Adventures in Fort Myers

The Fort Myers Yacht Basin was our home for four weeks. While here we saw many wonderful sites.

Scenes from our first evening walking the River District. This is an amazingly busy area with music and various activities on Friday evenings. Street entertainment everywhere with most retail establishments open late.

On Saturday we met with Jim and Peggy Johnson (we met them at Cabbage Key when we shared at table with them) for dinner and then we watched the Edison Light Parade. Oh my! What a wonderful parade. What a wonderful evening with a great couple.

Motorcycle brigade from Indianapolis.

Budweiser Clydesdales

We decided earlier in the day when we were out exploring that maybe this parade happening in the evening was a big deal when we spied locations to watch the parade were marked out on the route.

It’s March – lost a post

Last post I had tried saving my work to come back to – guess what I failed.

Since then we have been to Sanibel Island, Fort Myers (a trip home), a couple of anchorages and now Marathon, Florida.

Sunset from our slip – yup in the middle of a neighborhood.

This bird did quite the balancing act – he would reach down to the water and never fell in or struggle to maintain balance.

Sanibel lighthouse as we are heading to Fort Myer.

Cabbage Key

We have had so many different suggestions of places to stop and visit. We chose to spend two nights at Cabbage Key. One of the stories is that this was the inspiration for a Jimmy Buffet song. Is it true? I like to think so. This island is only accessible by water. Those visitors that stay in the cottages come by water taxi or their own vessel. Some employees of the inn stay on the island some come every day just before 9 a.m. by crew boat and leave about 4 p.m. Provisions are brought in daily; trash goes out ons trash barge. No cars, some golf carts, one motorized vehicle to move the dumpsters to the trash barge full and remove the empties from the barge.

This island is very peaceful. It makes you feel like you might just be in paradise. We followed the well marked nature trail from the water tower (yes i is a working water tower) all the way around back to the tower. We were told about the Shell tree and that it might be a nice visit by following a side trail. We missed the side trail and had to start a second trip around the trail until we found it. All in all a very good morning walk.

We finished our walk in time to get back to the inn by 11:00 a.m. the suggested time to be there for lunch. Then the excitement began. Hundreds of people show up for lunch. Some come by personal boat, some come by tour boat, some by dingy leaving a larger boat anchored out in Pine Island Sound just off the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway. If someone says you need to make a lunch reservation, they are not kidding.

As overnight guests we were instructed to not arrive the first day before 3 p.m. and we should be out well before 11 a.m. on our departure day. This is s very busy place between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. and dock space is first come first serve.

One of the notable items is the money taped to the walls and ceilings. Hundreds of dollars. These dollars are signed and dated. Of course, we had to add a dollar. Please enjoy some of our photos from Cabbage Key.

We enjoyed our time on this island paradise. Items to note: the Osprey nest on the water tower, the Osprey on the tv antenna, the busy harbor and how close all the boats were to each other during the busy day, the duck parade (saw them both evenings) We never did see an alligator.

Well – it looks like maybe I should just do this

Have missed so many days/weeks of posting. Those missed weeks will probably show up as flashbacks. Thus a gap. Moving forward.

We are in Punta Gorda, Florida. We have been enjoying our stay here. While here we have taken a trip to the Orlando, Florida area. This was a trip planned from back before we started this trip. Believe it or not we did some couch potato binge movie watching. We were there 3 nights, our last night there we went in search of the Hard Rock Cafe (Al has developed a fondness for their tee shirts). Hence an adventure. Gussy (my directions app on my phone) took us on our trip. Guess what we found out? The restaurant is in the City Walk at Universal. You have to go to the amusement park (not in our plan); you have to pay for parking at the amusement park (but of course); but you do not have to pay for any amusement park activities if you don’t want and if you arrive after 6:00 pm there is not a parking fee. We wandered around City Walk after our mission was accomplished enjoying the sites. A few pictures from this adventure:

A Little Catching Up (this will take a while)

We left Green Turtle Bay on October 10, 2017.  What an interesting start at 4:30 in the afternoon – the Captain said we are leaving today.  Guess he meant it.  Darn good thing that the sun won’t be setting for a couple of hours.  Won’t be getting to the planned marina stop so this will be an anchorage.  Spent the night at Rhodes Cove – a very nice anchorage on Kentucky Lake.  I guess that you can call this day 1 of the trip.

On October 11 we traveled to Birdsong.  This was a recommended stop by the Captain of Halcyon.  What an experience!  First off they told us we needed to be escorted in to the marina from the lake.  We let them know when we were at the recommended location; we were met by a small boat and the adventure begins.  We followed our leader through many twists and turns for about two miles back to the marina.  There were several places on the trip in that we were very close to our draft limit.  The attraction at Birdsong is no longer — the Pearl Museum burned the previous December (all the exhibits are gone).   

October 12 (Columbus Day – traditional appropriate for this pair). We left Birdsong traveling to Clifton Marina (a nine hour trip).  The day started out cloudy, cold and windy (do we have enough layers of clothing to keep us warm?)   By mid afternoon the sun came out and we were warmer.  We walked around town and ate at a little place called  Dyanne’s.  Back to the boat and settled in for the night.

October 13 (Friday the 13th — you must remember this). Our goal for the day is to get to Pickwick Landing.  The day started out FOGGY.  Fellow loopers First Forty we’re also waiting for the fog to lift.  We left the marina about the same time and gradually kept getting farther behind them.  They were able to travel a little faster than we can and were able to lock through Pickwick Lock with another small boat.  When we were close enough to request a lock through, we were informed that we would have to wait about three hours for the tow traveling the opposite direction to be locked through.  We requested permission to tie to either a mooring cell or out of the way on a lock wall (permission granted).  We patiently waited our turn.  We successfully entered and proceeded to perform our lock through.  Now you must know that the sun has by now set and it is dark DARK!  The port engine suddenly shuts down — we leave the lock on one engine.  Now we have to find the marina in the dark and with the use of only one engine.  We were able to navigate our way to the marina although the channel was not well marked.  Remember First Forty that we met the night before.  Well they were very helpful in us getting tied up for the night (remember we only have the use of one engine.). There is more to this story than I can put here.  If you see the Captain in person or the first mate (admiral) ask.

October 14 – in order to continue traveling we must find out why the port engine failed.  A little detective work and the discovery was made that the newly (and new) installed fuel filters failed.  Fortunately, a couple of spare new filters were on the boat.  After a filter change the port engine was started.  It is a late start to our day’s planned travel, but we are going.  Today our destination is Florence.  This is going to be a later arrival, but the traveling was so much better.  

October 15 – today we are traveling to Joe Wheeler State Park.  This means two locks 1) Wilson lock with a lift of 97’ and 2) Joe Wheeler Lock with a lift of  47’ to navigate through.  We achieved two successful lockages.  With our arrival at Joe Wheeler State Park we were successfully tucked into our slip with the help of other loopers.  The Captain was amazed that we fit into a slip that he thought was too narrow for us.  

First blog post

Welcome to the Adventures of Tortuga as we travel the Great Loop.

We are Al and Ruth Darelius

Our boat is a 1981 45′ CHB Europa Style Trawler

Please join our adventure, we look forward to sharing the sights as we prepare for the trip and throughout the journey. Our home port is Peoria, Illinois but currently harbored at Green Turtle Bay, Grand Rivers, Kentucky. We have some catching up to do on the preparations and travels that started our adventure.

More to Follow!