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We left Marco Island heading north when we ran into a rain storm. We had made it to Naples so we found a good anchorage to wait it out. 

We were eager to make our way toward the Okeechobee Waterway so we entertained ourselves with movies for a few days. Once the sun came back out we continued north toward Ft Myers, to have a good starting point.  

Ft Myers

We spent our last night anchored near the ocean just south of Ft Myers, in San Carlos Bay. It was a bit rocky due to the many power boats on a Friday night but we still slept well. 

We got up early to get provisions, gas and water for the next few days journey. We pulled anchor by mid-afternoon. However, we weren’t able to sail very long at all. We had light winds and the mainsail only got in the way of making sure we didn’t get ran over by the many oncoming power boats. 

After a few hours, it made a huge difference in what we had been use to for the past eight months. When sailing in the open ocean, it is much different. Much more attention is required for navigating through channels and canals. 

The ICW is much like driving a car on the highway. Only, you’re keeping it between the channel markers instead of the lines. **Sometimes they aren’t always right either.

 It had been awhile since we needed to navigate through such narrow channels. This was also somewhere we’ve never been as we hadn’t navigated the West Coast ICW yet. 

We had become use to sailing the open ocean and familiar harbors of the Keys. We have 132 nautical miles to get across to the other side. It was time remember how we started our journey down the coast whether we were ready to be or not. 

Sometimes you are free to maneuver with ease without too much stress. At other times, you are also constantly checking the depth and maps. At one point, Willow made the comment “You are steering like you are driving a car”. Yes. Yes, I was. I was nervous. Constantly checking the charts, depths and line of sight between the markers to ensure we didn’t run aground. 

The farther we made our way into the river, the more the water changed to a reddish/brown color.  We were finally in the Caloosahatchee River. The river also widened with less channel markers to follow. The rivers are usually dredged to ensure the center is always the deepest. 

Not being able to have the clear visibility we were use to having made me realize that I do not want to swim here, where there are alligators.

I swam in the ocean with sharks, barracuda, jellyfish and stingrays but cannot contemplate ever swimming with an alligator. It’s simply not on my bucket list of things to do.

The weather was perfect for the next few hours minus the few storm clouds that passed us by. At one point we could see it raining on either side of us while passing through the clouds. 

We checked the height clearance on the charts and made our way through the bridges. As soon as we passed through the Beautiful Island Railroad Bridge, we threw anchor near the power plant. 

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Once we were anchored and secure, we had about an hour of sunlight left to explore. We jumped in the dinghy to go toward the mangroves. It was refreshing to see such beautiful green foliage blended in with the mangroves. 

 

Minus the spider that jumped into the dinghy, we had an amazing day! We got a great night sleep and pulled anchor early the next morning to make our way to Labelle to spend a few days. 

 

“The only journey is the one within”.  

~Rainer Maria Rilke