Conditions: Mostly sunny and hot. Winds from the east 5 – 10 kts. Seas calm
Distance traveled: 53 nautical miles
Time underway: 5 hours 26 minutes
Average Speed: 10 knots
Max Speed: 16 knots
Fuel used: 92 gallons
After an amazing stay at ‘Tween Waters Marina on Captiva it was time to make some southbound progress towards Key West which we plan to make OLOH’s home for at least a month. Marco Island is a great place to stage for the 80 nautical mile Gulf crossing to Key West which, at times, puts you as much as 40 miles offshore if you take the most direct course. We have been carefully watching the weather as conditions in the Gulf can change quickly and get quite nasty depending on the weather pattern. Fortunately, all of the suffering we endured from the cold and nastiness for much of our earlier travels has been rewarded with some terrific weather and we are in the midst of a couple of high-pressure systems. That means things should remain stable and the winds are forecast to be light throughout our travel day. And if the trip from Captiva to Marco was any indication, we should have a great crossing. We could not have asked for a more perfect day with calm seas and light winds.
It was tough to leave ‘Tween Waters as it was such a perfect spot and we made some terrific new friends that we really want to have some more time with. But journeys are meant to continue.
We realize we’ve said this in many of our past posts, but marina space continues to be tight. For anyone planning a similar journey, it’s worth noting that while it’s often tough to know where you’ll land weeks or even days out, calling the marinas you think you’ll want to stay at and understanding availability can be extremely helpful. The first marina we reached out to on Marco Island lets us know that they wouldn’t have room for a boat our size until March. The second marina we called had no room either so we crossed our fingers and called Marco Island Marina. We had stayed there once before when we were delivering our last boat, Soggy Dog IV around the keys to Florida’s East Coast in 2011. It’s a very nice marina but we wanted to try something new and the other marinas are a bit closer, albeit not much, to the pass we have to go through to return to the Gulf very early on the day of our crossing to Key West. Fortunately, they had just enough space for us and couldn’t have been more accommodating. The Dockmaster, Captain Richard, met us at our slip to grab our lines with a smile and a welcome. He’s a seasoned boater who has been up and down the coast and he was more than happy to answer our questions and offer advice after hearing about our plans. He also runs a fishing charter business that will take you all around Marco and down to the Everglades! It’s called Go Fish, check it out.
Our one full day here was spent catching up on the blog, taking on fuel – a truck delivered around 500 gallons of diesel to us right at our slip. How does THAT work you might ask? Well, our dock is about 300 feet from a place where the truck could pull up. Two guys pulled a very long hose from their truck all the way to our boat and then proceeded to fill it up for us. The convenience is incredible and it’s nice having them put the fuel in instead of doing it ourselves which is the standard way of doing things if you are filling up from a marina fuel dock. The price is also typically better from a truck delivery and the fuel is inevitably fresher than what you find dockside which is very important with diesel. We spent a lot of time going through all of our safety and survival gear, doing engine and equipment checks and generally prepping the boat for our trip to Key West.
We also spent a part of the evening contemplating our journey. This next leg has a profound significance to us as for all the miles we’ve put behind us, the ones we will travel to Key West complete a part of a journey we had dreamed of many years ago. All of it brings us to a mental state where we want to do everything right, to watch the weather, to read the waters, to have a safe and efficient travel day…and to ARRIVE!
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