Thursday, November 18, 2010

November 18, Longboat Key Marina

New Chartplotter in POD on right

Note Chart on Left Plotter and Marina Aerial Picture on right Chartplotter

M/V Island Hopper returned to her home port on Saturday November 13. The Captain and crew (That would be the First Maid, I mean First Mate) have been busy all week readying her for her next voyage. The plan is to head south to Boca Grande Marina to see our friends, John and Pam Payne who have a home there.
The Captain has been busy improving the vessel's navigational system by installing a second Raymarine E120 Chartplotter. The current system was installed when the vessel was new in 2006.  Wanted to add the second system and discovereing that a new chartplotter was not available, the Captain was resourceful and found one on Craig's List in Charleston, SC. After negotiations the chartplotter safely arrived in Cincinnati. After checking it out, updated software was installed. A new POD to hold the chartplotter was purchased and all of the equipment was transported to FL with the crew.
The Captain also wanted to upgrade the system with a Sirius Satellite Weather module. With this service updated weather info is delivered to the vessel in real time, this includes radar, storm tracks, wind and wave height. This info is especially useful when the vessel is off shore out of range of WiFi or in the Bahamas and Canada which are planned destinations.
Now, the second chartplotter is a backup unit as well as providing radar, weather, aerial pictures of marinas, and Sirius weather while the main chartplotter is dedicated to the chart while underway.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November 12, 2010 Venice, FL

Love the FL Birds
Another Kilwins Ice Cream Shop
Entering Big Pass in Sarasota between Siesta Key and Lido Key
We enjoyed a morning bike ride on Captiva before readying Island Hopper for the 50 mile run to Venice. Our destination was the Venice Yacht Club.  Seas were 2-4 feet, but calmed to 1-2 feet as we approached Venice Inlet from the Gulf. Winds were still northerly as they have been all week, but only 5-10 knots. Clear sky and temps in the upper 70s by the time of our afternoon arrival. We always enjoy a visit to Venice. Nice small town atmosphere, wine store, and a gelato shop. Also we usually run into members of Venice Yacht Club who are from Cincinnati. This is our last night of our trip as we depart on Saturday morning for the short hop of 24 miles to Longboat Key Marina, our home base.

November 11, 2010 South Seas Resort

After departing Naples Sailing and Yacht Club we stopped at Naples boat Club across the river for 200 gallons of diesel fuel to feed the thirsty diesels for the trip back north to Longboat Key. Fueling takes about 30-40 minutes for docking, fueling and paperwork, after which we departed at 10:00 AM to travel back down the Gordon River, to the Gulf of Mexico. Winds were predicted to be 10-15 knots out of the north east and seas 2-3 feet, not bad but right on our "nose".  Once reaching the Gulf,  Island Hopper accelerated to 18 knots for the trip north, 50 miles to Redfish Pass. We chose a different marina on Captiva Island this time, South Seas Resort. ( ) I first stayed there in the mid 80s when I owned a sailboat, which I berthed at Ft. Myers Beach. It has changed quite a lot over the years. It was hit hard in a hurricane Charlie in 2004 and was closed for a year to rebuild.  We enjoyed the night at South Seas,  including the great beach and sunset. The marina is very large but only a few vessels were enjoying the resort amenities, as it was a Thursday night.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

November 9,10- 2010 Naples Florida

Beautiful Home in Port Royal
The Crew Awaiting Lunch Our Favorite Activity, Biking
Heading up the Gordon River to Naples
Underway in the Gulf

The crew departed Captiva Island through the same pass, Redfish, and headed south 50 miles in the Gulf through Gordon Pass, the inlet for Naples. The seas were 1 foot and winds NE 10 knots, so we navigated a following sea. We entered the pass and headed up the Gordon River about 3 miles at slow speed to the Naples Sailing and Yacht Club.( ) We enjoyed bicycling around Naples seeing the beautiful homes in Port Royal, shopping, beaches, and of course restaurants.

Tuesday November 9, 2010

After a nice visit to Venice we departed for Tween Waters Resort on Captiva Island, just north of Sanibel Island. The winds have moderated, so Island Hopper headed out Venice Inlet for her 50 mile run in the Gulf of Mexico to Redfish Pass which separates North Captiva from Captiva Island. We departed at 10:00 AM and arrived at 1:30 PM after passing slowly through Redfish Pass, as the entrance channel continually shoals creating shallow spots. The crew enjoyed bicycling on Captiva Island, a great meal at the Old Captiva House and Crab races in the bar after dinner. Our champion crab racer, Eddie, struck out however as his crab failed to muster what was necessary for a win. Tween Waters is a very nice resort. You will note in the pictures above that the resort is gearing up for the holidays.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Back in Florida!!!

We arrived in Florida last week and welcomed Nancy and Dave Blum for a few nights as they were traveling to Sarasota for a wedding. We took Island Hopper out for the first time on a day trip for lunch to Sarasota Yacht club. Beautiful day in the 80's and clear sunny sky. Everything ran well.

Cruise to Boca Grande Interrupted

We welcomed Ed and Barb Daniel as our next guests to see our place on Tidy Island and then for a boat trip on Island Hopper. Ed and I are fraternity brothers from 40 years ago. After two days of sightseeing the area we loaded up Island Hopper for a trip south. We departed early on Sunday morning so we would arrive early afternoon at Boca Grande for a long bike ride. After an hour in the voyage I heard the Coast Guard on the ship's radio announce that the Boca Grande swing bridge was not able to open. A problem for us,  as we had to pass through it to get to the marina. So, after a few calls we booked a slip at the Crow's Nest in Venice, Fl.  It was very windy (15-20) knots with gusts to 25 from the north. Luckily it was at our back and the sky was sunny.
We will leave this AM on the outsid. (in the Gulf) even though the winds are still 15-20 as the bridge will not open until Monday night at the earliest. Our stop tonight is Tween Waters Resort on Captiva Island.