Yesterday was seven months into our adventure. When I reflect on the whole experience up to now, it's hard to believe all the things we've done and places we've visited, and there are so many more places to see. They will most likely consist of views of land and water.
I was also reflecting on our interview with the writer from Heartland Boating that we did last Friday. One thing I wanted to convey, and I'm not sure I did, was that after a length of time, after the initial shock, or novelty, wears off, the experience of living on the boat boils down to just living, period. So, if you cannot find some way to be happy with whatever you are doing in your current lifestyle, or mate, it is doubtful that living on a boat is going to improve matters. The fact is that personalities won't change with the scenery, (you hope not anyway) and problems and challenges still occur, maybe even ones more challenging than you are accustomed to. We definitely are still enjoying this, but I do tend to "climb fences that haven't been built yet", it's inherent genetically. I am constantly reminding myself to resist any urges to worry about the future, just make a rough plan and see what pans out.
We left Marco Island in mid afternoon last Friday. It wasn't high tide yet, but it was rising and I decided to make a go of it and just stop and wait for higher water if we encountered water that was too shallow. Before leaving the area, and while waiting for the water to come up, we cruised through the Marco Island Yacht Club. There are slips to sublease in there and I wanted to check the place out. We were about to turn around, having seen enough of the very nice facility, when we got hailed over the VHF radio. "Will the vessel cruising through MY harbor, please acknowledge?", came the voice of the harbormaster. We established contact on their working channel, and I was asked if he could "help us". I told him that I was considering getting a slip there at his marina and we wanted to make sure it was "up to our standards". Take that you stuffy creep! His tone changed and we were invited to tie up and take a closer look. We declined, saying that we had seen enough. Don't call us, we'll call you.
It's a tricky five mile run to Goodland, and we needed every bit of the tide we did have to make it through, having slipped over 3.5 depths more than once. I found the transit over to Goodland to be just a bit nerve wracking, not knowing if we would run out of the wet stuff. We came within sight of the town and after one more skinny section, we could sigh a breath of relief.
We circled the entire small town in the boat before deciding on an anchorage just east of the town next to Coon Key. We have a sailboat for a neighbor, as you can see in the photo, but no one is home there. We are just outside of a "no wake" channel, so passing boats don't affect our peace and quiet. Just west of us is a nature preserve, so there is nothing but mangroves, and lots of nesting birds. Many dolphins are at play here and they seem to like dusk and dawn best for their antics.
On Saturday morning we took the dinghy out to explore the town. We first cruised over to the city park and boat ramp where a flea market was taking place. A big sign is posted with pictures that supposedly prohibit swimming, drinking, dumping trash, running naked, or otherwise having any fun at all. What do they do at parks in Florida?
I don't like flea markets, and normally don't go to them. We don't have room on the boat for junk, nor do we want any, but it was something to do. For about one minute, it turned out. It took longer to get the dinghy tied, and Holly gathered up, than it took to tour the two outside aisles of do dads and trinkets being offered for our perusal.
We got right back in the dink and toured the few canals in the area. This town is a direct opposite from what we've found in Marco Island and Naples. There are a few nicer homes, but for the most part, there is a lot of run down trailers on stilts to be found. However, people have been giving us friendly waves as we motor past their homes. Does a wave always consist of all one's fingers?
We planned on lunching at the Marco Island Lodge, an establishment in Goodland that's been here since 1869. First, we cruised past Stan's and The Little Bar to see what there was to see and we did settle on the lodge for some chicken wings and a couple of icey cold Bud Lights. Can't go wrong much with that combination. I think a couple of the waitresses may have been employed since 1869 though.
A few people stopped by our table to remark on "how cute your doggy is", until Holly would tear them a new pie hole with her barking and growling. She doesn't do this with everyone. We like to think she is a good judge of character, but we think she is making us miss out on some otherwise interesting folks. Maybe she will grow out of it.
After lunch it was back to the boat and a nice nap. Rosie took a picture of me napping with Holly. I am not printing it. My hair is messed up. OK, I'll print it.
After our nap, we did some minor cosmetic chores to the boat and then we took another dinghy ride close to sunset. It had been overcast and the sun setting beneath the clouds was very pretty. I was going to take pictures of this and post them, but my hair was messed up.
Earlier in the day, I decided to order some pencil zincs for the Cats as we will be needing them soon. West Marine doesn't carry the size we need, so I searched Boatzincs.com, a place where I ordered from in the past. The prices at Boatzincs were very good, with free shipping on orders over $100. No problem. I'm ordering enough zincs to cover the next two change outs.
My problem was finding a place to have them shipped to. We know we will be traveling through Marathon, so having them shipped there seemed naturally the thing to do. I called a UPS store there and was told that they would only hold a package for two days. Two days! I wanted a longer window, as we don't know exactly when we will arrive in Marathon, or how long it will take for the zincs to ship. I put out a request on the AGLCA site and got a phone call from some Loopers staying on their boat in Marathon until February. They told us they would be happy to get our package for us. That ought to do it. I'll call and order the zincs tomorrow and if the weather holds out, we should arrive about the same time in Marathon that the zincs do, unless we run into foul weather on the way. That is the fly in the ointment.
We seem to be on schedule to make Key West by New Years, a loose knit plan of ours. We don't have any special plans for Christmas. We'll only be celebrating the arrival of Holly on that day last year. That's as special as it needs to be for us.
I wanted to head south today, as the weather in the Gulf will be quiet, but Rosie wants to visit Stan's here in Goodland because "Carl said it was the best place to go". As it turns out, we have a great deal of fog here this morning as you can see in this next picture.
We also know that our friend Carl is not to be disputed when it comes to fun places to go. He may be an expert. So, later this afternoon we'll go to Stan's for happy hour and a little sumpin' to eat. Stan's is dog friendly, so we shouldn't make too many enemies over there. Anyone who has been to Stan's should note that Stan passed away this year, in February, I think. I was told that they paraded his body around the bar for his wake on a Sunday afternoon, keeping up some sort of tradition. I hope they didn't have him dressed in an ascot.