Boathooked.com Logo

Notes to Cruisers

It is really fun to explore and discover shops and restaurants on your own; but if you're short of time this might help. This page merely recounts our activities. It is not intended as an aid to navigation nor a substitute for one's own imagination, judgment or experience; no claim is made to its accuracy, practicality, safety, legality, or soundness of mind. We make no recommendations, offer no suggestions. These are merely our personal opinions and experiences. Proceed at your own risk.

Ft. Myers Beach - January, 2007

City Mooring Field
Security
Transportation
Groceries
Laundry
Water
Dining & Entertainment
Post Office
Miscellaneous

City Mooring Field

Matanzas Inn (239-463-9258) is the new harbor master for Ft. Myers Beach city's mooring field. They said they don't really listen to VHF 16; they suggest cruisers contact them by phone.

During our stay, many of the buoys were in disrepair. Passersby helped us run our line through the chafing loop, then Rick went out in our dinghy and retrieved the tether and we put that over our bit, too. We learned that the Town will outfit its own mooring repair boat this off-season, so things should be looking up.

Dinghy dockage is adjacent to the Matanzas Inn, under the Matanzas Pass bridge, on the Estero Island side. It is inadequate for so many boats, but hopefully that problem will be recitifed soon.

It's been a great place to stay, and we'll be back.

Security

During our first day here a gentleman warned us that his boat was robbed one night; he thinks it was because he was not sleeping aboard. We lock up, and we cable the dinghy at night. No problems.

WARNING! One fellow cruiser was run down by a motorcycle while strolling through town. I saw him with his separated shoulder wrapped and bandaged and his hand strapped to his ribs. He was at the ice machine stocking up for his afternoon of pain and swelling.

I met another woman who'd just been hit on her bike and spent four days in the hospital with fractured shoulder blade and internal injuries. Last week a drunk driver mowed down and killed two small children, a brother and sister both under the age of four. That's a lot of carnage for a small town in just a few days.

Even the sidewalks are not safe, crowded as they are with kids, seniors, cyclists, partiers, and everyone else trying to avoid the crazy car traffic. It is very congested, and not a place for a daydreaming stroll. We confined our lollygagging to the beach.

Transportation

Island trolley and Lee County bus maps and schedules: www.rideleetran.com

The "Ft. Myers Beach" trolley follows Estero Blvd. up and down the entire length of the island; we haven't yet tried the connection to Bonita Beach. We did ride it as far as the CVS drug store near the south end of the island.

The "Park and Ride" trolley follows San Carlos Blvd. over the San Carlos Island to Summerlin Square, where there is a Winn Dixie and a West Marine. From there we walked a mile further on San Carlos Blvd. to an excellent ACE Hardware.

From Summerlin Square, connecting LeeTran busses go to K-Mart, Home Depot, SWFL International Airport, Bell Tower Mall, Health Park Hospital, Edison Mall, and downtown Ft. Myers.

Groceries

We bought produce and bread at a fun Farmers Market, held under the bridge every Friday morning.

Topps is a block south of the Post Office. Publix is a mile or two south of that.

We walked behind the Publix and found the Snook Bight Marina (phone 239-765-4371). We spoke with Jonathan Blake, dockmaster, and with Lynn Gregory, customer service rep. We asked permission to tie Bump Head to their dinghy dock while doing our grocery shopping. Jonathan was extremely helpful and friendly, thanked us repeatedly for asking in advance and generously granted our request. He only asked that we return to Publix any shopping carts we brought to the Marina.

It was about a 20 minute dinghy ride south from the mooring field, all through a no-wake zone. The Publix is on the main Estero Island, so we followed the main channel paralleling the island. Soon we saw a cluster of very tall (15 +/- story) white buildings with blue roofs; the Marina sits at their feet. At channel marker G 27 we turned in by the fuel pumps and tied to their floating dinghy dock at the end of the fairway.

This was fun and a real time saver when traffic (including Trolleys) is at a standstill on the road; otherwise it is probably a wash.

Laundry

The Inn has two nice washers and dryers, and you can dally at the poolside while waiting. But when the line was too long, I walked over to The Lighthouse, a nearby hotel/resort. At the desk they granted me permission to use their machines. Same $$, not as nice, but no waiting.

Fetching Water

Our first morning here, bright and early, we raised and secured Bump Head, then cast off from our buoy and headed toward the Inn's canal to fetch water. The slips (where we could supposedly get water) were still fully occupied, so we idled up the adjacent channel and "rafted" to the Town's small pumpout boat. We attached our own hose to the Inn's hose bib, and began to fill 'er up. Afterward we returned to our buoy and repeated our tie up.

Enough. We went to the ACE Hardware and bought two 7-gallon plastic jerry cans. We have joined the ranks of the sailboaters who ferry water in their dinghies. It can be done; we're doing it. We are appreciating every drop of water we have and we feel as though we have more control over our water situation.

Dining and Entertainment

Fun restaurants include a neighborhood favorite: Reese's, next to the Post Office. It has a pond in front with big statues of an alligator and, inexplicably, a hippo, elephants and a giraffe. Go figure. But is has good breakfasts and simple lunch until 1:00, no dinner. Indoor and outdoor seating.

Curves is in the same plaza if you ate too much.

We also enjoyed walking over the bridge and several blocks further on the San Carlos Blvd. There we enjoyed Maine's Best Seafood for breakfast (2 for 1 if you use a coupon on the tourist maps). On a cold day we walked a couple doors further for coffee and pastries at Cafe Renaissance Bistro.

Many fine restaurants on the beach include happy hour (3:00 to 6:00) $1 drinks at The Barking Shark, pizza at the Dockside Pub & Grill, appetizers at the Matanzas Inn upstairs deck. The Times Square eateries that we tried include Bayfront Pierview, a Greek place, good burgers at tables under umbrellas outside all up and down the block.

The Mound House - historic site on Estero Island. You can dinghy and tie up to their dock; it's about halfway between the mooring field and the Publix; it's a large white house on the only hill on the island.

Bowditch Point County Park is at the north end of the island. It's a nice change of pace with some trails, boardwalks and a quiet beach.

Matanzas Pass Reserve has a series of hiking trails through different plant communities, a shaded seating area overlooking the channel, and a kayak launch. It was quiet and peaceful on a hectic hot day.

Post Office

Just behind Reese's. The giraffe is a landmark. We received our mail "c/o General Delivery, Ft. Myers Beach, FL 33931". Their number is 239-463-7210.

Miscellaneous

Rick got his hair cut at the barber a few doors down from Reese's. I got my hair cut by Shelley at Armando's Day Spa (239)463-1200 and I'm happy.

Many services available at shops across the bridge; Rick got some spare parts for the Westerbeke generator at Gulf Coast Marine Electric.

Back to top

Ship's Manifest