|Spring Break and some take their small power boat to a small Key on the ICW and camp out.|
|This Captain was nice enough to slow down before passing, he was delivering a brand new Viking to it's new owner.|
|No slowing down for this guy.|
|Watch out Manatee's!|
|Then here comes his Buddy and the 3 vessels heading South down the ICW ahead will have the pleasure.|
|These Canadians were anchored just in front of us at Little Shark River.|
|Light House at the Boca Grande Channel from the Gulf to Charlotte Harbor|
|Boca Grande Channel|
|Interesting Vessel from Oriental North Carolina, singelhanded by 1 old guy, reminded me of Kevin doing this on his Cape Dorey 30|
|We waited at a distance before going ahead|
|The delivered cars have to back off.|
|The Engelwood Beach Anchorage, you can find great protection here for winds from any direction..|
Day 116/II Fort Myers Beach to Engelwood Beach Anchorage
3/23/13 Depart 0745 hrs Arrive 14:50 hrs; underway 7:05 hrs; avg speed 6.3 knots; 44.4 Nm.
One could easily stay in Ft. Myers Beach a week or longer but the Admiral would be arriving at Tampa International 3/29 so we continued our journey North but this time on the Inside starting at Mile Marker 0 on the GICW. A lot of cruisers who have a mast height under 50' can avoid the trip to the Florida Keys and enter the Okeechobee Waterway, a short cut through South Florida that puts right at Stuart Fl. on the West coast. A few with higher mast can hire a company that puts 50 gallon drums of water on the boom to heel the boat over far enough to get a higher mast through. I'm thinking that puts a lot of stress on the rigging so No Thanks! But if your mast was just a couple of feet to tall then it would probably be ok.
As we entered the San Carlos Bay it was clear we had plenty of room to sail so out went the head sail and with favorable current we were making pretty good time early on. Normally I am pretty cautious about sailing in the ICW but with Bill aboard and plenty of sea room it was easy to do.
Gene had told us about a tricky intersection just before entering Pine Island sound but there was actually a lot of space to maneuver in spite of all the Spring Break traffic coming and going. A lot of cruisers going both directions were on the move and it is always interesting to meet them on the way. The seas were 1 to 3 especially when crossing near an inlet like at Charlotte Harbor going into Gasparilla Sound. We had already cleared the Ft. Myers Beach 65' bridge and the 70' Sanibel Bridge. Our only other navigational barriers were the Boca Grande Swing Bridge and a ferry crossing up ahead. We did not have to wait long for the Swing Bridge and as we went through so did several other power vessels. We crossed Placida Harbor and just before entering Lemon Bay we came up on the funky little Ferry Barges being pushed by small tow boats. Haaa!...The whole distance across the ICW here could not have even been 150 yards. these two small ferries pushed back from the bank at the same exact time taking up the whole channel, they then did a 180 turn and in two more minutes they were on the other side preparing to unload the cars who have to back off the barge to depart. We enjoyed going slow and just marveling at the incredible little ferry system and knew they were particularly busy during spring break!
Then on across Lemon Bay and lots of small keys on both sides. We were almost at our destination. Bill could see a long shoal that ran along the edge of the ICW on the port side and wondered if I might have made a mistake thinking we could get across it. No worry I told him, it is clearly outlined in Skipper Bob's, but he was not so sure so he radioed the Bridge tender at the Tom Adams Key Bridge that was just after our planned turn off the ICW. She assured him that a lot of boats make the turn and have enough water to head West. I was not concerned as Skipper Bob's guide has never been wrong and I always check Active Captain for the latest updates. Active Captain is the best resource for any cruising sailor in the US now. The South winds had piped up a bit so instead of going further in we anchored in the lee of the first large Mangrove Island just to our port side. The anchor set first time. Really good holding here. Time for some early sundowners and we just sat back and enjoyed all the Spring Breal boaters coming and going from Engelwood Beach. Again I know this could easily be a three day fun spot or longer but we did not even get the dingy down as we would depart by 0800 the next day for Long Beach.