Anchorage -0ff Naples Florida

October 20, 2003 in Logs by Series, Series 31 Nine Months Ashore, The Logs

Anchorage -0ff Naples Florida

 

The trip with Russ Fraser in Oct 2003, took us down the ICW from Naples where Russ and Lynne are now living on board Blue Highway. We first met them in Bermuda in 1999 on our way across the Atlantic. We have developed a friendship with them, meeting them several times over the intervening years in the Azores, the English Channel, London, the Hebrides, Italy and Turkey.

 

We wended our way south for several miles, following the well marked channels to come out between Little Marcos Island and the tip of Keewaydin Island. There is a well sheltered stretch just inside the narrow opening out into the bay. It is sheltered by a low sandy barrier island, and looks an idyllic spot to anchor for a few days to explore the sandy islands and to dinghy around mangrove inlets this part of the upper Everglades, above Marco. We wandered along the fine sandy spit, over strands of elongated tendrils of a mangrove-like ground hugging plants, their octopus-like vines clinging to the sand, sucking whatever moisture from the warm dunes that allowed them to survive. This barrier spit was denuded of Australian pines which covered the islands on the opposite side of the quiet channel as some well meaning conservationist wanted only indigenous trees on the shoreline. Pity, as the “indigenous” trees did not survive, and only scrub brush and sand dunes are left along this stretch. However I made a mental note to come up here a few years from now when we are back in the Caribbean with Veleda to enjoy this tranquil sheltered anchorage. The narrow deeper channel would permit eyeball navigation to enter through the sand bars from seaward, or we could come down from Naples as we did on this occasion. It would be nice to gunkhole along this coast again, and through the Everglades just to the south. We came by this way in December of 1998 on our way down to the Florida Keyes after coming down the Mississippi from the Great Lakes, and across the Gulf Coast Intracoastal Waterway.

 

We then went over to the Capri Pass past Marco and on up the Big Marco River to the end of Goodland Key. There were a few sailboats taking advantage of the good holding on the sandy bottom which were anchored long term in the widening before Goodland Key. We luxuriated with cold beer and an enjoyable seafood meal of bay scallops, whitefish in a wine sauce, and conch fritters in a local shoreside restaurant overlooking several boats (including our own bimini-topped runabout) on a small island the far side of Marco. A small sailing trimarin with the collapsible outriders which we had seen earlier tacking doggedly up the channel was also on one of the finger docks, its side pontoons neatly folded alongside the main hull. We complimented the crew for their determination to sail up the channel, tacking back and forth into the light breeze as we motored past them an hour earlier. Pelicans bedecked the old wooden docks and ancient pilons of the fishing boats which shared this small bay with a couple of restaurants, a few private homes and a lazy dusty sun dried boat yard.