December 2017
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Up the Creek without a Dinghy

The time was right. One day sooner or later might mean that the possibility of moving Patrick’s sailboat from Fort Myers to Sarasota would be nullified. There is no waiting for the weather. I’ve learned that lesson all too well with both flying and skydiving. Spontaneity and flexibility is key when time critical objectives revolve around Mother Nature’s schedule. And as most know, she has a tendency to surprise even the most seasoned of weather champions without a moments notice.

Our trek up the Intercoastal Waterway would be a 2 days journey, leading us along a canal-like structure that in its entirety travels a full 3,000 miles (that’s 4,800 km for us Canadian folk) along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the US (as noted in Wikipedia), whereby “some lengths consist of natural inlets, salt-water rivers, bays, and sounds; others are artificial canals. The Waterway provides a navigable route along its length without many of the hazards of travel on the open sea.” Patrick toyed with the idea of sailing out to the Gulf, heading north and thereby bypassing the 9 bridges which our 48 foot tall span would need to navigate through (i.e. under). But with little to no wind and a deadline to meet, we didn’t want to rely solely on engine power, and if the weather changed in a heartbeat, the Gulf of Mexico would be too rough to travel on.

The only way that I can describe the whole day trip was one of luxury. The wind seduced us as we weaved our way north towards Punta Blanca Island (off of Pine Island South), the sun soft and soothing (unless of course you didn’t wear sunscreen!), birds delighting us moment after moment and the sporadic dolphins entertaining us between stories and tropical drinks. Of course, I was loving the photographer’s canvas … nature is the quintessential model for beauty and stillness in the motion of life. I opted to keep on the telephoto lens for the distant shots. But at times, I wish I had a broader more versatile lens for those spontaneous closeups.

Anchoring in Pelican Bay for the night was a treat in itself, especially as we were the sole occupants of the Bay — a rare treat in itself, says Patrick. We were a 100 feet row away from the Island to give us a chance to gather our sea legs and stretch them out a bit. When Patrick cast anchor, he never noticed our dinghy release from the side mooring cleat, and like a slow-moving comedy, we watched the dinghy breeze on by with a mind of its own. Realizing what was happening, slaDE launched for the boat hook and managed to snag the dinghy. No need to swim for it, yeah! After a good chuckle, we rowed over the island for a bit of fun and exploration. The birds and their nests seemingly were the only occupants. I was a bit paranoid about the potential for crocodiles emerging. But luckily, nothing to hamper our adventures from progressing.

A full moon and still waters rocked us lovingly through the evening, filled with laughter and stories. Patrick and Ann prepared wonderful meals ahead of time for us, so all we had to do was sit back, sip our cocktail of choice and chill.

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