Friday, January 5, 2018

Back in the Land of Internet - catching up!

December 28, 2017

After a few relaxing days at Hog Island, we were ready for some socializing and headed over to Fisherman’s Village where we met up with some friends from “C” dock at Regatta Pointe.  Fun to get caught up on people that we tangentally keep up with on Facebook or through other people”s blogs.  Lunch with Sher and Steven with a stop-by from Robert and Joni filled our knowledge gap.  

Sher, Steven, Joni, Robert (former "C" dockers)
Sher and Steven took us to Publix for the a resupply of milk and sent us back to the boat with homemade Christmas cookies. I predicted they would not last until Christmas and they didn’t but they were a wonderful treat!

Off to Cabbage Key the next day for frozen key lime pie and then onto Ft. Myers to take a few days to write Christmas letters and treat ourselves to a few restaurant meals, laundry facilities and showers!

Matanza Bay Bar and Grill
Our sailing plans such as they were, had us making an overnight stop at Marco Island before heading to Camp Lulu in the 10,000 islands of the Everglades for Christmas.  After a false start trying to enter on the wrong side of Factory Bay at Marco, a good Samaritan sailor who saw we were headed for grounding trouble contacted us on the VHF radio, and talked us in to a spot where we successfully anchored – on the second try.

The next day, December 24 we planned to travel to Camp Lulu where we would spend Christmas Eve and and Christmas Day.  Wrong.  We were on our way out the Marco Island channel when Jim popped up from down below to tell me to turn around and go back.  There was water in the engine room which was coming from a leaking stuffing box - the last line of defense to keep water from entering the boat from around the propeller shaft.  We found an easy anchoring spot outside Factory Bay and Jim worked on a repair.  We headed out again, but the leak persisted and we returned to the same anchor spot knowing we would have to spend the night. I was disappointed, but at least there was no time pressure on Jim and after some strategizing, he was able to fix it permanently. In the meantime, he remarked that the good news was we had confirmation that our bilge pumps worked well and could handle the incoming water!

After our traditional caramel yeast rolls the next morning, we headed out to Camp Lulu and arrived in time for a beautiful Christmas sunset.

Sunset at Camp Lulu
This was not the isolated island that we had anticipated and after several days of being inundated by fishing boats and campers who arrived via kayak, we went to Russell Key, a delightful bay, further south and east into the Everglades. Not another soul in sight and it was a beautiful spot to stay, do some dinghy exploring and get a few boat projects done.

Our private anchorage at Russell Key - Well, Why Not? in the background

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