I haven't been able to write for several days, as our inverter failed and the computer battery died.
June 11th was a lovely day. We motored through the ICW from Venice to Pelican Cove. The highlights of our day included a dolphin swimming up to the boat, and Henry tasting his first popsicle! Pelican Cove was a beautiful anchorage. Very quiet and undeveloped. Andy took Buddy and Charlie ashore where they frolicked on the beach, and Charlie decided to take a swim. We enjoyed the evening with champagne and Frank Sinatra music in the cockpit. There was a pleasant breeze, no bugs, and total privacy. Perfect!
June 12th we motored to Fort Meyers Beach. Overdeveloped for our tastes. It was very busy there, and we paid $13 to stay on a mooring ball. We picked up a few provisions at the Topps that we could dinghy to. I slipped and fell as I left the grocery store because my sandals were wet and the ramp was painted. My only injuries were a scraped ankle and a bruised pride. The mosquitoes were bad here, so we stayed in for the evening, showered, and went to bed early.
June 13th we ventured out of the ICW and into the Gulf of Mexico. We had a great day, the weather was lovely, and I didn't get sea sick!! We anchored for the night at Marco Island. It didn't look like an anchorage, as we just had to drop the hook in amongst houses and marinas. We thought about getting a dock for the night, but quickly changed our minds when we heard the price of $2.30 per foot! We could have stayed in a nice hotel for the night at that price!! So, we anchored out in the harbour, and were joined by one other boat before nightfall.
June 14th was our longest day thus far. We motor sailed in the Gulf to Little Shark River. The trip was great, and we enjoyed the day immensely! Andy and I took turns at the helm, both had naps, and felt very much at ease sailing far enough out in the Gulf that we couldn't see land. Sassy II performed beautifully. Then we got to the Everglades... Oh my God! Andy tried to take the dogs ashore for a pee. There wasn't any place to get footing to go ashore, just tree roots coming out of the water, and in the 60 seconds it took for them to realize they couldn't go ashore, a huge swarm of mosquitoes tried to carry them off!! Andy dinghied back to the boat yelling, "Deb, Deb! Get the dogs inside and keep the screens in, the mosquitoes know we're here!!!!". We had a terrible night. The bugs that managed to follow them in ate away at us all night, as we sweltered in the breezeless boat. I am still covered in about 250 welts, and I am not exagerrating!! We both vow never again to go to the Everglades! Next time we'll travel right through from Marco Island to Marathon. The dogs had to go 32 hours without peeing this time, so a long journey would actually have been easier for them. Luckily Henry's V-berth has a fan blowing right on him. It kept him cool and prevented the bugs from landing on him. We should all have been so lucky!
June 15th - We motor sailed from Little Shark River to Marathon. It took about three hours to clear the rest of the bugs out of the cockpit, but after that we settled in for a nice trip. Just before the bridge that separates the Gulf from the Atlantic we sailed into a thunder storm. It was our first, and we weren't sure how it would go. It went surprisingly well. The seas did not get too choppy, we just got a little wet. The rain was quite refreshing, in fact Andy got chilled at the helm and had to put on his foul weather gear to get warm! We arrived in Marathon around 2:00pm and filled our water tanks, walked the dogs, checked our email and paid for three nights at a mooring ball. ($20/night). Andy took the dinghy to West Marine and purchased a $50 inverter that seems to be working like a charm. After Henry's nap we all dinghied over to the Publix (Andy was out of beer, Oh No!!). It was quite a time trying to find the dinghy dock, but we eventually did, bought a lot of beverages and a bag of ice, and made it back to the boat just after nightfall.
June 16th, today, it is hot, hot, hot in the Florida Keys in June. I am not tolerating the heat well. I have very itchy heat rashes on my knees and elbows that combined with the hundreds of bug bites have left me quite irritable. Andy is managing much better and has been incredibly understanding as I sit in front of the fan and try to exert as little energy as possible while he works away changing the filters on the engine. We will be here three nights, and will then try to head north as quickly as possible to escape the relentless heat! Henry is irritable today too. He is not sleeping or eating well, and I'm not sure if his issue is with the heat or if he has teething pain. Hopefully we will both adjust and start feeling better soon.
It has been quite an adventure already. Hopefully as we head north and become more accustomed to sailing, anchoring and the entire lifestyle, things will just get better and better.