Naples to Fort Meyers

We left Naples after a great lunch at Tin City and headed for Wiggins Pass, where we intended to spend the night. We had a nice sail up the coast and then discovered that Wiggins Pass was too shallow for us to get in. We made multiple attempts from different directions on an outgoing tide and finally gave up and moved on to Big Carlos Pass, which was about 8 miles further up the coast. We anchored just west of the bridge near a nice beach in about 10 feet of water. After a beautiful sunset and great dinner, we found several unsecured wireless routers that we could connect to and settled in to catch up on several of our favorite shows via Hulu.com.

The next morning we sailed on to Fort Meyers Beach and took a slip at Moss Marina so that we could give the boat a good washing and do our laundry. Work completed, we headed into downtown Fort Meyers Beach and found a fantastic Italian Restaurant for dinner – Terra Nostra. The food was excellent, but more importantly, the staff was friendly and the owner herself came over, introduced herself, and talked us into one of her wonderful home made desserts!

The next morning was Saturday and we were scheduled to meet up with our good friend, Sally Craig, who lives in Fort Meyers. Michelle and I had flights to catch on Sunday morning and Sally had been nice enough to help us find a place to keep the boat while we were away. Sally arrived at 11:00 AM and we set off for Deep Lagoon, which is located up the river. The chart showed a draw bridge at the Sanabel Causeway bridge, but we quickly discovered that the draw bridge had been replaced with a fixed bridge. With no accurate chart, I called on the VHF and got the Sanabel Marina and a very helpful staffer told me that the bridge had a vertical clearance of 45 feet (we need 51 feet). We made a quick adjustment and headed around Sanibel island for Redfish pass. Once through Redfish Pass, we found another discrepancy in the chart — the channel on the east side of Redfish Pass is misplaced on the chart. I assume both of these changes are a result of changes made after the last hurricane and not yet updated by NOAA.

Safely on the east side of Sanibel Island, we headed back up the river and arrived at our slip in time for dinner with Sally and her mother. The dinner was excellent, but the company was even better! Sally and her mom are the perfect hosts! Sally even offered to loan us her old “Beater” car, which we gratefully accepted.

After dinner, we drove back to Mrs. Craig’s condo to pick up the loaner car, which turned out to be a Mercedes Wagon! Some “beater!” Sally told us to park it at the airport so we’d have a car when we returned to the boat the following Thursday. I felt so bad about borrowing their Mercedes, that I paid the hourly rate to make sure the car had covered parking!

Sunday morning, Michelle flew back to San Antonio and I flew to Denver. I would return on Thursday with my Dad and youngest son, Sean. Michelle would meet us on Friday with our oldest son, Patrick. The next adventure will be the crossing of the Gulf, back to Texas…


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