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Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Starting the journey home : )

Hello y'all, and greetings from Florida once again!  This will be my last post from Florida, as we are already more than halfway up the East Coast of Florida, heading north.  We left Fort Myers Beach (on the Gulf Coast) on Wednesday, March 1st after a month of lounging there at the Pink Shell Resort and Marina.

View below is of the marina from one of the resort buildings.  Quality Time is tied up close to the middle of the picture (to the right of the red dinghy).

The hull needed a scrub-down before we left, of course!

Before we left, I had the chance to meet my friend, Chris, in Orlando to catch the second weekend of the Best Picture Showcase marathon at Disney Springs.  We stayed at a fabulous resort and got to watch the Oscars together for the first time.  For the record, the movies we watched were Moonlight, Lion (my personal favorite), Hacksaw Ridge, Arrival, and Hidden Figures.

From the Orlando Eye - such a touristy thing to do!

For the route home, we decided to cut across the state of Florida instead of going all the way back around the Keys.  Headed past the city of Fort Myers east/northeast up the Caloosahatchee River, through a total of 5 locks, and across Lake Okeechobee.  On the east side of the lake, there are canals that took us all the way out to the city of Stuart on the East Coast of Florida.  Here are some pictures from the early parts of the journey across the state:

Some other random pictures during the journey:

Near the center of Lake Okeechobee:

And there were cows......

Transiting one of the locks:

After having a brief visit with Uncle Jack and Aunt Patty (bonus of seeing Renee, too!), we are once again heading north and are close to Daytona Beach.

And although I swore I would never willingly leave the safety of the intracoastal waterway on this trip, I have agreed to an off-shore excursion.  We will be headed "out to sea" shortly and plan to re-enter the intracoastal waterway around Georgetown, SC (so we can stop and see my parents in Myrtle Beach again), thus avoiding many of the shoaling trouble spots along the intracoastal.

Because the water is so deep off shore, it is not possible to anchor overnight, so we will be running 24/7 until we get to Georgetown.  Mark and I will be alternating sleeping/driving shifts - I have absolutely no idea how this will go.  We have an autopilot system (which keeps us on a steady course) and AIS and radar (which will alert us of any ship/boat traffic near us).  I'm optimistic that as long as hot coffee is available, I will be good.  This will be the first time that I've ever operated the boat while Mark sleeps - hope he's right to trust me with the helm LOL.  We will likely be out of cellphone range while offshore, but I will definitely describe our offshore adventures in my next blog post.  Please wish us well!!!

Take care, y'all!!!!!

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