Which explains the massive lack of blog posts lately. Trying to catch up as we speak! (And, let’s not lie, it’s a little harder than I thought — with no wifi for the laptop on the boat.)
After a crazy week chock full of (what felt like) 2 million errands and prepping the boat for departure, we finally set sail this past Friday morning from Naples to Marathon, with an overnight stop in Little Shark River Anchorage. It felt SO bizarre actually leaving that morning!
The total trip was about 100 nautical miles, although we didn’t start tracking our progress on our Active Captain/Skipper app until we hit Cape Romano (right off the coast of Marco Island).
Our good friend Chris was willing to come along to lend us a helping hand, and we couldn’t have been more excited to have him aboard for our first “official” cruising voyage. Thank you Chris for all your help!!! …We figured it was probably a good idea to have an extra set of hands on deck…particularly since we have never anchored, moored, or really sailed the boat like this before.
We departed Naples around 6:40am on Friday, March 21st after waving goodbye to all our fishing boat friends at the Naples City Dock who were up just as early for another day on the water. (I wonder if they thought we’d ever really leave?)
The morning started off pretty foggy and overcast, and even a little chilly. We headed south along the coast of Naples/Marco Island and made our way towards Little Shark River Anchorage, on the western edge of Everglades National park.
We had to motorsail most of the way because the wind was rather nonexistent.
I made the three of us sandwiches for lunch and we all took turns napping most of the day. …It was a pretty stress-free sail to Little Shark River.
The highlight of our sail on Day 1 was catching what we thought would be our first fish of the trip. Turns out, our first fish caught was actually a plastic garbage bag.Figures! Haha!
We arrived at the anchorage at 5:40PM after an uneventful motorsailing kind of day. Little Shark River Anchorage is “off the beaten path” so to speak. At least in the sense that there are no facilities, moorings, or cell phone service there. And no real ability to dinghy to shore either as the shoreline is covered in dense mangroves. Oh, but there are LOTS of bugs! That’s for sure. 😉 I think we even transported a few pet mosquitos with us to Marathon!
We arrived at the anchorage with plenty of light left in the day for our first ever anchoring experience. There were surprisingly about 4 or 5 boats in the first part of the anchorage (I expected maybe 1 or 2), so we picked a spot to anchor that we thought was considerately and conservatively spaced away from the other boats. There was no wind, no current, and no tide, so we basically just dropped anchor and let the chain pile up. Probably not the best route to take, but it worked for us. This time.
It must’ve looked like total amateur hour because one of the other boats immediately pulled anchor and sailed up the river and out of sight. Sorry to whoever that couple was. Turns out, we must’ve done a halfway decent job because we definitely did not move an inch all night (and we got up a few times throughout the night just to double check).
We grilled some tasty filets and veggies, and enjoyed those with a rice mix I cooked up while watching a beautiful sunset over the Everglades.
Oh and for anyone wondering about Oliver…since we had no ability to dinghy to land, Jereme, Chris, and I all took turns trying to convince Oliver it was okay to go potty on deck using his new astroturf mat. Unfortunately, Oliver chose to hold out in hopes of a trip to land.I was devastated (to say the least) and probably way more upset than Oliver. After a solid 25 hours of holding his little bladder, he finally gave up the next morning right before we sailed out of the anchorage. I was so relieved and we of course made sure to reward him like crazy!
We were first boat up the next morning to pull anchor and get going. Unfortunately, our bow roller had a few problems. It appears that our roller *wheel* is not sized correctly for the actual bow roller, so the chain kept popping off the roller, which required us to hand pull in all of the chain. Fun times. (We’re working on a fix for that while we’re still here in Marathon for the week.) Even though we were the first boat awake in the anchorage on Saturday morning, we were somehow the last to leave. Again, figures.
Day 2 of our sail to Marathon was a wee bit more eventful. More on that coming soon!!! 😉
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