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Frittering Away The Cold

Travelogue - February 22, 2009

Bimini Basin

OK. The last travelogue left us anchored in Bimini Basin to wait out this cold front. Boy it WAS cold - 48 degrees inside one morning. But we did get a lot of work done! We made a couple trips over to Consolidated Blueprint for some test plots and several trips to the Post Office to try, against all odds, to pick up a package containing our forwarded mail.

Sea Gator at Bimini Basin We hooked up with Rose Ann and Paul of the sailing vessel Sea Isle. We had enjoyed meeting them at the Cape Coral Sailing Club's get-together at Franklin Lock, so it was fun to negotiate a rendezvous at their home base. They spend their winters at a condo on a side canal which we had passed while motoring in here to the anchorage. On Thursday we all met at Paesano's Italian Deli for lunch and comraderie.

A few days later, Rose Ann phoned offering to pick up our recycling and send it out with her condo recycling. WOW, how thoughtful! Rose Ann practices a quiet "pass kindness along" philosophy of world peace. Thanks, Rose Ann and Paul!

Now let me tell you about Paesano's. The restaurant is very good but it's only open for a few hours a day, and it's almost an afterthought to the Market. Which is very large and well-stocked, featuring all sorts of imported Italian foods and products, deli items, fresh breads and bags of fresh risen dough. The place was packed with customers throughout the time we were dining and then grocery shopping. Rick selected some lovely olive oil and a fresh foccacia, and stocked up on capers and other staples. It was fun.

Pink house The next morning we dinghied again to shore and, following Rose Ann's suggestion, went to the nearby Annie's for breakfast. It was good food, and the wait staff were all mature and had gruff smokey voices and called everybody "hon." I like those places better than any fancy trendy coffee bar.

On Saturday we rode our folding bikes on busy Del Prado - there was a narrow sidewalk all the way, and the four folks we saw waiting for busses all said "hi". We navigated to the nearest Staples where we replenished our printer ink and lined-legal pad supply and then we took the sidestreets back and that was much more pleasant. It was a nice ride to stretch our legs after being boat-bound for so long. We clocked 12 miles - just a few miles short of the Jenny Lake spring ride loop, only with no topography, no headwind, and quite different scenery.

We witnessed no travesties of nature because there was no, well, nature. Instead here for your edification is a house that makes a bold statement. That paint is almost the same color as my I-fell-overboard-please-find-me-in-the-fog shirt. And they installed driveway pavers to match!

Don indulges A real treat: Pam and Don of Gallivant came down from Ft. Myers to meet us and they introduced us to Leaping Lizards. Good food, good company, yay!

Right, Don sets the pace. I'll say no more about the subject of this photo as my new policy of full disclosure conflicts with the universal girlfriend law "What happens at the dessert trough stays at the dessert trough." If you know me and Pam, and you know that that dessert was a chocolate brownie sundae, then you can draw your own conclusions.

Overall it was a calm stay although we did toy with disaster: Leaving the boat one evening, my foot slipped off the top rung of the aft ladder. I whipped around the handrail like a pole dancer on speed and landed with both feet on the swim platform. My heart hammered. Rick looked up with a blank expression and said, "What?" He had missed the whole stunt. I did not repeat it for him.

On our last morning we returned to Origins Coffee Roastery for breakfast (where the owner calls all her patrons "kiddo" and remembered our names), made a quick stop at Publix for groceries and CVS for meds, then came home. We had been keeping a close eye on the tides, given our concern for water depth coming in, and high tide was anticipated by midafternoon. We weighed anchor at 2:00 pm and headed downriver.

Glover Bight and Ft. Myers Beach

We angled in to Glover Bight for a quiet day or two. There was a full moon when we were there - it was breathtaking.

During the day we Worked while listening to a construction elevator go up and down, up and down, BEEP BEEP BEEP on the adjacent brand new high rise condo. They have made a lot of progress since last year.

As the next storm front approached we weighed anchor and moved down to the moorings at Ft. Myers Beach.

Big M clears the point We approached the narrow channel into the Harbor, just as the huge casino boat Big M radio'd a securité to warn mariners of their departure. We turned around and went back out into the Bay and waited until the Big M cleared out. Those little blips on the beach are people. There was no room for anyone other than Big M to squeeze around that point!

Interesting aside: Last week, we listened on channel 16 as Big M ran aground at the point. Ouch!

Goldie peeps in the galley portlight So we made our approach again, just as a sailboat drifted into view. He radio'd us as well, informing us that he was under sail. Which means that he has limited maneuverability and also has the right of way. We turned around again and moseyed out of the way. We waited for him to tack, which he did, then he radio'd his intention to pass us to starboard. Very good. Third time's the charm and we made it all the way in to the harbor this time. We tied to our mooring with no problems.

