Today we finished more laundry, replaced all the food we already ate since we untied the dock lines last week... and generally spent getting ready to depart. David studies the chart to determine our headings versus the weather forecasts. Unfortunately, the extreme low tides in the marina mean we'll have to wait until at least mid-day to get out of here. The good news is, if we get stuck going out the channel, the tide's coming up all day long! :)
We've been comparing weather forecasts ... NOAA, Buoyweather and WindFinder. So far WindFinder seems to be the closest forecast to actual daily - of course, it might be an anomoly. So in order to keep from driving ourselves crazy studying too much weather, for now, we're going with WindFinder.com. We check Boca Grande Pass, Marco Island and Marathon in the Keys daily since that's our intended general direction. And we're keeping our fingers crossed for a great sail, starting tomorrow! (Fingers and toes crossed!)
Our normal afternoon stroll around the marina began today with this guy devouring a fish he had either caught or stolen from another bird. Osprey's - otherwise known as fish hawks - are notorious for stealing fish. This guy looks like he's ready to defend his dinner!
A reflection of a manatee's tail as it disappeared beneath the water. It was cold today and they flock into the shallow waters of the marina for warmth. There were four in one empty boat slip as we walked by on our way to the marina walk.
Burnt Store Marina Walk, one of our favorite walking paths while we're "stuck" in the marina.
Think this guy has his eye on something?
Yep, he's pretty sure that he can get to this guy's fish before the guy can reel it in!
Great walk, great to see Winterlude sitting patiently awaiting our return. There's no place like home! :)
We were hoping to leave tomorrow to head south again. The wind's forecast to lay down and be from the north -- perfect to push us south. Unfortunately we didn't count on the freeze warning -- 31 degrees for the low tomorrow in SW Florida! Being the wimps we are, without heat aboard, we decided it might be a good idea to stay tied to the dock where we can plug in the electric blanket and snuggle.
What do we do when the weather pins us literally to the dock? Plan our next adventure, of course! Later this summer, we'll check Alaska off our bucket lists. It takes FOREVER to plan a trip when you're not interested in doing pre-packaged tours and want to travel on your own.
But the framework is in place, from spending a few days camping with friends in the Northern Cascades National Park (I know that's Washington, but that's where this adventure starts) ... then catching the Alaska Ferry through the inside passage for three days to Wrangell where we'll visit the Nat'l Forest Service's Anan Bear Observatory. Supposedly we'll be close enough to watching bears feast on the salmon running upstream that I'll be able to take my OWN photos like this!
Flying to Anchorage, boarding an Alaskan Train to Seward for time in the Kenai Fjords National Park including a glacier ice hike complete with ice crampons and ice picks (are we really ready for this?). And finally pick up an RV for a 10 day camping adventure as deep inside Denali National Park as they allow RV's (30 miles).
So we spent all our money, committed almost a month of our lives, and, most importantly, David will likely have to break his post-retirement rule of never going anywhere he can't wear his shorts! :)
We did manage to get in a walk and lunch with old friends to top off the day, but now the day is almost done. The wind whistles through the rigging, the boat rocks even at the dock and all is well.
David also promised our neighbor on the dock that I'd climb his mast tomorrow to fix some stuff. OK, did he FORGET that we're not leaving the dock because the forecast is for FREEZING temperatures? Or maybe he wants me to freeze, hmmm... "what happened to Jan?" She froze to the mast while helping rescue a neighbor's bird balloon? Huh?
Sometimes leaving to go cruising has hiccups. This year, red tide coupled with winds in the wrong direction caused us to take a detour. After all, this is supposed to be fun!
Kayaking a few miles of the Great Calusa Blueway allowed us to enjoy the white pelicans, a soaring bald eagle overhead competing with lots of kamikaze ospreys. Mullet jumping kept us jumping as well - what happens if one of them jumps into the kayak? I'd jump out! Just then, a pair of graceful eagle rays swam beneath my kayak.
More of the Great Calusa Blueway ... paddling in quiet waters surrounded by little gray herons, great blue herons, white egrets, diving cormorants, plentiful white ibis' ... plus total quiet and peace in the midst of a fairly surburban setting. Maybe we'll leave to go cruising on the next weather window....