My body clock is normally set to sleep at 2 am and wake at 9:30 am due to my usual work schedule. When I’m off work for several days in a row, as I am now, my rhythm normally inches toward a more “normal” schedule. Today, for example, I experienced something I rarely do – a sunrise. I was up to take a photo of a most beautiful early morning sky reflected in the still waters of the Pelican Bay. I then stood on deck watching numerous groupings of dolphins splash all around us in the bay.
After a quick bowl of cereal, we weighed anchor and inched our way out of the shallow bay and back into the ICW. Fortunately, we did fine all night and did not touch the bottom in the sub-five foot depths. What a sublime three hour motor up the ICW under bright sunshine and extreme calm (almost too extreme, we could’ve used a little more breeze). Very soon after leaving our overnight anchorage, we crossed the beautiful Charlotte Harbor. A few miles further north, we encountered our only bridge of the day. After we passed through a non-functioning, always open railroad bridge we made our way through the Boca Grande Swing Bridge.
Shortly after noon, we made our way into Palm Island Marina in Cape Haze. This marks another first for us. I have intentionally varied our experiences on this trip. We spent the first night sailing on the gulf. We spent the next two anchoring. And we spent the fourth night at a marina. This is the first time we’ve stayed at a marina other than our own. Therefore, we had the new challenge of docking Beatitude in strange environs. I must confess that I am quite pleased with my increasing comfort level in maneuvering Beatitude. You may recall that my greatest uneasiness from the beginning was in approaching and leaving the dock and maneuvering this behemoth of a boat that we call our home in close quarters. Coming into our slip today went flawlessly. I brought her down the entry channel past the dock, spun her around 180 degrees in basically her own space, and eased her into the dock with no difficulties. Thank you Heavenly Father!
I also learned that one must bring one’s own shore power cord when traveling to other marinas. This was not obvious when we left our own marina. We always leave it on the dock when we go out overnight in Tampa Bay. Next time, I’ll remember to bring it. We could have been hooked up to shore power at Palm Island, but could not because we had no power cord. Oh well! Live and learn.
I am very impressed with Palm Island Marina. It is located right on the ICW but tucked into a secluded little spot. Free WiFi (with great connectivity), a wonderful swimming pool, Cable TV, and a free laundry (Yes, I said free!). We weren’t planning on doing laundry today, but couldn’t pass it up for free. At our home in Regatta Pointe, we pay $2.00 per load for wash and $1.50 per load to dry. While the wash was going, the three of us hit the pool for a refreshing swim and relaxation. As if we needed more relaxation. Actually, it was quite nice and a different kind of relaxing.
We then caught the water taxi over to Palm Island Resort and had a delicious meal at Rum Bay Restaurant. The baby-back ribs were fall-off-the-bone goodness. We meandered over to the gulf-front beach where we reclined in beach chairs and waded in the warm, clear water. Around 7:30 pm we water-taxied back to the marina and settled in for a peaceful night tied to the dock.