We went from the Everglades to Naples and then we spent a night anchored off of Sanibel Island near Fort Meyers. We had a great time in Naples followed by a horrible night on anchor near Sanibel. The wind shifted directions on us in the middle of the night and we found ourselves in an onshore breeze, close to shore, in 5 feet of water. We pulled anchor at 3am and moved further out in the channel which brought on rougher conditions. We moved again and finally found the sweet spot where the water was calmer but we were a bit further away from the shore. It was a sleepless night. We got a late start away from Sanibel Island which led to a full day of sailing/motoring to get to the marina. Finally we were approaching the Manatee River and the marina where we bought our boat. It was a bittersweet feeling, pulling up to the marina. We were told that we would be going into the exact same slip we were in 3.5 years ago to only find out that they really wanted us in a whole different area of the marina. After doing a few circles inside the marina, and a few phone calls to the dock master, we figured out where our new slip would be. At this point we were exhausted, Finley was screaming, the wind was blowing, and the current was running fast. We bailed on pulling into the tight space and pulled out of the marina to anchor for one last night. We would dock up in the marina first thing in the morning. I was excited to be there, but also very glad that Chris made the safe decision to scout out the new slip first after some rest and sleep. It would be tragic to have something horrible happen this close to the end!

I am also in the mode of “this is the last time…” So this was our “last” night on anchor. And our “last” dinghy ride. And our “last” time pulling into a marina. And Finley’s “last” time this and “last” time that. I think Chris is getting sick of it but I just can’t help it! Our epic trip is ending. icon sad May 27th, 2015:  The return to Regatta Pointe Marina

share save 171 16 May 27th, 2015:  The return to Regatta Pointe Marina

Last night was rough. After a full day of sailing, we were exhausted. We made it around the tip of Florida and found an anchor spot in the middle of the Everglades National Park. It was hot and Chris was excited to fire up the generator (which we barely ever use) and turn on the air conditioning (which we really never use). Now was the time to use them, though. Of course things never go as planned. The generator quit on us right when we wanted/needed it the most. UGH! We are days away from being done and the generator quits?! Chris worked on it for a bit but then gave up saying that it will have to be fixed when we reach the marina in Bradenton. I guess that means no air conditioning for the night.

It was so stinking hot and there were bugs galore. Chris woke up in the middle of the night and turned on the lights to find our cabin full of bugs. We had the screens in but the bugs were finding their way in through the cracks. We got out the electric fly swatter and started the massacre. We must have killed 50 mosquitos, flies, horse flies and gnats. Gross. The worst part was that we didn’t get them all and they were still flying around us all night. We need to get out of the Everglades.

We woke up at 7am and got underway. Today is also Finley’s official 18-month old birthday. She is now 1.5 years old. So mature! icon wink May 25th, 2015:  A night in the Everglades and Finley is 1.5 years old Her latest words are phone (pronounced moan) and Elmo (pronounced Mel-mo). She also runs around repeating “Bobbie” all the time but we have no idea who or what Bobbie is. She nods her head no when she doesn’t want something and yes when you finally guess what it is that she wants. She has 16 teeth and a toothy, wide open mouth grin. Her dimples are adorable and her hands and feet are huge. She’s like a lion cub with oversized paws for her body. She loves to play in her little pool on hot days and still enjoys books and reading. The phone and iPad are becoming quick favorites though. How are you supposed to keep technology out of the hand of kids these days? She’s full of energy and very active. The Lofgren’s were impressed with her energy levels saying they don’t remember their boys being that active. Neal was also greatly impressed with her balance. He would be falling all over the boat, while we were underway, and Finley just walked around unfazed by the movement. Finley cranks the spinnaker winch and says “line” and “knot” as she points them out around the boat. She’s a true boat baby. She also grabs our masks and snorkels and puts them on herself. I think if we had just a few more months on the boat, she’d be snorkeling. I’m sad that her boat days are coming to an end, but hopefully we have instilled a love for sailing and a desire to return to the water. Then we can do this trip all over again in a few years!

share save 171 16 May 25th, 2015:  A night in the Everglades and Finley is 1.5 years old

We took one day off from sailing and hung out in Miami. What we learned is that Miami is probably a very fun city if you don’t have an 18 month-old with you. We took a huge urban dinghy tour in the Biscayne Bay and up a channel to Miami Beach. We walked around on the beach, but it was hot and sunny so we didn’t last very long. It is Memorial Day weekend so there was a lot to do around the city, but we just wanted to rest. The next morning we started our long journey around the southern tip of Florida. It will be over 250 NM to get the boat back to the Sarasota area where we bought it from. Yes, we are taking it back to the same broker, Barry Lipoff, who sold it to us back on November 23, 2011. We’ll go to the same marina where we prepped the boat for our journey and we may even have the same darn slip. We are serious when it comes to goals. We are doing a full loop! icon smile May 24th, 2015:  The long journey around the tip of Florida

We stayed in the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) for our journey south. We were able to sail with the main sail and spinnaker deployed even though it was tight navigating between the buoys and under the bridges. We decided to get diesel in Key Largo so we stopped for the night at Gilbert’s bar for diesel and dinner. The bar was rocking out to a live band and the place was packed. It was great people watching, as there were some real Florida characters out for the party weekend. We went back to the boat before dark and put Finley to bed. Chris and I stayed up for hours afterwards. We watched the sunset and talked about our journey, our lives, our adventures, and our future. It was quite blissful.

Today, Sunday, we left Key Largo and are making the turn around the southern tip of Florida. We went from the Gold Coast (near Miami) to the Keys, and now the Everglades. We will soon reach the Sun Coast. We will try to get as far as we can today and anchor just outside of the channel before dark. We are wrapping this trip up fast, fast, fast but this move around Florida seems to be taking forever.

share save 171 16 May 24th, 2015:  The long journey around the tip of Florida