Monday, December 3, 2012

Eight Days At Keewadin Island

  We spent eight days anchored off of Keewadin Island and would perhaps still be there except for the fact that we finally ran out of water, and we wanted to meet Bert and Renee from St. Louis who were coming down for a meeting for Bert's work.

  Until then, though, we spent every day doing a little of this and that on the boat, and we did spend one afternoon on the beach. We visited the "burger boat" on this day and each had a delicious hamburger with all the trimmings for not a bad price of $6. Holly pretty much ruined any chance of making new friends by barking her head off at anyone who remotely looked as though they might stop and chat. She does look cute, however, in her neckerchief.
  Mark and Terri came down in their boat from Naples on Thursday and brought much needed beer supplies. They also brought their very well behaved dog, Millie, who tried to set an example to Holly and did not utter a sound all afternoon. Holly did not take the hint, but we were able to get in some conversation between frequent comments from Holly on one thing or another.

  One strange thing we noticed was that when we would visit the swim platform at night, catfish would swarm to the surface behind the boat. We had been hearing of strange behavior from catfish in nearby areas attributed to some "red tide" along the coast, and wondered if this phenomenon was connected with that. I caught three of these catfish the next morning, but threw them back because we heard, and I read, that these fish are not all that good to eat. Just as well.

  On one of the overcast days we spent the whole day reading our Kindles, but for the most part we had good weather and realized how much money people spend to be on vacation and do just what we were doing. We consider ourselves very fortunate.
  We were going to head over to Marco Island and find an anchorage on Friday. We had called the marina where our vessel documentation certificate had been delivered and was told that it was there. We were going to leave Keewadin on Friday morning, but lots of boats were coming in for the weekend, so we decided to wait until Saturday morning to leave. Then Saturday morning came and even more boats were arriving, so we decided to wait until the end of the day to leave our attractive anchorage when the tide would be high to assist us for the approximately eight mile cruise through the mangroves to Marco. As we spent the afternoon people watching, we realized how attractive keeping our boat at a marina in Marco Island would be, at least during the hot months of summer, and then coming over to Keewadin in Swing Set, or even in the dinghy, for social activity. The area reminded us of our popular anchoring spot in Mason's Chute on the Mississippi, before the slough eventually silted in. I think the area has potential.
  Not too late on Saturday afternoon we went over to the marina that had our letter and we found that the person gave us someone else's letter, ours wasn't found. We decided to call the girl who agreed to accept our letter the next day, as she would be on duty to find out if she had put the letter away in a safe place. While Rosie was on the hunt for the letter, I filled up our water tank, so the trip was worth the trouble.
  I had in mind to anchor in Smokehouse Bay, just around the corner, so we made our way over there just before sunset. The anchorage is a quiet one near a city park, plus a Winn Dixie was nearby with a dock, so we could easily get groceries. We got the boat snuggled in and we dropped the dink and went back out to the channel to the Snook Inn for dinner.
  We got a seat at the bar and was able to meet some folks, as we left Holly in the boat and she wasn't able to object to anyone. One fellow on my left had grown up in the St. Louis area and we knew some of the same people, but no one we could call a friend, one in particular being the last CEO of the beer factory where I worked before the Belgians got hold of it.
  A local guy on Rosie's right was able to provide the best information for us in regard to our impending cruise over to Goodland. We're going to need to go at high tide as it gets a bit skinny in some areas, but once over there, he thinks we'll really like it.
  We were able to leave the place on our own volition, a nice change from the last bar visit in Naples. I only got lost twice going back to Swing Set in the dark, but I knew we would eventually find our home if we kept making left turns. The fact that we were anchored in the shadow of a relatively tall condo complex, The Esplanade, helped too.
  On Sunday morning, Rosie and I took the dinghy over and parked at a dock right behind the Winn Dixie and walked to Suzie's Diner and had a great, if not expensive, breakfast that we thoroughly enjoyed. With full bellies, we went back the way we came and stopped in at the grocery store to stock up on a few things.
  By the time we got back to the boat, put groceries away, and got our showers, Renee had called and said they were on their way. We picked them up at noon over at The Esplanade and set out for the day. We first went over to the marina to pick up our vessel documentation. The nice girl there told Rosie that she did indeed have it in her possession. Rosie jumped off of the boat and went in to retrieve the letter and left a generous tip for the girl. No telling when we might need her services again. I've intentionally left out her name, or the name to the marina, so she doesn't get in trouble for assisting someone who isn't staying there, an infraction that could spell trouble from "the board of directors". I generally take a dim view of "board of directors", just about in any capacity.

  We had a fun day with Bert and Renee. We took them over to Keewadin and rafted up with Fritz, who we had met last week, and some of his friends, four boats in all. I took the picture above, myself, as you can tell. I hate the image of me in this, but everyone else looks great. It was late late late when we returned to The Esplanade, some great harm having been done to more than one bottle of fine vodka by two persons in our party, the rest of the damage having been placed on some newly acquired Bud Light that morning at Winn Dixie.
  We stormed into the tiki hut at CJ's, the open air venue at The Esplanade and had a pretty good time. We met a woman there who we found out shared Rosie's birthday, same day and year. She worked over at the Marriott where Bert and Renee were staying and talked Rosie and Renee into scheduling a "Spa Day" for Wednesday. This is something Rosie doesn't normally do, but the price seems right and she deserves a one day vacation from me. Renee wanted me to join them, as Bert would be in meetings, but I declined, perhaps needing a similar vacation from my lovely wife, but I wouldn't admit that.
  I might spend the day tomorrow taking Holly for a walk and attempt to instill some social skills in her, or I might just chill out and read. We both know that today is going to be low key after the day such as we had yesterday.
  By the way, Rosie spied our friend from Cape Coral, Kim, the one with the derelict looking sailboat, cruising through the river channel in her dinghy, as we were returning from our outing yesterday. We would prefer that she doesn't find us in the next couple of days, or that she would somehow get wind of this blog. Don't tell her, OK?

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