Sailing - Chapter 6 - Marco Island

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast
Strange domes outside of Marco Island.

After two hours, we successfully exit the Everglades City mangrove, snake-infested channel. Man, that is a long channel! Today's destination is Marco Island. I actually have "Everglades City to Sanibel Island" as our 3rd sailing day leg, but let's see where the day takes us. That is a long way and one of our longest legs - approx 52 nautical miles. As I have mentioned before, we only go 3-4 nmph. You do the math.  Don't forget to factor in the heat.

The interesting part about Marco Island is that it effectively marks the end of the Everglades. "True" civilization, I'm told, begins once we reach this waypoint. Honestly, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about that. The Everglades have been challenging, exciting, surreal, desolate, hot, scary and extremely remote. I have mixed feelings about leaving them behind.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

It really isn't that far to Cape Romano but we don't even exit the Everglades City channel until 9:30 a.m.

The weather forecast is much-improved. In fact, there is a zero percent chance of rain today. The problem with that is there will be no storms and no clouds. No storms or clouds means no wind and in it's place - searing sunshine. Searing sunshine means oppressive heat. Believe it or not, it gets very hot on a white sailboat, offshore with no wind in the Everglades in the middle of summer. Why didn't someone explain that to me before I left Tallahassee?

We sail for a few hours until we see the Cape ahead and to our right. There is an actual building!

We keep sailing, and sailing, and sailing, but after about two or three hours we notice that we simply aren't making any progress.

I ask Nick, "Did you turn around or something when I wasn't looking?  Why aren't we past the Cape?
Nick shrugs.

What the heck is going on? Oh yeah, tides! There is a strong incoming tide which is pushing the boat towards the east shore and not letting us get West around the cape. The Everglades, apparently, do not want us to leave.

Nick starts up the engine and after an hour or so that gives us enough "push" to overcome the tide / current. After a few more hours, we make it around Cape Romano and start heading North again.  But now it is much later in the day than we expected.

The water is beautiful - and now, for the first time since we left Bahia Honda, deeper than 10 ft. 25 ft to be exact. Also for the first time, I see a small bait ball next to the boat, so I throw a silver spoon into the midst (Thank you to my brother Russell, who unfortunately passed away a few months ago, for teaching me about spoons). Wham. I immediately get hit:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Unlike Nick, I do not go shirtless often on this voyage. With my pasty skin, I can't afford to get seriously sunburnt.  Besides, I don't have all the muscles he does.
So, sorry about the old man, pale body in this picture.
Spanish Mackerel. Nice. He will be dinner soon.
I should put my shirt back on.

A few minutes later, this bad-boy hits the starboard trolling rod:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

A four-foot barracuda.
Okay, that was fun!
Barracuda trolling off a sailboat going 4 mph. That ain't easy, folks.
Not 100% safe to eat large barracuda because they can contain a toxin.  I'm not taking that particular chance on this voyage. I've got my own issues. So, back in he goes, a little dazed, but he'll be fine. 
See the water?  Flat smooth, no wind.

Then, I catch this guy!!:
Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast
116 pound yellow-fin tuna!  

.....
I'm just kidding, of course. 
We caught him a few months ago in Venice, Louisiana on a charter fishing trip with Sam & Nick.
(Different adventure altogether)
Psyche.

Things quiet down in the fishing arena. I drink a beer and fillet the Spanish Mackerel and put the fillets on ice! We keep sailing. No sense in being in a hurry out here.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

The tan god himself.
See any storms on the horizon? Me neither.
Play a little music, hang out.  
We're sailing!

Now that we are free of the Everglades, the water off this Cape is absolutely beautiful. I like to stand up on the bow and look around. There is a slight breeze up here also. While I am up there, I watch two huge manta-rays speed directly under our hull. That's cool!  I call the "moment".

I accidentally leave my Android phone on the bench outside for 20 minutes. I pick it up. It is extremely hot. It tells me that it is overheating and needs to shut down. That just makes me appreciate my Garmin even more. It has been in the direct sun for days - it is electronic - and it has never complained or faltered. Amazing engineering.

My employees like "memes". We are not allowed to drink beer at the office until after 4 pm. So, a few weeks ago, two of them put a funny meme on my door related to it being "5 o'clock somewhere". I figure this is the perfect time for me to return the meme favor. After being out of the office for a week, this is actually my first correspondence back with my office:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast
You may have to click on the picture to see the words.

After a few more hours of battling current, we are on finally on the North end of Cape Romano. The shoreline is full of condos and people. We have definitely left the Everglades. Funny - civilization goes to the Cape and then simply STOPS! We have been sailing/motoring North most of the day. It's been a beautiful, but hot day. Although Marco Island isn't one of our "planned" overnight destinations, I call ahead (we have cellular service again!) and reserve a hotel that has a dock. I am learning that "voyage planning" is great, but it's impossible to strictly follow.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast
Marco Island coastline. 
We are not in Kansas, I mean the Everglades, anymore.

We pull into the "Boat House" hotel dock around 6:00 pm.:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast
Perfect resting place for the sailboat - for a day.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast
Rooms aren't fancy, but very clean.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast
Cute place. Perfect for our basic needs.

Although the office is closed, our room key is waiting for us, as promised by the nice lady on the phone, taped to the office door. We have no problems getting into our room. Immediate shower - change clothes!

Once again, air-conditioning! We're not as tired today as when we arrived in Everglades City yesterday, so we make the decision to go out. Within walking distance is a restaurant / bar called the Snook Inn.

We have a nice dinner, a "few" beers, and listen to a live band. The place is hopping. I, of course, tell everyone around us at the bar that we have "just sailed in from Key West". That is like an open invitation to conversation. We show off some pictures and we have fun with the people sitting around us at the bar.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast
Great picture Nick!  
In all honesty, I am stealing most of the pictures in my posts from Nick's Facebook page.
You should consider being a photographer, Nick.  You are very good at it, my friend.

The bartenders here are extremely friendly and efficient. My beer never runs dry.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

We head "home" early from the restaurant/bar. (Gotta be up early). Time for one more beverage out by the pool before we go to sleep. Good night little sailboat:

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Tomorrow: Sailing - Chapter 7 - Sanibel Island.

Fishing Florida's Forgotten Coast

Thanks for reading. Has anyone really read ALL the Sailing chapters?  You need to get a life!  :-)


3 comments:

  1. I do read every post and do need to get a life, in the meantime I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of your incredible voyage. Keep the good times rolling!
    Thanks bother,
    George

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  2. Still reading every post and enjoying it! What a great trip!

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  3. I lived it AND i am still reading all of them. Great to relove the trip through your words. I am almost ready for the next adventure. Nice job my friend!

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