One of the reasons we decided to stick around Ft. Myers for another month is family.
Chris’ dad had open heart surgery a few weeks ago, and we’ve been on pins & needles during his recovery. We wanted to be near a major airport in a safe place, just in case.
His family was also planning a reunion at the end of July in St. Louis – which would be a great opportunity to catch up with a lot of folks at once.
Thankfully, Chris’ dad came through surgery with flying colors, and they were up for company for the reunion. So, off we went!
My mother, now having stayed on the boat multiple times with us, offered to come stay aboard and keep Kiki company.
We’re of course entering active hurricane season, which has us hyper alert for possible brewing trouble.
We check the National Hurricane Center several times a day.
Another reason for sticking to Ft. Myers is that we feel safe at Legacy Harbour Marina should a storm emerge while we were on this trip.
When we took our bus trip back in May, there were some pretty intense winds that picked up – and the staff here took excellent care of our boat.
With no storms on the horizon in advance of this trip, we felt safe leaving “just in case” extra lines on the boat in our current slip, but not going to any extremes for storm prep. Otherwise, we might have moved the boat to a more protected slip, or took down the bimini and window coverings (which help keep down the heat inside – also important).
So off we flew to St. Louis to enjoy some time with the family last Thursday.
On our Sunday Morning weather check, we noticed an area of disturbance right off the west coast of Florida.
What?!? Tropical Storm Emily
I refreshed the screen, certainly that couldn’t be right.
Nope, we had an area of concern not too far away. Thankfully, there wasn’t much prediction of development and it looked like mostly a bunch of rain.
“Hey Mom.. have you been watching the weather?”
We coached her on some basic things to be prepared for – where known leaks are to put towels under and where extra lines are if needed. We also decided if she could find some help to get the rear bimini down in case the winds picked up.
Thankfully one of our friendly dock neighbors was happy to help her get the bimini down and secured (thanks Larry!).
On Monday morning we woke up early and the disturbance had been upgraded to a Tropical Depression in the wee hours of the morning.
And just moments later, it was upgraded to Tropical Storm Emily and rapidly coming ashore near Tampa. However, most of the storm concentration was to the south – right on top of Y-Not.
Yup, we’d be having our very first named storm since moving aboard – and we’d not only NOT be there for it, my mom was aboard with a seasick cat (poor Kiki!).
Aye carumba. This was totally not what we planned!
We were a bit of a nervous wreck being so far away.
My Mom is Badass!
But I just gotta say, my mom is pretty badass.
She not only got storm preps done, she rode it out aboard knowing at any moment she could head to the marina office and likely check into the onsite motel.
Aside from a lot of rain and a lot of rocking and rolling – Tropical Storm Emily was kind to us. It was more like an extended afternoon thunderstorm.
Here’s a quick few second video my mom shot during the storm:
However, my mom does request we install seatbelts in the bathroom.
(And apparently, storms only happen when we leave the boat. So, no more leaving the boat and we should be good the rest of the season, right?)
St. Louis Family Reunion
Despite being constantly worried about mom, the cat and the boat back home – we had a very enjoyable St. Louis visit. We took Allegiant Air, who offers non-stop service from Punta Gorda to Belleville, IL (not to far from the family).
It was great to catch up with everyone, and of course seeing Chris’ dad on a rapid healing path from his surgery.
It was a short but event packed trip, and we returned home on Tuesday to start preps for casting off!
Assuming weather remains clear, we’ll be steaming away later this week to continue this Great Loop Adventure! My mom will be joining us for the first leg before returning home to the east coast of Florida.
Our general intentions are to watch the weather, and make our way down to the Keys. Sometime in the fall, we’ll start heading up the east coast of Florida, likely ending up somewhere central coast by end of the year.
Want to Cruise with Us?
We wish our boat was big enough to take you all along, but I don’t think you’d all fit in our little guest cabin. Nor do we have enough life jackets.
But we would like to invite you to cruise with us this winter.
We’ve just booked ourselves aboard the Holland America Eurodam for the first ever Xscaper’s Cruise Convergence from November 26 – December 3.
This will be a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise with some awesome RVers (and the aforementioned badass mom). The Xscapers have even tracked down information on RV storage and pet sitting options in the Ft. Lauderdale area.
You can learn more here: Eastern Caribbean Cruise Convergence