I didn't think I'd bring this up, but I feel compelled to do so. Paul and I thought the power boaters in Texas were disrespectful, but quite honestly, Texas M/V's have nothing on Floridian motor vessels. We were just amazed at how most of the power boaters here would not even think of slowing down as they passed us. We were rocking pretty badly at times, to the point you could hear things below knocking around. This is not only disrespectful, but also against boating rules and regs. Too bad there weren't more Coast Guard people out stopping these rude people and ticketing them. So, if you are coming to Florida in a sailboat, just be aware of this ...especially in the ICW.
There, I feel better now!!
When we arrived in Punta Gorda, we found our anchorage outside of Fisherman's Village Marina. We tried to get a slip there, but the man said they were booked until April. The anchorage was tricky to get to, because of depths going back and forth from 3-6 feet. After much winding around, we finally were able to anchor in 6' of water.
We were trying to figure out a way to get to shore, since we didn't have a dinghy. Ray, Florence's husband, said he had a small dinghy he would bring us the next day and we could motor into Fisherman's Village to pick it up. We checked the depths in the channel to the marina, and it said it had 5 feet of water. Our draft is 4'8". Close! Next day we tried it and got stuck. We had to call Tow boat U.S. to come pull us out. Thus, we weren't able to get to shore. Florence and Ray had to hire a guy at the docks to come out and get us and they brought the dinghy, too. It was the only way to get into shore at this point. I was thankful to be going ashore, because my back was hurting badly.
We looked on Craig's list and Ebay for used dinghies and found a few. Florence asked us to stay since I was hurting, which sounded like a God-send to me. Paul had checked the anchor before we left and it was dug in well. The next day we went to look at dinghies, and didn't find anything that we liked. We also went to "Marine Traders" a consignment shop for all things boats. They had a dinghy for sale, but was priced too high for it's condition, I thought. Finally, we found one online. It was $400 for the dinghy and a trailer. Sounded like a good one and we planned to go get it the following day. In the meantime, Paul had gone over to the boat to make sure it was secured well. That Danforth anchor has been great the entire trip. Never had any problems with it coming out.
At Florence's and Ray's cozy home, we were able to relax and eat fine food. Ray and Florence both are wonderful cooks. Ray made a scrumptious chicken casserole the first night. Next night, Florence made pie from scratch. It turned out so pretty, I had to take pics of it. Every night, the table was set as though we were in a high class restaurant. Loved the way they worked together to make everything so lovely and welcoming. We also had freshly baked breads. Holy mackerel!!
|Florence with her beautiful apple pie. Home made|
from scratch, folks. Deeeelishus!!!
|Ray and Florence at the dinner table. It was always set up|
so pretty. I told them they needed to open a B&B, and they
said that they already had the name for it..."Flo-Ray-Duh Inn"
|Cousins!!! Paul and Florence|
|The pie was so beautiful, I had to get a showcase pic of it.|
|Paul and Florence|
The next day, Paul's other cousin, Barbara from Maryland, arrived. Paul hadn't seen his cousins in probably 40 or more years. Hearing the stories from their past and getting to know these wonderful folks was truly a delight for me. They made it so I would feel like a part of the family, and I do.
|Me, Ray, Florence, and Barbara...playing Scrabble and telling|
|Barbara coming up with a high point word!|
|Paul and Barbara|
|Ray, Florence, and Barbara|
|Somebody's got the giggles|
|Ray challenging a word!|
|Our room. This is a murphy bed! When the bed is empty, it goes|
back into the wall and it's her sewing room.
|Barbara and I took a walk and this is how the winds looked|
as we neared the house.