able to get up on plane with both of us aboard. This is a downside, and yet nothing we can’t deal with.

 A nice piece of driftwood.

 This is a barrell sponge. We found several of these.

 This looks like what's left of someone's tent. Appears to have been on fire.

After getting back to Sanibel, I had a really hard time adjusting that evening. I was almost in a depression. I told Jimi that I didn’t know what to do. I had no cell service or internet, therefore, I couldn’t text anyone, get on Facebook, watch Netflix, surf the web and had absolutely no contact with the world. It was me and Jimi and without an electronic device in my hand, I was lost. Anyhow, Jimi cooked us supper (I helped) and we sat in the cockpit eating during sunset. During dinner conversation, we talked about life on Sanibel outside the United States when we had no internet, cell phones or contact. Jimi reminded me that I was a book-reading-machine averaging at one to two books a week. And so it hit me – I would read during my downtime. After the dinner dishes were done I searched Calibri on my laptop and found that I have fifteen Nancy Drew books and all seven of the Harry Potter books. I was interested in Nancy Drew because they would be short quick reads and Harry Potter because I’ve always thought I wanted to read them, but never have. I loaded them on my tablet and began reading Harry Potter that evening. I finished the first book the day we left Cape Sable and was halfway through the second book when we arrived at Marco Island. I decided I would finish out the season getting back in to reading more and watching Netflix less.

Jimi was already reading a book on space shuttles and such. Of course, he doesn’t care to read fiction and always has something in his hand he’s reading.

The next morning we set out for a three-hour beachcombing. We dinghied a mile and a half or so – walked almost two hours stopping to collect shells and looking at other things before turning around. Jimi found a very large shell – 12 inches long – in perfect condition. We also found numerous sets of alligator tracks leading into the swampy area, dead crabs and horseshoe crabs and a lot of various sea sponges and plant life. I collected four bags of shells on this trip and one the night before. Returning to Sanibel, we ate hearty roast beef sandwiches and laid down to rest from the sun’s heat.

A catamaran anchored near us and the owner, a young many names Chris, came over to say hi. He sailed down from Pensacola and was on his way to Key Largo. Jimi and Chris chatted for a while and then met us on shore that evening. Jimi flew his drone, Chris watched in amazement and I soaked up the scenery. After sunset, I stayed on Sanibel and Jimi went to shore with Chris for some nighttime photography.

 Jimi picking up a horseshoe crab.

 Look closely and you can see a timy crab living on this shell.

 Yes, these are the real deal - gator tracks.

This tree is still standing.

The next morning Jimi noticed about fifteen feet of uncovered beach due to an extra low tide caused by the new moon. We hoped in the dinghy before breakfast in search of great finds that would normally be underwater. Unfortunately, we didn’t find anything.

By now, I was feeling the effects of the UV rays. For our next trip to shore that afternoon I was completely covered other than the tops of my feet and even then the heat was causing me some discomfort. I stayed close to the dinghy and even found a small piece of shade to sit under while Jimi did some more exploring in the brush. We didn’t stay too long but did go back just before sunset so Jimi could fly his drown and videotape the sunset. Despite being totally covered we were still walking smorgasbords for hungry vulturous flying critters.

When I woke Sunday, I was pretty much done. My muscles ached, mostly my neck. I told Jimi I’d had enough of the beach and needed a break – he agreed. I spent the morning cleaning the sand from my shells and preparing them for deep storage (I forgot to snap a picture before I put them away). Jimi told me the winds were good and we should sail about ten miles to Shark River. This gave us a head start towards Marco Island. We promptly prepared for the sail and left.

It was about a two-hour sail and then we stopped for the night. Monday we sailed 57 miles to Smokehouse Bay in Marco Island and here we’ll stay here until we decide to leave.

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