Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #26 Baby, It's Cold Outside!

We’ve been in Ft. Myers Beach anchorage for about a week now. It’s very protected from wind and seas, and it’s also very convenient to the white-sand beach. We’ve been out to the beach a couple of times, but only for brief visits. Ever since we got here the weather has been sunny but cold—by Florida standards, anyway. Today we had plans to spend some time sunning on the beach, because it has finally warmed up some. But the front that was first predicted to come by tomorrow but not drop the temperatures isn’t cooperating. Today the skies are cloudy and the breezes are again too cool for beach weather. And now the prediction is for more overnight lows in the 40’s. Well, enough complaining about the weather. We know from watching the news that our northern friends shoveling snow will have no sympathy!

We met up with our friend Jean last Tuesday, and had a delightful visit with her. She generously brought us a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables that we have thoroughly enjoyed eating. And she drove us around town to get somewhat familiar with the area. Fortunately, we didn’t need Jean’s offer of help getting groceries, since there is a grocery store available by dinghy. Mostly we just enjoyed chatting and catching up with each other.

Another neat thing about this anchorage is the trolley system that runs up and down the beach. You can ride for miles for $.25. And the trolley that goes back across the bridge to a shopping center with grocery and marine store is free. Driving across the bridge from the mainland to Estero Island where the beach is makes no sense. The cars on the beach road are usually bumper to bumper. So the city provides the trolley to encourage people to leave their cars on the mainland to cut down on the traffic problem. By the look of the line of cars, though, not enough people are willing to give up their own vehicles for public transportation.

Speaking of public transportation, Ft. Myers does have a bus system, but it’s far inferior to St. Pete’s. We looked into going to a UCC church by bus, but gave up because of the poor service and time it would take to get there. So yesterday we went to a Presbyterian church on the beach road. It was nice to go to church and much about the service was meaningful, but it was too…well, Presbyterian. Given few other alternatives, however, we may go back.

We expect to be in Ft. Myers for several more weeks. Several projects will keep us busy. We’re now running our water-maker again, but Jim has had to chase down several leaks in the system. And the dinghy needs repairing. And the solar panels and wind generator still aren’t connected. So stay tuned.

Welcome visitor at Ft. Myers Beach anchorage

Today we had planned to do laundry, but God had other plans. Another front came through, so we had rain and overcast skies all day. So instead, after the rain we spent a couple of hours securing the anchor chain to the dinghy, moving the boat to a pump-out dock, pumping out the two holding tanks (for the heads), returning to the dinghy, picking the anchor chain back up, and securing the boat once more to the anchor chain. At least the day wasn’t totally wasted.

This morning we awoke to find another boat close enough to us to raft up. The couple on board had anchored last night after dark, and they didn’t realize how close to us they would end up. They anchored on two anchors, and didn’t see that we’re on just one. They moved as soon as they could get their engine started—which took a while! Now they’re far enough away to spit at! The couple seems very nice, but the boat is, well… You’d really have to see it to believe it, folks. It looks like the kind of boat that gives live-aboards a bad rep. The striped canvas that matches the jerry can covers (but, thankfully, not the sail covers) looks like it was rescued from an old-fashioned house awning. The stainless arch supporting the traveler(?) surely has never seen any polish. The sail bags, milk crates, bikes, tires, and life raft on the foredeck must make sailing a real adventure. And the cockpit is so full of stuff the folks must have to stay below all the time. And if below looks like the topsides, aaargh!! The waterline looks to be about 6” higher than when the boat was built. Unfortunately, with the present wind direction this boat is our view from our cockpit. Let’s hope they’re just passing through. Seriously, when boats like this show up, who can blame the shore-side land owners who complain about boaters in general being in their backyards? Maybe these folks don’t have much money to put into their boat, but it appears that they don’t have much pride, either. It behooves us all to keep our boats looking like something other than a junk yard, since most of us wouldn’t want to live next door to one on land, much less on the water.

The worst thing about going to a laundromat isn’t the questionable reliability of the washers and dryers that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. It isn’t the amount of time and money required (4 hours and $12). It isn’t even having to take 4 laundry bags on the bus because we don’t have a car. It’s the AWFUL TV programs that are on for the “entertainment” of the customers. Let me just say that if I never again hear Maury Povich say “So-and-so, you are the father of blankety-blank,” it will be TOO soon! Does anybody really watch that stuff? Willingly?? Today’s laundry duty was too much like being back at work! But everything is now clean, so we won’t have to be subjected to such torture again for a few weeks.

The dinghy needs some work, but the weather forecast suggested that today was going to be too cool for the job. So instead, after getting some consultation on fixing the dinghy’s water leak, we took the bus to Ft. Myers. The anchorage we’re in is off Ft. Myers Beach, and downtown Ft. Myers is about 10-12 miles away. The bus takes 3 changes and over an hour to get there. Going today wasn’t the best choice. The weather wasn’t as cool as predicted, and we arrived too late to do much in Ft. Myers. By the time we returned the bus schedule had been reduced and we had to wait longer for connections. But we did manage to pick up some info from the Chamber of Commerce to help us know what we’d like to see in the area.

We also stopped by a marina in Ft. Myers to attempt to locate a particular boat. We had met Clyde and Sherry of s/v Te’Jas last summer in Georgetown, Exuma, and again at the SSCA Rendezvous in Punta Gorda in October. At that time they told us they were staying in Ft. Myers for several months, so we thought we’d look them up. We found their boat, but they weren’t around, so we left a note. It would be fun to connect up with them again, so we hope to hear from them soon.

We heard from Sherry and Clyde tonight, and they’re planning to drive down (they have a car—actually two) here early next week. They planned to come down anyway to visit with Marty and Connie on s/v Bullship (no, that’s not a typo!). It just so happens that we had met Marty and Connie on the way to the bus to go to Ft. Myers! Small cruiser world!

I was always glad to see the end of January up north. The short, cold, dreary days seemed closer to being over when February arrived. This is the second northern winter that we haven’t experienced (or missed!), but everything is relative. I’m still glad to see January end, because now maybe the short, cold, dreary days here will soon be gone. No, we haven’t seen snow or sleet, and shoveling is definitely a thing of the past. But with no central heat we’re tired of feeling cold and wearing the same sweats all the time. Yes, I know, we’re spoiled. We’ve gotten used to sunshine and warm breezes, and when it’s rainy, overcast, and blustery for more than a day at a time we start grousing.

But tomorrow February arrives, and soon after the sun will return. We still have to work on fixing the water leak in the dinghy when the drizzle quits. No matter, it still beats the weather we’ve seen up north on TV. Hope all our northern friends and family are staying warm and safe. Incidentally, if anyone at MCE is interested, the school systems down here are in desperate need of teachers!

Gulf sunset

Fair (and warm) winds until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford

Posted Saturday January 31, 2004

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