Our blog has been “in shelter” these days as we are tied up in a marina and not doing much of anything, like most of you. It is a little hard to be excited about writing about every day life on board when nearly every day is like the other day…..not very news worthy. But, then again, you may be curious if you are not on a boat and may be wondering how life is doing for Gypsies Palace.
We were very lucky to have made arrangements at the Eidson Ford Marina in Ft. Myers for mid March, just as things were going downhill. This marina is where we have spent most of our winter stay and has been so nice to us. We came in initially for a week, then 2 weeks, then a month and then another month. It is a small marina where we are able to sit, get our pump outs at the slip and receive our numerous Amazon orders. We are able to walk to Publix and occasionally get take out from the local restaurants. Additionally, the restaurant at the marina sold us fish. We bought snapper, grouper, mussels and even chicken. That is a nice unexpected perk.
It was very fortunate for us and our Buddy Boat, One Eye Dog that we didn’t have to worry about travel plans because at this point we had none!
Some boaters were not so lucky. Many marinas were no longer taking transients or worse, made them leave. The Florida Keys took the matter seriously and asked many boats to leave if they had not made long term arrangements. Canada completely shut down. The Bahamas took extreme measures due to their limited medical care so boats either had to leave or stay in place and follow strict regulations. Certain states were closed to boating completely. It was hit or miss, but luckily we are a tight community with shared information, particularly from the Waterway Guide and Facebook. We kept saying everyday that we were very lucky with our decisions.
But, let me back up and give you a glimpse of our week before the big Dock Tie Up. It may take your mind back to paradise. On the way to Ft. Myers we were excited about spending a week at anchor at a very beautiful spot by Boca Grande, called Cayo Costa State Park. This anchorage can accommodate a large number of boats and is very protected from winds. It is located by Captiva Island and Cabbage Cay. There is a state park with walking trails and access to the Gulf. It is nine miles of untouched beaches accessible only by boat. It is the perfect place for swimming, kayaking, shelling, bird watching, fishing and long walks along the Gulf.
We were met by our Buddy Boat, One Eye Dog and we rafted together for several days. During this time we took our kayaks and dinghy around to explore Manatee Cove and fun places within the anchorage. By the time we were ready to leave we started hearing about Covid-19 and Social Distancing. We had been rafted together during our stay so the four of us became a “family” to weather out the In Shelter order on our boats.
It was eerie going back to the marina, which formerly was full of activity and people. The boaters that were there remained on their boats and we had very little contact with anyone outside of One Eye Dog. So, there we sat – all Fit to be Tied Up at the dock. Our fuel tanks were full since we bought fuel with the reduced fuel prices, but nowhere to go! What did we do to occupy our time with No Docktails! No Loopers!
The guys got busy with projects. The most frequent complaint from the Captain is that there is never any time to work on things because we are always moving. Well, Steve got his wish and he completed over 21 projects. The BBQ got rebuilt, the engine room got painted – some were more exciting for me than others. We got new upholstery upstairs and down. The biggest project was upgrading of the solar and inverter system on the boat. This also involved adding batteries and controllers for the panels. We look forward to testing this out at our next anchorage. The Galley got TLC with wet sanding and polishing the Corian counter. Plus, lighting was added under the cabinets. Thank goodness West Marine was open and Amazon delivered.
While the guys were slaving away the girls improved our cooking skills. What was fun is that Steve started catching blue crab at the marina and nearly every day we had a feast of crab cakes, crab bisque or crab enchiladas. Steve perfected his skills at catching and cleaning them. Who knew we would be eating daily crab in Ft. Myers!Read More