Thursday, January 10, 2013

10,000 Islands Trip

We did not really have time to go on this trip but the weather forcast was just too good to pass up,  Highs in the 80s is warm for this time of year, even by our standards.  It was a bit of a scramble getting everything ready and we ended up arriving at Port of the Islands launch ramp around midnight Friday.  Port of the Islands is a pretty nice facility with hotel rooms, lots of slips and a small relatively short ramp.  Of course it was low tide when we arrived but we decided to launch anyway as we had reserved a slip and stealth-camping on the boat while on the trailer was not really an option here.  We quickly rigged the boat and launched without any trouble.  Egret with her flat bottom and one foot draft slid effortlessly off the trailer.
We spent a peaceful night in the slip and by the time we were waking up John and Colette Johns, Terry Clements and Jeff Carr had shown up and were rigging their boats.  We are always extra slow to get rolling in the morning so even though we were already rigged we were the last to leave the marina.
To get out into the Gulf you have to motor or sail, if the wind is just right, down the ~3nm long Faka Union Canal.  We motor sailed until it opened up into the 10,000 Islands area where we were able to sail.  The channel out is very well marked and easy to navigate.  We hung a right between markers 16 and 17 and soon after popped out on the west side of Panther Key.  This was our first time sailing the waters of the Everglades and it felt good to finally experience a bit of this beautiful and fascinating area.

Motoring down the Faka Union Canal.

 Northern tip of Panther Key.  

Northern tip of Panther Key

 The fleet at Panther Key

 Terry's Satori looking super sharp with the new mizzen mast.


 Colette not having any fun at all.

Waiting on the fire Saturday night.

We had a beautiful sunset Saturday night, alas no green flash.

Conversation around the fire Saturday night was so engaging that we forgot to check on the boat during the falling tide ...... or was it the refreshments.

So this is how we spent the night and all of Sunday since the morning tide was not high enough to float us free. We're never going to get tired of being able to do this with impunity although visions of Scamp's misadventures in the Everglades Challenge briefly flashed through my mind when I realized we had beached at a relatively high, high tide.

Ron and I wanted to explore Cape Romano Shoals so we took off in Ron's Sea Pearl "Whisper"

Ron on lookout approaching the shoals

The famous domes of Cape Romano came into view.  This dome home was constructed in 1981 and purchased in 2005 by a family with the intent of restoring it as a retreat.  The restoration has not happened and the domes are now being claimed by the Gulf.

 There were several tents set up on the cape.

Whisper's track from Saturday

 We explored the south west entrance to Morgan Bay behind Cape Romano. It was dead low tide so we did not venture too far in.  It's a neat area and warrants further exploration.

 On the way back I got to play with the new bigger kite for the GoPro.  What little wind there was, combined with Whisper's speed under power barely got the camera flying.

Still high and dry as we returned back to Panther Key.

Colette and John came sailing back about the same time we returned.

You know the water is warm when Kristi is willingly just hanging out in it.

Jeff Sailing his Kruger

Yep still not floating and Kristi is still in the water.  We really get a big kick out of this drying out business.  It's been too long since we had a boat that could do this.

That got me onto nostalgia lane so here's a pic of our and a friend's Macs drying out at Cape Lookout NC, circa 1998.

Back in 2013 the tide finally floated us free and we left on Monday morning while Terry and the Johns remained for another day.

On the way home Ron, Jeff, Kristi and I stopped by Goodland to check out the launching facilities. The Goodland ramp looks marginal for bigger boats but Calusa Island Marina has a nice looking ramp and docks with a lot of parking.  We ended the trip with a delicious lunch at the New Little Bar in Goodland.  Highly recommend this place.  Great food and a really nice outdoor patio.  You walk in to what looks like a typical South Florida fish joint but the waterfront patio feels like you've stepped out somewhere on the Med.


  1. I'm banning your blog in my house.

  2. I'm an aspiring sailor/EC participant from Bradenton. We do own an acre on Goodland with deep water access and quick entry to the Gulf. It sits 50 yards from the 10,000 Islands and was a former fishing camp. Let me know next time you head down that way!

  3. Hi Footstepfollower. EC is a super-cool thing. Will let you know next time we are headed for the 10,000 islands. Do you follow the WCTSS? If not here's the website:

  4. Thanks for the link to the WCTSS. Looks like a great group and great opportunity to see several boats that interest me. Are guests able to tag along to one of the events?

    1. Guests are more than welcome. Keep an eye on the dates section of the website for updates to the calendar of events. Regular events should start up again when it cools off a bit, in a month or so.