How time flies – it’s hard to believe it’s been more than a month since our last post.
During April we visited the Everglades, the west coast towns of Naples, Ft. Myers Beach, Venice and Sarasota, and returned to the east coast via the Okeechobee Waterway. Interspersed with our ‘urban’ stops were anchorages along the intra-coastal waterway, at Captiva and Cayo Costa Islands.
The weather and sea conditions were excellent for our offshore passage from Marathon to Ft. Myers Beach, a distance of about 130 miles. We made three diverse stops along this section, at Little Shark River (very remote), Everglades City (very ‘old Florida’) and Naples (very upscale).
A highlight was our stop at Little Shark River, in the heart of the Everglades, which Wikipedia describes as follows: The system begins near Orlando with the Kissimmee River, which discharges into the vast but shallow Lake Okeechobee. Water leaving the lake in the wet season forms a slow-moving river 60 miles (97 km) wide and over 100 miles (160 km) long, flowing southward across a limestone shelf to Florida Bay at the southern end of the state. The Everglades experience a wide range of weather patterns, from frequent flooding in the wet season to drought in the dry season. The popular term “River of Grass” is used to describe the sawgrass marshes, part of a complex system of interdependent ecosystems that include cypress swamps, the estuarine mangrove forests of the Ten Thousand Islands, tropical hardwood hammocks, pine rockland, and the marine environment of Florida Bay.
The other communities we visited were varied as well. For example, Fort Myers Beach has a busy harbour with a large fishing fleet, many inexpensive vacation rentals along its beach strip, and a very active outdoor party scene. In contrast, Sarasota has a much more refined atmosphere centred on the arts, including an Opera House and many art galleries. It’s also known as the winter location for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. We spent an enjoyable day touring the excellent circus museum there, as well as the grand mansion and extensive estate bequeathed to Florida by John and Mable Ringling.
Upon our arrival in Stuart we enjoyed a visit from our son and daughter-in-law. Although brief, there was enough time to make a trip up to Vero Beach for a few days, where we enjoyed the Atlantic shore and learned how to paddle board among the protected waters near the marina. Because Vero Beach had been the very first stop on our four-year cruising adventure, this return also represented a fitting place to end our travels.
We are currently awaiting word on our specific shipping date from Sevenstar Yacht Transport, the company we have engaged to transport His Idea home to B.C. This should occur within the next four weeks, and now that we have reached this stage of our journey we hope it will be sooner rather than later. If soon enough we hope to travel with His Idea aboard the freighter through the Panama Canal as far as Costa Rica, and then fly home. We think this will be a fun cruising adventure of another sort, as we have never visited Central America or the Panama Canal. It would also mean experiencing life aboard a large cargo freighter.
A final word about the weather – indeed, we had unseasonably warm temperatures during the month of April, with temperatures in the upper 80’s and 90’s, often combined with high humidity. We’re not complaining, but for us northerners Vancouver’s temperate summer climate will be a welcome change!
Here are the latest pictures and commentary. We will also have one more post, likely sometime in June, when His Idea has arrived at her new home at Point Roberts Marina.