Saturday, November 19, 2016

Pelican Bay to Ft. Myers

Pelican show at Pelican Bay

Arriving at Pelican Bay we followed the very specific directions for entering. There are some very shallow areas surrounded by sand bars. If you follow the the right path all will be well. We were surprised to see roughly 20 boats in the various areas of Pelican Bay. It seems the winter sailing season has begun here.

We dropped our Rocna anchor and 50' of chain in a nice spot to watch the wildlife and the sunset later on. The pelicans were dive bombing all around us and the dolphins were splashing around nearby. The sunset was very pretty as were all the amazing stars at night.

Pelican Bay sunset

We mapped out our route to the Ft. Myers area with a planned anchorage at Punta Rassa. The Yanmar started with some difficulty again, which really is bothering Mike. Brenda motored us out of the bay into the ICW where we pulled out the headsail and had a great 3 hour motorsail. Mike just didn't want to trust the Yanmar to restart, so he left it running as we sailed down the trail. The scenery was beautiful, but some of the monster power boat captains just love to pass close by and send their huge wakes at our beam.

As we approached Ft. Myers the traffic got really thick in the narrow channels. We were pretty happy to go under the big bridge and pop out into the open waters of the Gulf. We motorsailed to the indicated anchorage at Punta Rassa, but the swell coming in from the Gulf was awful. We weren't going to get much rest or sleep if we stayed there. Brenda was at the wheel and in true captain's form as she quickly said, "We're going into Ft. Myers and grabbing a mooring ball."

Cabbage Key Restaurant

We navigated the nicely marked channel and contacted the mooring field operators. They told us which three balls were available and we headed in to get one. We have moored a number of times and normally had pretty good results. This time was a different story. The mooring field is in a channel with a strong current running through it. The wind was blowing directly opposite the direction of the current. Mike motored right up to the ball assuming the two forces would offset each other and allow Brenda plenty of time to pick up the ball with the boat pole and secure us to it. Unfortunately the current was far stronger than the wind and Wrinkles quickly drifted too far past the ball. Brenda grabbed the tether perfectly, but with the boat continuing to move there was no way for her to hold on. So, one boat pole goes overboard. It is nice to know they float.

Mike circled around and we were able to retrieve the wayward pole on the first try. OK, let's try grabbing a mooring ball again. Mike stopped the boat 10' short of the mooring ball and then put the transmission in reverse with the engine at idle. That should hold us against the current right? Nope, we still floated too far past the ball. At least the neighbors on a nearby mooring ball are getting a good show. One more try using the engine at half throttle in reverse held us near the mooring ball long enough for Brenda to gets us tied up. Whew, time for a rum.

We dinghied to the office and paid for our mooring ball. Afterwards we had a great early supper at Matanzas On The Bay. Aren't you jealous Jim and Joni? We knew this was one of their favorite places in the world. The sunset was glorious as we relaxed in our cockpit listening to a good trop-rock band playing at a shoreside bar. This is cruising!

Ft. Myers mooring field


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