Days on cruise: 278
Distance traveled: 49.2 miles
Travel time: 6 hours, 4 minutes
Total trip odometer: 5,871 statute miles
This morning’s weather forecast called for calm seas and skies, and sometimes we get tired of slow going in the Intracoastal Waterway with its’ boat traffic, low bridges and manatee zones, so we decided to go “outside” in the Gulf of Mexico from Sanibel until past Naples, FL at Big Marco Pass. Traveling offshore in the Gulf is faster and a shorter distance, but also boring in terms of what there is to see.
Cathryn decided she’s not a fan of the Gulf! Despite traveling more than 5,000 Loop miles without ever getting seasick, even in rough chop or big crashing waves, she suffered quite a bit on our Gulf Crossing a month ago, and today’s swells made her feel sick for the second time. Yuck!
Above, Naples in the distance. Lots of Loopers include this destination among their stops and love it. We’ve found the upscale, extremely wealthy communities don’t appeal to us as they offer things that aren’t important to us, like golf, and outrageously expensive restaurants, shopping and marinas. We’re more drawn to the quirky, unique places that have more character and less “sameness”, and invariably make you feel welcome even if you’re wearing “Boater’s Clothes” like shorts or capris and flip flops.
Despite the fact we weren’t in the ICW, but the open Gulf, we got passed by several Sportfishers and other “Go Fast” boats who seem never to have heard of a Slow Pass. After 11 months on the Loop, we’ve become accustomed to the politeness of Slow Passes, so find ourselves annoyed here in Florida when these folks pass so fast it’s impossible to turn into their gigantic wake fast enough to avoid a hard jarring. They seem not to know they are LEGALLY responsible for any damage caused by their wake, in every state in our nation. It’s sometimes amusing to hear others on the VHF radio chastising folks who do this.
After coming in off the Gulf at Big Marco Island and passing through Capri Pass, it was slow going. We’d been told by folks with local knowledge that we should NOT come in until mid-tide or higher, as the water is too shallow otherwise. So the last hour on the Gulf we slowed our speed to allow the tide to rise a bit more, then traveled slowly through waters that sometimes offered only 2 feet below our hull. Oh, and it rained. And rained, and rained.
You’d think people from Seattle would barely notice rain, but there it’s most often drizzle, while here in Florida it comes in sheets that obliterate visibility, making it hard to find the red and green marks up ahead. This is when teamwork is most important: one of us drives the boat while the other squeegees the windshield periodically then trains the binoculars in the distance to find the marks.
Finally we arrived in Goodland, an “Old Florida” town recommended as a good stop by our friends Jim and Sharon on “Blue Angel”, two-time Loopers.
There’s no ostentatious glitz here.
Can you find south Florida in the weather radar screenshot below? Nope, you can’t! That’s because it’s entirely obliterated by rain, rain and more rain! If you look closely you can find the blue dot showing where we’re located, which for the brief moment is in a dry spot.
The photo below shows Goodland. It’s not a big place, and the green stuff is water, while the black stuff is mangroves. Hard to believe we are only 6 miles from the high rises of Marco Island. There are 85 slips at the marina, and the folks who work here are incredibly friendly and accomodating. The two dock hands who caught our lines got SOAKED to the skin in the heavy rain, along with Bob who was on deck at the time.
Despite its’ being Valentines, we stayed on the boat for dinner in order to be dry. We’ll keep an eye on the weather to decide how long to stay here. The wind is blowing hard, so we double-checked our lines to make sure we’re secure for the night. We’re really happy not to be anchored out somewhere!