We arose shortly after 6 a.m. in order to pass beneath the Matanzas Pass Bridge at low tide. The sun did not rise until 7:05, so when we made our way under the bridge around 6:45, dawn’s early light was just making its appearance over Matanzas harbor. Cindy went below for our passage under the bridge and emerged a moment or two later, encouraged that she heard no sounds of crushed metal or falling debris.
It was an exceptionally beautiful morning as we retraced our path out through Matanzas Pass and into the Gulf. Beatitude covered the 29.5 nautical mile trip through the gulf and up into Naples with no problem. There were light and variables winds, while sea states ranged from calm to a light chop to gentle 1- 1.5 foot waves. Watching the sun rise over Ft. Myers Beach was spectacular. Along the brief gulf passage, I spotted numerous flying fish flittering out of the path of our sailing yacht. I also saw a few rather large jelly fish – larger than I had seen in the waters of Tampa Bay (Although the size is difficult to judge when looking down into the water, I’m guessing they were 1-2 foot in diameter).
A few hours after leaving Ft. Myers Beach, we turned up into Gordon Pass, which was lined with multi-million dollar homes. The shoreline views of magnificent residences continued as we made our way north up the inside channel into Naples Bay on the Gordon River. We picked up a mooring ball in the city mooring field for $10.00/night. What a deal! Our week aboard a mooring ball in Ft. Myers Beach was $97.00. We think we’re going to like our stay here on this mooring ball a little better. It is much better protected and not subject to the strong current present in Ft. Myers. Once moored, we were immediately visited by several playful dolphin.
We once again had new challenges with mooring. These mooring balls do not have a long line which can be grabbed with a boathook protruding from the top of the ball. Instead, there are small loops on top of the balls through which the mooring line is fed. The trouble is that there is no way to feed the line through that hook from a deck which is 4 feet above the water line. So, we decided to back down onto the ball while Cindy stood on the lowest step on the stern of the boat (which is basically at the water line). She was then able to grasp the loop and feed it through while taking the line back up to the bow to secure it on the bow cleat as usual. It worked well, if not with absolute harmony between crew members. 🙂 I then hopped in the dinghy, went around to the bow, and fed the other bow line through the loop. No problem!
Around 3:30, we decided to venture out and explore Old Naples by foot. Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in the U.S., with the sixth highest per capita income and the second highest proportion of millionaires in the country. Real estate is among the most expensive in the country as well, with houses for sale for over $40,000,000. It goes without saying, that this is a beautiful place. We enjoyed our mile or so walk over to 5th Avenue, home to art galleries, upscale stores, fine restaurants and street cafes. We browsed for awhile and did a little shopping. We spent a whopping $6.00! Cindy really is good about showing restraint in shopping. We then had an absolutely marvelous Italian meal at Vergina on 5th Avenue. The bread and oil, the Pinot Noir and Pinot Grigio, Cindy’s Rigatoni Bolognese, and my Linquini with Shrimp Scampi were delectable.
While away, we had several brief rain showers of the variety in which there was bright sunshine on one side of the street and a steady rain on the other side. These were actually quite refreshing (we walked home in a little rain shower), however there was one small problem. We left the hatch open above our bed. When we returned to Beatitude, our bed (at least Cindy’s side) was soaked. After attempts at drying the water with a hair dryer failed, we camped out in the salon for the night. Cindy on the settee, and I on the floor (with one of our memory foam mattresses from the guest bed). We would find a night of, at least, adequate sleep in the salon.