We Worked, we huddled from the cold, we dinghied in for water and hot showers. Finally, Goldie was able to go outside and she strolled the deck and found that she could poke her head in the galley portlight. Hi Goldie!

Warning sign One day we rode the Trolley up to the nearest Tax office to pay our annual tithing for Sea Gator and Bump Head, and we walked back. We stopped for happy hour at Tim's Place at the Channel Mark on San Carlos Island and found it to be fun place. Although Tim must be pretty stern. In several places on the menu he admonishes guests to be grateful for his largesse or else he'll withdraw the birthday special. We'll return some day for their Sunday brunch and we'll watch our attitude.

Rick snapped this photo, right, of a highway warning sign. I think it says CAUTION SOFT SHOULDER.

I spent an hour with a group of lovely women discussion common problems and common solutions, and then went to lunch for an after-meeting. It was great.

We met some nice sailboaters in the laundry room and learned that maybe cruising through Miami isn't such an awful thing to dread after all. They told us about numerous places to anchor and dinghy, which is already beyond my expectations. So we will set our sights on the east coast for next year.

Shrimp fleet We took this photo of the shrimp fleet from atop the bridge. Pretty neat. We were happy to see some of them going out now that they can afford fuel. All the ships are rafted together, and we are told that they empty their holds via a huge vacuum pipe!

I took lots and lots of photos of construction details: some failed silt-control measures, and elsewhere (at the new Snook Bight Marina) some really fine bioswales and silt control techniques. Those photos available upon request.

View over San Carlos Bay We actually took a day off to go to the beach! While we were there, with our faces in books and hidden by hats, Little Mick motored right past us and around the spit and into the moorings! She was there safe and sound when we came home that evening. So we were fortunate to spend some quality time with Gary and Mickey!

Together we discovered a replacement for the long-gone and greatly missed Dockside Pizza: The Tropic (something or other) near the post office. They have half-price pizza night on Mondays, and it was very good pizza.

Later, after Gary and Mickey had departed upriver, Rick and I tried breakfast on the 6th floor of the Lani Kai Hotel. The best thing about it was the view: Here is San Carlos Bay out there, with the beaches below and workers setting up lounge chairs for the day. It was a beautiful day.

Breakfast of champions From breakfast we walked the beach until we could cut through to Publix for groceries. I took this photo and have since been contemplating the marketing intention behind placing handcuffs adjacent to Chex cereal. Then I realized it was obvious:

"You're not getting up from this table until you finish your breakfast!"

We visited the Farmer's Market on Friday morning, and we also found our new favorite breakfast place: The Gulfshore Grill. It's very nice and has a lovely view of the water from the dining room.

Times Square Finally, on our last day we walked back to Times Square. I reconnected with Natalie of Three Escargots. She is doing a lot more with silver these days and I supported her artistic endeavors by purchasing a necklace. We people watched and had a nice conversation with two midwestern ladies who also wondered why young boys wear their baggy drawers clear down to their knees. "They can't run," Rick points out. "The cops must love it." And we felt sorry for a skateboarder who fell victim to a self-inflated sheriff's civilian patrol. The boarder was just being a kid. In baggy shorts.

Anyway. It's time to head south. We realize that if we wait for it to get warm we'll never leave, so we made our plans.

Scarlet Ibis

The scarlet ibis that Gary spotted last year was on the front page of the local newspaper. The bird is an icon, a beautiful bright red among all the white or grey birds.

Scarlet Ibis Here is a photo sent to us by Gary, taken by a friend of theirs last year. That flash of red among the grey shrimp fleet and white ibis is the Scarlet Ibis! But we hadn't spotted him yet this year.

On our last evening in the harbor we had dinner outside on the deck. Just as the sun went down, here came the flocks of ibis winging over the water, right on schedule. Several large flocks fluttered past and we had almost run out of light, when one more flock swooped toward us and arced directly over our boat - and there was the scarlet ibis!

For an instant the sun flared behind him and he was radiant.

We said, it can't get any better than this. We have to leave. And we did.

Cruising Tip of the Day

Never ask an unknown stylist to give your eyebrows "just a little touch up" wax. When it was over I didn't recognize myself, but I knew I looked familiar...

Precision brows Who is it I remind me of...?

Ah, yes. I look like Cruella DeVille, only without the smokes.

Whenever I fret about hair loss of any kind Rick is johnny-on-the-spot with the reassurances: "Don't worry," he soothes, "it will reappear somewhere else."

I can't wait.

On that frightening note, please oh please, keep all four tires and four paws and two feet firmly on the ground. Thanks for listening.

Pat, Rick and Goldie

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