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Wrapping Up Ft. Myers, Day Cruises and Travel Update

It’s so hard to believe that we’re now approaching 3 months in Fort Myers!  This is just a quick post to bring you up to date.

Ft. Myers

Never would we have imagined that Ft. Myers would be a spot to captivate us.

It was never really on our radar as a happening place. But it has been the perfect stop for our little sojourn, and exactly what we’ve needed to take some much needed still time to let life catch up to us.

Aside from wrapping up some boat projects (including the dinghy davit install, we’ll get a post up about that soon); we’ve just continued to enjoy wandering around the streets of Ft. Myers, attending the theatre, visits from family & friends and just in general enjoying all the things that come with being in one spot for a while (Amazon shipments galore!).

And of course, the sunsets.

Check out the footage we captured!

And watching storms roll in and out with amazing lightning storms and even a waterspout (we actually caught it on video, incredible!).

Earlier this month we shared about growing barnacles and why we’ve been craving a little stationary time.

Last week on our monthly live video cast we selected the topic of: “Dealing With Travel Burn Out – where we talked further about the subject. What causes it, how different people react and ideas for managing it while not losing your nomad card.

The archive is available on our YouTube Channel.

Day Cruises – Our First Lock!

Sunset dinghy ride!

But our days aren’t always spent tied up to the dock.

We continue to regularly take Y-Not and Just Because (the new dinghy) out on day cruises for practice.

We’ve done an overnight to Sanibel Island (mmmm…. grouper at Grandma Dots!) and cruises up and down the Caloosahatchee River.

We gain more confidence every trip, including managing our first “Oh crap, the steering’s not working’ incident with an urgent docking required (air bubbles in the lines – diagnosed & fixed on our own – oh yeah!).

One of our recent day cruises was up to the W.P. Franklin Lock, about 12 nautical miles east of here.

Camped at the W.P. Franklin Campground back in January.

It’s the location where we were parked in our RV when our offer on Y-Not was accepted back in January. It seemed only appropriate that we make the trip up there to practice our very first locking!

To prepare for our first lock, we watched some videos on locking and safety (including the Ask Captain Chris DVD).

And then we actually drove up for an afternoon and observed boats going through the lock – which was the most valuable preparation we did. Nothing beats seeing it in person and thinking through our own approach.

So with confidence balanced with a good dose of  nerves, on a good weather morning – we set out for a day cruise.

Conveniently during one of my mom’s visits – a fun adventure together, and we’d have extra hands onboard.

Here’s our quick little 5 minute video of our first lock:

Suspense killing you? Video not your thing?
Yes, we rocked the locks – and lived to tell the tale!

Travel Update: What’s Next?

The big pending questions have been:

  • When the heck are we continuing on this Great Loop thing?
  • And, which way will we go?

We could easily convince ourselves to stick around longer. Legacy Harbour Marina is just awesome, and if we needed to weather a named storm we feel well taken care of here.  And we’re loving life in downtown Ft. Myers.

But the nomadic itch is starting the creep in.

When the waitstaff at the restaurants you frequent know your “regular”- that’s two signs a nomad has been in one place too long. It’s either time to continue on this adventure, or start growing some roots into community.

So, the decision for us is pretty obvious.

Our slip is paid up until mid-next week, which will be our estimated departure.

Two routes to get to the east coast…

Now, which direction to go?

To continue on the Great Loop, we have two options – one is heading east across the Okeechobee Waterway.

The lake levels have come up to an acceptable risk tolerance for us, and it would be all protected waterways except for the lake itself which can get some considerable wave action.

The other direction is around/through the Keys.

It’s a bit more challenging for these boat newbies – a little bit of open water time on the gulf, more unknowns, more charting & navigation, more miles, expensive marinas and areas without connectivity as we cross through the Everglades.

Kiki anxiously awaiting her dinghy & davit to be installed – she’s ready to get this party started!

But it’s also the route with more interesting things to discover, some snorkeling and just sounds more FUN! And heck, what better way to learn than get out there challenging ourselves?

Once we start heading north along the Loop, it’ll be years before we’re back down this way by boat.

Now that we have our dinghy all setup and ready to go – it will make anchoring & mooring more feasible to save on those marina fees.

So, weather pending of course, our intentions are to head south to the Keys next week with stops in perhaps Ft. Myers Beach, Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades on the way.

How long will we be in the Keys? Who knows. Until we’re not?  Because you know, Y-Not.

In general, we’re aiming to start heading north up the ICW (Intercostal Waterway) this fall, finding a couple more awesome monthly stays, tackle some more boat projects and perhaps some RVing adventures too.

We’d be surprised if we made it out of Florida by end of the year.

Yup, that’s the kind of pace we’re taking.

So.. stay tuned, adventures ahead!

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15 Comments - Still Plenty of Room for Yours!

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  1. Loved your post! Cool Photos!!
    This is first time I am visiting your website and I find this post very very useful thanks for giving such a great information..

  2. Hi Y-Not Crew,

    Am so excited about your slow cruise on the Great Loop. It is exactly what we want to do in a few years when we get tired of boating in the Beautiful San Juan’s and beyond. Trying to talk the hubster into Alaska next year.

    Loving the blog posts and your transition to boating life. Isn’t it the best!!!

    Calm Seas,
    M/V Beach House

  3. Stunning skies! Could probably do without the water spout, but how exciting to catch it on video. Love the coffee house sign :-)))) Congrats on your first lock crossing – looks like fun.

  4. Hello Cherie&Chris; I’ve been following your travels for quite some time and have enjoyed your vids.
    I’m not one to talk to people on line but when you started the great loop I was happy to see you will be in my neck of the woods so to speak. Even though it will be next year or more, I look forward, hopefully, to meet you or at least wave as you cruise by. I live on the Trent canal in Ontario, and have several locks within shouting distance. Good luck on your travels! Mike.

  5. Hi Cherie,
    My wife and I did the Okechobee Waterway in a 35′ Searay EC, and our first lock was Franklin Lock, with about 11″ raise. We held the lines in our hands as well. No problems – That was easy!
    Next lock had about a 3′ raise and we were first in line on the north wall. When the lockmaster started opening the gate the in rush of water caught the bow and pushed it away from the wall, nearly pulling her under the rail and into the water. Thankfully the lockmaster saw this and quickly closed the gate!
    He then showed us how to take a non-locking turn around a cleat and pay out or pull in the line. May I suggest you learn from our near disaster?

    • We boat every summer on the Trent Severn and I agree with John as well…you need to switch to tying up on the wall with a non-locking turn on the cleat or around the ropes as it’s done in the locks on the Trent. Wait till you do the Lift Lock in Peterborough, Ontario! One of our favourites and it’s sure to impress! Happy travels to you both.

  6. This is going to be one slow traverse of The Great Loop, no insult, but I wonder if there are other folks doing this and time frame they are taking

    • There are hundreds of folks doing the loop at any one time.. some in as little as 7-9 months, and others on more our pace. 1-3 Years seem more typical. While only 6000 miles, in “RV Miles” that’s about 30-35,000 – to us, it seems silly to rush it and not enjoy it along the way.

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