January 9, 2020

Cape Coral to the Marco River and into Goodland was a great first day back on the waterways after being docked for almost a month.  This was about a 55 mile day from dock to anchorage.  We had a 2-3’ following sea which made for a smooth and relaxing ride.  We chose to go to Goodland because our friend Jack Stringfield had told me all about the anchorages in this area and the hundreds of miles of dinghy routes.  We had about a 40 mile jog in the gulf before turning into Marco island and getting on the river that takes us south to Goodland.  The Marco river is shallow.  It Is charted at 4’ on a normal low tide.  We entered just as the tide was coming up from an extreme low because of the almost full moon.  We passed a Tow Boat US boat and I radioed to him to get some local knowledge.  He told me we were already past the difficult part and to keep going by the chart.  I found it reliable to use the satellite areal to see the shoaling from the currents here.  They have a huge tide change sometimes 3’ or more.  I saw 4’ a few times on our depth sounders and stirred up some mud but it was super fluffy and the Pura Vida didn’t seem to mind it.  Coming into Goodland was a great start to the 10,000 islands.  This is a remote town south east of Marco island.  Fishing and live aboard boats are all you will find here.  We anchored just past the Calusa Island Yacht Club in Blue Hill Bay.  Calusa is not a member of the FCYC so we chose to anchor here and dinghy in.  we will wait out some high winds while here and cross Florida bay to Marathon Yacht Club on Sunday.  So far we have dinghied the mangroves to Cape Romano.  There are remains of a really cool old “Dome home” that was built in the 1980’s.  It was a few hundred yards from the gulf when built. Now it lies at least a hundred yards offshore.  The fast moving tidal currents here caused this erosion.  It has now been out to sea for almost 10 years.  I find it amazing how much of the domes remain after being at the mercy of the gulf.  We have a lot of exploring left that we want to do here one day including Flamingo, Everglade City, and the 90 mile Buttonwood canal that takes you into the inner everglades where the salt water and fresh water ecosystems collide.

Cape Coral

We noticed a marker down in the water and notified USCG St. Pete who had jurisdiction of this area.  There were lots of dolphins as always and Donzi acted scared of them.  Kind of silly that he’s afraid of them.  As we neared Cape Coral there were tons of weekend boaters.  We enjoyed checking out all the different boats and some of the crazy Christmas decorations people put up.  We are looking forward to having a warm Christmas holiday here in Cape Coral docked behind our good friend Georges house.  He is in the Bahamas and was so nice to let us stay here for a month and utilize the pool and hot tub.  We have been enjoying getting to know the neighborhood and have made many great home cooked meals.  I’ve already checked off several projects on my Pura Vida list and am excited to have her in the best shape she’s ever been in.

Henry Ford and Thomas Edison both had winter homes near Cape Coral in Ft Myers.  We enjoyed touring their homes located on a beautiful piece of property overlooking the Caloosa River.  We got our back canvas enclosure created and built while we were there.  That completed the top project.  We have really been enjoying the new and improved pilot house.

Venice, Useppa Island Club and Cabbage Key

December 4th

Venice Yacht Club was awesome! The cruise from Sarasota to Venice was a beautiful 18.4 miles.  Venice is one of my favorites so far.  Right across the street from the beach.  You can even hear the waves from the marina.  Dock master Myles is very accommodating and friendly.  Donzi loved walking all over this town.  Adeline’s Nana and Granddad used to live here and she recalled eating at the Crows Nest restaurant a few times.  It’s located right on the inlet.  We biked to Ace Hardware for some Christmas light accessories we plan to string on our new ladder.  We are en route to Useppa Island club now.  37 miles south of Venice.  For about 15 miles we were on a narrow man made part of the ICW with a bike path on either side the whole way.  There are lots of manatees and not much marine traffic.  Week day ICW runs are the best.  Stand by.

We arrived to Useppa Island Club Wednesday afternoon around 2 PM.  We docked at the main dock in front of the dock office.  Our friend George got us two nights here under his membership.  This is a 150 acre island that is like being back in the 1920s.  There are no cars here it’s only walking or using a golf cart.  This place is stunning.  The tropical foliage is amazing, the homes are beautiful and the grounds have been upkept to the tee.  It feels like we have the whole island to ourselves.  We enjoyed a nice walk all the way around the whole island one morning.  We saw a lot of interesting things and could really appreciate the quiet way of life here.  Only about a handful of residents reside here full time and we were lucky to meet some of them.  There is no police to worry about here, no noise and no drama-just classic island time at its finest.  The Caloosa Indians used to inhabit here.  Tomorrow we are headed to Cabbage key which is right across the ICW just .8 miles away.

We checked out of Useppa Island late so that we could enjoy the museum the morning of our departure (Friday).  We eased on over to Cabbage Key smoothly and got a great spot just below the famous restaurant here.  This island is beautiful like Useppa but more of a woodsy feel and a little less tropical.  We enjoyed a nice walk and climb up to the top of the water tower which offered incredible views.  Dinner was something we were very much looking forward to because I remembered how good it was on my first time coming through here.  Supposedly this is where Jimmy Buffett wrote “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” The restaurant is also famous for their stone crab claws.  We were a little disappointed to find out they were all sold out of those but the smoked salmon appetizer we got instead was very satisfying so we quickly got over that.  The next morning we got up and headed towards Cape Coral (Saturday).