Friday, February 14, 2020

Trying Something Different

I have not written in this blog in a couple of weeks. That always seems to happen when we stop traveling. That is exactly what has happened. In my last entry, I left off with us at Punta Rassa Anchorage near Fort Myers Beach. We had just finished the overnight sail from the Dry Tortugas. We spent two quiet nights at Punta Rassa. We were the only boat in the anchorage. We were about 200 yards off of the ICW and the Caloosahatchee River. They are one and the same at this point. The Caloosahatchee River becomes the waterway that goes all the way to the east coast of Florida through Lake Okeechobee. We camped at a COE park along the waterway at one of the locks called Ortona last winter.

There is a significant amount of boat traffic along the ICW at this point. We did have some rocking from wakes, but a cool north wind kept that down for the most part. We did see some ocean go-fast boats come in and open it up on the second evening we were there. Those boat were doing well in excess of 100 MPH. I think there were about 10 of them. As soon as it became dark, the boat traffic dropped off to almost nothing and we had two very calm nights and caught up on some much needed sleep.
A shot of the sunset at the Punta Rassa Anchorage.
After two nights we decided to move up to move up to Chino Island, which was a trip of about 7 miles. The island is a National Wildlife Refuge and sounded nice in the reports I had in Navionics. The wind was out of the north and did not move around to the East as forecast. It was cool and windy and the island did not have a visible beach. We only stayed one night. We raised the anchor without a plan for the next night. We were now committed to motoring up the ICW to Charlotte Harbor. We raised the Genoa and got a little push from the wind to help the motor. That lasted about an hour and then the wind dropped off to nothing. The water got glassy and we just motored along. We saw a few other boats, but with this being Monday, January 27, it was a pretty quiet day on the water. 

We were passed by this tour boat called the Lady Chadwick. Funny to see that name here in Florida. 
As we cruised along, we discussed our options. We wanted to visit Punta Gorda, which is at the other end of Charlotte Harbor. A friend visited there recently and raved about Fishermen's Village Marina. I called there to discuss our options. Their nightly transient rate is about $100 for our boat, but the monthly rate was about $800. We were seeing cool temps in the long range forecast and decided that we wanted to stay further south for a bit longer, so we decided to stay a month in Punta Gorda. I am not sure if we will stay the entire month, we will start looking for good weather windows around the 20th of February and find a good time to move up to the Tampa Bay area. We will stage from there to make the crossing to the Florida Panhandle. 

We made it to the marina at about 4 PM after motoring through a glassy Charlotte Harbor. We saw hundreds of Dolphins as we cruised along. It was a very pleasant day. We had dock hands waiting for us when we arrived at our slip at Fishermen's Village Yacht Basin. We pulled in and got hooked up to power for the first time since November 1. It is amazing how quickly you get used to having all the power you want. 

Something happened that at this point that kind of surprised me. We had been on the boat for all but 4 hours in the previous 11 days. You would think that as soon as we could, we would leave the boat and go ashore, but we didn't. We just settled down to living like any other day. It was only just before sunset that I took a walk to check out the shore facilities. 

SHIFT in her slip at Fishermen's Village
Our view along the long C dock at Fishermen's Village.
It did not take us long to figure out that this is a very social place. We met all of the neighbors and were invited to join them for the many social activities in the marina. Kim  has now learned to play Mah Jongg and plays every Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon. She also does Water Areobics each morning in the nice heated pool. There is a social gathering each evening at the end of the dock called "Dock Tales" where tales are told and adult beverages flow. 

A shot of sunset out at the end of the dock. 
I am writing this entry on Valentine's day, February 14. We have been hanging out here in Punta Gorda for the past three weeks. We have had a great time. In my next entry, I will give you a tour of the many activities that are available without the use of a car, in the Punta Gorda area. 


  1. Enjoyed reading your blog, seeing more beautiful sunsets and knowing you two are enjoying your new lifestyle.
    Dick & Cathy

    1. Thanks for reading Dick and Cathy. We love following your adventures as well. I hope you are having a good time in Texas.