In the midst of 10,000 islands – 1/13/16

First of All -

  • First time on Florida’s Gulf Coast beyond the reach of condominium builders
  • First time encountering canoe campers on the Gulf
  • First time Sandy wears her down jacket
  • First time anchored in a place where absolutely no artificial lights are visible

Namely Speaking-

  • Keewadin Island
  • Rookery Bay
  • Umbrella Island
  • Isles of Capri
  • Marco Island
  • Slingaree Island
  • Hog Island

Loop Log:

  • Miles Cruised today: Power: 30; Sail: Motor sailed 3 hours
  • Total Miles Cruised to date: 2,420
  • Hours Underway: 5
  • Fuel: NA
  • Morning House Battery Reading: 13.4 (plugged in)
  • Wind Speed: 10; Wind Direction: NE
  • Daily High Temperature: 65
  • Water Temperature: 63

My desire to get an early start falls victim to a case of inertia, brought on by the sounds of a fresh breeze outside and a 54 degree cabin temperature inside. I manage to crawl out of a comfy sleeping bag shortly after 7am, and am ready to back out of our slip by 8. With the wind pushing against us I ask for help from a boat across the dock from us. It goes better than I expected, and we’re soon motoring slowly down Gordon River, leaving Naples in our wake. We’re taking the shallow, twisty inside route to Marco Island and beyond, to the start of the region known as the 10,000 Islands. The wind is on our port beam most of the time, so I run the genoa out to give us a bit of a push. As an added bonus, we have current in our favor most of the way, so we can keep DSCF9943our speed at 6 mph without asking too much from the engine. We leave the Naples mansions behind and enter an extensive region of mangroves. The designated route is quite shallow, with depths from 3 to 6 feet being typical. We start out at low tide, and gain more than 3 feet of tidal depth over the course of the run. It’s quite chilly throughout the morning. Sandy dons her down parka and stuffs hot packs in her heavy gloves. I trade my Tilley hat for a stocking cap to keep my ears warm. By noon the temperature finally climbs above 60 degrees and the sun begins to burn through the overcast. We pass the little community of Goodland, where the fellow I chatted with yesterday lives. I have no way of knowing which place is his, so we pass on by. Goodland is the last outpost of development on thisDSCF9945 coast. Except for little Everglades City, a short way upriver from the coast, we will be cruising along a wild, uninhabited shore, much of which is part of the Everglades National Park. My first choice of an anchorage is Whitehorse Key, however we pass it by after seeing that it is already occupied by a substantial cluster of tents. Several boats are pulled up on the beach, and it looks like the camp of a large fishing group. A short distance beyond I see an attractive cove, which is bordered by a decent sized beach. We anchor in the cove, with good protection from the light prevailing NE wind. It is open to the Gulf, but we are expecting no weather out of the west overnight. We dinghy ashore for our usual beach walk, and manage to come back with a few nice shells. I’ve got to wrap this up for now. Time to put some pork chops on the barbeque.

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