This is what the Gulf of Mexico looked like today.  
Not good cruising weather, but great for kite surfing!
We much prefered this little colorful gem!
Back to civilization!  Some really big houses in Naples!
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Heading North from Key West
February 2010 - Page 7
We were just appreciating the beautiful weather - when this happened!  Quite unusual for Florida.  We were also right in
the middle of picking our way through the meandering Calda Channel - which the Cruising Guide says should only be
attempted in good weather by shallow-draft boats with local knowledge!
02-23-10 - 10:15 AM - Dep Key West, fair 74°
       We followed Calda Channel "short cut"
       out to Florida Bay.  Fog set in!
      11:15 AM - Made it to open water,
                     smooth seas, but thick
      3:30 PM - Arr: Little Shark River,
                        Everglades Nat'l Park, FL
             Very scenic (but buggy) anchorage
                 Today: 57.6 n mi - 5.4 eng hrs.
After two days - and three nights - in Key West,
we decided to take advantage of calm weather to
head north across Florida Bay and on up the West
Coast of Florida.
The Calda Channel cuts off about five miles when leaving Key West
headed Northeast.  But we had two strikes against us: 1) thick fog set
in, and 2) our depthsounder quit!  If you click on the on the photo of
our chartplotter above, you'll see our position - and our depthsounder
reading:  blank-dash-blank!
Most of the 4-hour trip across Florida Bay looked like
this.  Fortunately, there's little boat traffic out here.  
Unfortunately, there was a never-ending supply of crab
Navigating the Calda Channel in the fog.  Fortunately,
we had a guide-bird to point us in the right direction!
(Click on the photo to see the other markers.)
Another photo of our trusty Raymarine chartplotter (still no depth
reading, however).  This shows our track from the upper Keys, down
through Marathon, on to Bahia Honda and Key West and back to the
Florida mainland.  You can see (if you click on the photo) that  we're
headed toward "Shark River Ent"; we still have 52.19 miles to go.
Finally, the fog dissapated.  This is the kind of cruising
weather that Nancy likes!
Nancy Weather!
Sunset on the Little Shark River.  (Mouse-over for another image.)
The Little Shark River is a very peaceful and scenic spot.  
It is the only place we've been with
Sno' Dog in recent
memory with no Internet access.  (Our trusty Verizon PC
770 Broadband Card has served us well from Maine to Key
West.)  There is also no TV reception and no cell phone
service here either.
02-24-10 - 9:15 AM - Anchor up in Shark River, 72°
        11:45 AM - passing Everglades City
        12:20 PM - entering Coon Key Pass
          3:20 PM - Arr:
Naples, FL - City Dock
Filled Fuel Tanks (1st fill since Riviera Bch on 2/02)
118.4 gal - Since last fill: 317 n mi., 39.9 hrs
       (works out to: 3 gal/hr - 2.7 n mi/gal)
             Big cold front coming tonight...
02-25-10 - Stayed in Naples.  Wind: N 20-25 kts
       Not good cruising weather, esp headed N.
Click on small photos to see larger.
The view from Naples Pier on the Gulf side.
Welcome to Naples!
02-26-10 - 10:30 AM - Dep Naples
                   Wind: N 10-15 kts
          12:30 PM - Enter New Pass
            2:00 PM - Out Mantanzas Ps
            2:30 PM - Arr:
Sanibel, FL
                            Sanibel Marina
     Today: 29.8 n mi.  -  4.1 eng hrs
The wind calmed down a bit today, but it was still blowing out of the
north.  So the run outside in the Gulf was a bit bumpy, but not too bad.
Even though the
Waterway Guide says that New Pass (2 miles south of
Big Carlos Pass) is "impassable", we had no trouble coming in there and
following the inside route through Estero Bay to Ft. Myers Beach.  The
run across to Sanibel Island from Mantanzas Pass was very pleasant.  
By then, the wind had dropped below 10 kts.
The very distinctive light at the end of Sanibel Island.
Yet another sunset! This one on Sanibel Island.
Click on the photo to see 2 people below the sun.
At Sanibel Marina, we docked next to a Rosborough 246 - the
boat we used to own before our PDQ.  It looks awfully small!
02-27-10 - Stayed at Sanibel another day.
             Rode bikes to end of the island.
Not sure what a Gopher Tortoise is, but we didn't run
into any on our bikes.  (That's Nancy in yellow slicker.)
Arriving at Sanibel Island
Old versus New...
Sanibel Sunset
02-28-10 - 10:30 AM - Dep Sanibel - 56°, wind N 15-20
               12:45 PM - passing Ft Myers, Caloosahatchee R.
                 3:00 PM - Arr:
Alva, FL - Rialto Hrbr Docks
                           Today: 26.9 n mi.  -  5.7 eng hrs
.  Continue the trip: February 2010 - Page 8
.           Completing the Florida Loop