Friday, February 21, 2020

Ready to Get Going

I am writing this entry on Friday, February 21, 2020. We have been sitting in Fishermen's Village Marina since January 27. We have had a very relaxing time. We have really enjoyed our time here. Kim has been swimming each weekday morning with the group of ladies that do Water Aerobics. She has also continued to play Mah Jongg on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Kim has really enjoyed meeting many new friends.

The nice heated swimming pool here at Fishermen's Village Marina
I have not been as social. I have been busy with boat projects including periodic maintenance and installing our new AIS transponder. Now we can been seen by other boats that have an AIS receiver. I feel we are now ready for our next challenge. I will give you the details of that challenge later in this entry.

Fishermen's Village Yacht Basin. Our slip is on the right hand dock, almost all the way to the end. 

This is the long dock we walk a few times each day. It is .2 miles each way to the boat. 

One aspect of the Cruising lifestyle that I was not looking forward to was the fact that we would be stuck without a vehicle. This has turned out to be a blessing, not a curse. We have really enjoyed working out how we get places by either walking or riding a bike. They have had bikes we can borrow for free at each of our last two marinas. We have done a great deal of sightseeing, shopping, going to church and even attending music festivals without a car.

We have had the opportunity to spend some time with our friends, Wayne and Michele. We are still amazed when we think about how we saw each other at the Pelican Bay anchorage back in November. I had not seen Wayne in 14 years. I have enjoyed playing some more Pickleball with Wayne's group. They are much better players and I have learned a lot. If you are reading this Wayne and Michele, I really hope our travels cross paths again. Thanks for the hospitality.

We have enjoyed our time in Punta Gorda, but just like every time we spend more than a week anywhere, we are ready to get on the move again. Our plan is to leave here on Sunday, February 23. We will not be able to depart until close to noon. We will have to wait for high tide. When we are at low tide here in the marina, our keel is sitting on the bottom. We are only planning to make about 20 miles the first day, probably going back to Pelican Bay. The next morning we should have the right wind to head north up the coast to Venice, Florida. We will anchor there for the night and then get going early the next morning and sail all the way to Bradenton. We plan to see some friends there for a day or two and then move north to Gulfport, Florida. We will closely watch the weather and if all holds, we will try to cross the Gulf of Mexico from around Tarpon Springs to Carabelle between March 1-4. We should have a buddy boat with us for that overnight sail. The weather services are calling for good conditions at that time, but who knows this far out. Then we will sail along the Florida panhandle coast to Pensacola. At that point, we will duck inland and motor on the ICW to the Gulf Shores area and meet up with family that is coming down to the area. We are hoping that the weather allows all of this to happen. 

SHIFT is champing at the bit, ready to go! You can see in this picture that our boot strap is above the water line indicating that we are sitting on the bottom. 
 I would not want to be out sailing today, we had a cold front come through this morning and after mid 80 temperatures and light winds this past week, we are down in the high 50's and a 20+ knot wind out of the north. The next few days should be a south eastern breeze with highs in the 70's. It will feel strange to live again without shore power and unlimited fresh water, we have had the air conditioner on this past week, but it should be much cooler as we head north.

My next entry will be the first part of the story of our trip north to Alabama. I have studied the weather and think we have a good weather window, I sure hope the forecast is close to accurate.

One last beautiful sunset from Punta Gorda, Florida


  1. I bet there is never a shortage of projects to be completed on board. I too would find enjoyment in working on it. Love the fact that some of the marinas provide bikes to get around.

  2. It is true with any vehicle, but a boat requires constant work because of the salt water environment and the fact that you really don't want it to break down in the middle of the ocean. The bikes have been awesome.

  3. Hi Shawn & Kim,
    I've been getting a little behind letting you know I continue to keep up with your travels. I love all the photos and reading about your adventures. Looking forward to catching up sometime in the future to hear about more in person.
    Dick & Cathy