The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Naples and Marco Island

We stayed at Naples Boat Club Monday night.  To say Naples is an upscale area doesn’t do it justice.  The Admiral said the shopping district reminded her of Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills!  She was on a power walk dressed in boating clothes, and said she felt like a “bag lady” compared to all the folks dressed to the nines in Naples. 
On the dock we noticed a boat from Gold River, California, which is just east of Sacramento and not far from our home.  After dwelling on the name of the boat for a while (Champagne Lulu II), my First Mate said she thought she remembered a boat by that name in our old home port of Willow Berm, down in the San Joaquin delta.  I should have known better than to be skeptical, because sure enough, when we met the folks they were as shocked as we were to find some Willow Berm alumni wandering around Florida.  It seems they have been doing so on and off since having their boat shipped out here in 2005.  They completed the Great Loop in 2008 and since then have commuted back and forth from Sacramento to Florida to boat.  Hmmm…now there’s a thought.
Neighbors on two coasts...Champagne LuLu II
Our one night in Naples was really not enough.  However, watching the weather we felt compelled to keep moving south as there appears to be a great weather window approaching during which we can make our next offshore crossing to Key West or Marathon.  Reconnecting with Boreas and Brandy IV has been great, and we tagged along with them on the short hop from Naples to Marco Island on Tuesday.  The weather was beautiful for our cruise.
Following Boreas and Brandy IV into the inlet at Marco Island
Marco Island is another upscale area with dozens of marinas.  We chose the Esplanade, and all three of us pulled in around 1 PM. 
Approaching Eslplanade Marina, Marco Island

The shops at Esplanade from the deck of Once Around
Within an hour or two all three Admirals, (Julaine, Rita and Carrie) were in the salon getting pedicures.  Carrie even got brave enough to get a haircut.  Her bravery paid off, as the stylist listened and did exactly what the Admiral ordered.  Whew, lucky for her (the stylist).  I hung out on the dock with Fred, John and another gold Looper, Bill from Loose Stones (a gorgeous 52 Krogen Express) who we met when we arrived. 
Loose Stones with Once Around in the background

Side view of Loose Stones...she's a beauty

A couple of the loudest boats I've ever heard
Boreas and Brandy IV slipped their lines here at Marco Wednesday morning shortly after sunrise.  They were headed for Little Shark River (anchorage) that night, then on to Marathon in the Keys on Thursday.  We decided to stay at Marco Island for one or two more nights.  The weather window looked like it would hold and we were able to move our Key West reservations at Conch Harbor up from Monday the 23rd to this Friday.  
Meanwhile, the Admiral went back to the salon Wednesday morning for a manicure, and I readied the boat for the trip.  I am learning to work the chart plotter better each time (thanks again Santa) and quickly plotted our course for the crossing.  We borrowed a car from the nice folks on Loose Stones and hit the grocery store for provisions.  Later in the afternoon we launched the dinghy and cruised around to a couple of other marinas in Marco Island to see if Algonquin had shown up as scheduled.  No sign of them, so we cruised up the inter coastal a few miles north of Marco Island just to enjoy the natural beauty of the mangrove trees through there.
This one's for my niece
Returning to Esplanade marina, we found Algonquin had arrived while we were out playing and we had cocktails aboard and met for dinner at Mangos Bistro later.  It is now Zeke's (their dog’s) favorite restaurant as it actually had a couple of “dog dish” choices on the menu.  Zeke had the chicken and woofed it.  We said goodbye to our Canadian friends as they were planning on leaving around 7:00 AM Thursday for Marathon.  If everything worked out we would meet again in Key West in a week or less.

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