We are sharing our journal from our time in Key West as the Covid-19 pandemic…
While exploring the Gulf Coast in the winter of 2017 and after a terrific two week stay at Burnt Store Marina it was time to again point OLOH south and continue our adventure. We were joined on this leg of our journey by our dear friends on Out Of Africa who are based out of Sarasota and know these waters well. They suggested that we try the marina at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort and Spa on Captiva. ‘Tween Waters is just south of South Seas resort where we had been just a few weeks prior and while very different than South Seas, the place looked fantastic to us and our friends have enjoyed several stays there. As it’s a small marina (just 22 slips) we were thrilled when the very friendly gentleman who answered the phone enthusiastically told us that they had room for both boats. Score!
From Punta Gorda it was an easy 26 nautical miles to the skinny but manageable entrance channel to ‘Tween Waters. Out Of Africa had joined us in Punta Gorda the night before and as they travel faster than we do, they left about an hour after us which timed out perfectly for us to rendezvous at the entrance channel where we were able to follow them in.
As we got close to the marina we knew we had a narrow channel and some skinny water to navigate (skinny water means there is not a lot of water depth below the boat). Fortunately, these waters have sandy bottoms which are forgiving if you bump them at a slow pace – but no one wants that to happen! Shoaling waters are like pelicans around this area – they are everywhere so a slow go is best practice. OLOH has a five foot draft (meaning we need a bit more than that under the boat to stay afloat) and we didn’t have any issues getting in.
Upon hailing the marina we had our first experience of witnessing marina manager Harry Cullen in action. His welcoming voice gave us our docking assignment and precise instructions on what lines he would like at the ready to tie us up. Harry originally comes by way of Wappingers Falls, NY and was pleased to know we were from New York’s Hudson Valley as well. Although it was our first time here he greeted us like old friends which is something we have found to be a defining characteristic of the best marinas we have stayed at. After thirteen years at ‘Tween Waters it is clear that Harry loves his job as much as ever and he is inevitably a big part of why so many boaters return to this special place. Please be sure to watch our interview with Harry at the bottom of this post.
The beauty of ‘Tween Waters is in its old-Florida simplicity and charm. It is un-fancy in the best possible way and the scenery is hard to beat. Probably the nicest view we’ve had out of our salon since acquiring OLOH. The beautiful Gulf beach is a three-minute walk from the boat, the two pools are terrific and there are two restaurants on site that always seem to have a good crowd. We’ve been eating mostly onboard but did have dinner on our arrival night at the Crow’s Nest Bar and Grille and enjoyed some fun entertainment from Gatlin.
One of the highlights of our stay was being able to take our dinghies to the Gulf side of North Captiva Island which is accessible only by boat. We anchored the dinghies just off the beach and spent two terrific days playing in the sand with Jasper getting the most exercise he’s gotten in months, running around off-leash and reveling in beach frisbee and a bit of splashing around.
We certainly would have been content to have simply just sat around on OLOH, taking in the spectacular view but we there was so much to see. We also spent some time gunkholing (taking the dinghy into shallow or shoaling water and meandering from spot to spot).
We’ve stayed in a lot of places and have been to a lot of marinas, but the setting here makes it one of our favorite stops ever. And the vibe that permeates at ‘Tween certainly calls out to likeminded people. We met some very friendly boaters on the docks, coming and going during our stay, and had the great privilege of connecting with the crew from Miss Norma, a beautiful, new Ranger Tug currently in the midst of traveling America’s Great Loop. Every now and then along this journey, you are fortunate to meet people with whom you get the feeling that it’s the start of a great friendship. This was one of those times. Prior to getting Miss Norma last September – their first boat(!) – they were on quite a journey of their own that has inspired countless people around the world. You may already know their story – and it is definitely worth learning about. Click here to be taken to their Facebook page or just do a web search for “Miss Norma.” Inspiration guaranteed.
After extending our ‘Tween Waters stay by two days it was time to get underway. But we know with absolute certainty that we will be back!
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