Sunday, June 13, 2010

Island Hopping

Our morning started semi-early today, about 7am; I drove Dave and the boys over to Cape Coral to get the fishing boat we had rented for the next few days. Then they boated back over to our rental house, which is located a canal on the back side of Fort Myers Beach. As I waited for them, I fixed some breakfast, packed up some necessities for the day, and then we headed out. The boat is a center console fishing boat, which is a very common boat down here on the ocean, but not so much back home on Tablerock. It is outfitted with multiple fishing pole holders (for lack of a better term), and has some seating, but is really a serious fishing boat. We saw many similar boats out on the ocean today, some rigged out with eight and nine poles and all of the other bells and whistles.

Yesterday we had a quiet first full day here, did a little swimming at the beach, and then walked around and looked in some of the shops on the boardwalk. Our plans for today were to take the boat out to several islands, including a couple that are only reachable by water. I was a little worried, because I have been out on the ocean in a fishing boat one other time, and kept getting seasick every time the boat would stop. But that was in Hawaii, many years ago, and the Gulf is much calmer; I did just fine today.

The weather in southwest Florida has been unseasonably warm for early June, with highs in the mid-to-upper 90s for the past week. It was wonderful to be out on the water, definitely didn't feel the heat and sun, as we zipped around on the water. It was deceiving, how much sun we were getting; even though we applied and reapplied sunscreen, my back is red tonight.

Our first leg of today's trip took about an hour, at a pretty good clip. The houses were huge, some three and even four story homes as we boated northeast up the coast, past Sanibel and Captiva Island; we stopped and dropped anchor on North Captiva island, which is one of the islands only reachable by water. There were some amazing homes there as well, mostly located at the ends of the island; looked like several of the inhabitants traveled there by their sea planes or big cruisers. We stopped at a pretty quiet spot in the middle, not near any homes; seemed to be a popular spot for boaters, with fishing boats and cruisers moored up and down the shore. Jace and Neil put scuba masks on and looked for shells, and when Neil tired of that, he and Dave broke out the football for a little catch. I just enjoyed the water, remembered to bring some noodles to float on today after not having them at the beach yesterday.

After we piled back into the boat, we headed further north to Cabbage Key. The restaurant on Cabbage Key is famous for its cheeseburgers; it is said that Jimmy Buffett's "Cheeseburger in Paradise" was written about this place, and I don't doubt it! The island was purchased by Alan and Gratia Rinehart for $2,500 in 1929, and they then spent over $125,000 developing the resort and amenities that are still there today.

It has been operated by three couples since then, and the present owners have lived on and maintained the resort for the past 30 years. We arrived after the lunch rush, so didn't have to wait to be seated; the restaurant was simple but full of character, with two fireplaces, a bar, and lots of photos of famous visitors. One of the traditions at Cabbage Key is to commemorate your visit by taping a dollar bill to the wall. You can see them hanging from the ceiling in the picture below:

It is estimated that the running total of dollar bills affixed to the walls is at about $70,000, and we added our dollars before we left today.

After lunch we headed back on the intercoastal route, between the islands and the mainland. Dave stopped at a quiet inlet to let Neil try out his casting skills, to catch some bait fish for them to use when they go deep sea fishing tomorrow. Neil had been practicing at home with the net, in the yard, after watching the how-to video on YouTube.

He got the hang of it after a couple of tries, and did net a few fish, although he admitted it was a lot harder to cast it and keep his balance on the front deck of the boat than it was when he practiced in the front yard. As he was casting, we started seeing lightning in the distance and clouds moving closer. We headed back towards Ft. Myers Beach, and I fully expected we would be caught in a torrent of rain, looking at the clouds:

We made it back with just a few sprinkles, and it apparently didn't even rain at our house. Tonight we're preparing for busy days tomorrow - Jace and I are leaving to go to Universal Studios in Orlando, and Dave/Neil are heading out for a full day of fishing. We'll all be leaving the house at 6am, so tonight will be busy with packing before getting a good night's sleep.

1 comment:

Steph Haase said...

So glad you're having fun. We must catch up when you return.

Love you!