What time does the Key West ferry leave Fort Myers Beach?
It was a question that was beginning to feel urgent, as the clear sunny morning, was suddenly swallowed up in fog when we passed through the Sanibel bridge on our way out in the Gulf to Marco Island. Having left before sunrise, our route was causing us to pass the Fort Myers Beach channel around 8:30am. If the ferry was exiting in the fog, would they see us? Luckily by the time we passed the channel entrance the fog was lifting. Shortly after, the ferry passed us.
Since we had been traveling for several days, we were just relaxing in the cockpit when we saw several boats heading up the river to anchor, including one substantial dinghy. Later on, the dinghy was heading back downriver on plane – and then suddenly stopped. Cathy called to see if they needed assistance. After some checks yielded no immediate solution, they slowly made their way towards Orion Jr and our assistance.
Those who've followed us for a while know that we're planning to trailer Orion Jr north in the spring. We've got the truck. Now all we need is a trailer. One reason for our mad dash to Marathon was so David could begin researching options by talking to the local trailer dealers. With this information in his back pocket, our next stop was the Miami Boat Show and the myriad vendors who make and sell trailers.
Having done the circuit on the trailers, we surveyed the rest of the show quickly. Our big purchase turned out to be a dinghy light. We took time out for a Valentine's Day lunch at The Knife back at the Bayside Marketplace venue for Strictly Sail, and then headed home. We did make one more purchase that day. Arriving at Shell Lumber 15 minutes before closing, we managed to get a teak board for the companionway to match the one we installed last year. We then learned that everyone wants to be in Miami or the Keys for the Prestident's Day weekend. Hotels were either outrageously priced or not available. So a little after midnight, we arrived back at the boat, and were glad to have a place to lay our heads.
Our time in Marathon has been a strange mixture of tasks. A little boat maintenance was needed to stop a leak in the head and to re-attach the table support in the Main Saloon. We had some computer work to do ashore. Now that we would be using the dinghy more at night, we needed a better way to have its all-around light attached to the boat. The tall pole from last year didn't survive the summer. So Dave found some PVC connectors at Home Depot and built a light holder. He attached a long 3/4” PVC pole (~5ft) to a rectangular frame that was secured to the transom. At the top of the pole he used the connectors to build an arm with a sleeve at the end. The pole light we purchased at the boat show would drop through the PVC sleeve at the top while we were underway. From discussions with the FWC, we learned that the light must be high enough not to be obscured from any angle. Also, the FWC had ticketed boats in the harbor who had their dinghies behind the boat and not lit. So this worked for an anchor light of sorts as well. We just use a solar garden light from Home Depot, but we now secure the dinghy beside the boat, so we don't have to meet the higher visibility rules for its light.
With such a busy harbor, we stopped by to see some folks we haven't seen in a while. For example, Dick and Libby on Tarwathie graciously offered to watch our boat, while we traveled to LaBelle to get the truck and to see the Miami Boat Show. Since we had to shut down the ice box, we were invited to dinner upon our return to give us a day to get it going again. That was a treat.
We're looking forward to our time here once again.