Visiting Marco Island and Naples

294 Days Looping
4,459.0 Nautical Miles Total (5,131.3 Statute Miles)
66.2 Nautical Miles This Week
5.8 Hours Underway This Week
10.1 NMph Average Speed
0 Locks This Week, 154 Total Locks

Monday – Jan 27th – 0 NM – In: Fort Myers, FL
Monday was a cloudy rainy day so we pretty much just hung out at the boat for the day. In the afternoon the rain stopped so I spent some time washing the boat to try to get all of the bird poop stains off, and Brenda did some laundry. In the evening we had dinner on the boat.

Tuesday – Jan 28th – 51.4 NM – To: Marco Island, FL
We were waiting for a package from our mail service that was coming by UPS. We were leaving the marina to Marco Island to visit with Sandy on Karine. At 11:00 UPS still had not shown up, so we moved over to the fuel dock, topped up with fuel and then they let us pull forward to wait. When 1:00 rolled around, and still no UPS, we gave up. There was nothing we needed right away in the package, and we are going back to Fort Myers to leave the boat when we go to Miami in February. (We finally got a message that our package arrived at 4:00)

We headed toward Marco Island which was 50 miles south. The first 10 miles back out to the Gulf were slow. Even though it was a Monday, there was lots of traffic and there are several manatee speed zones (where you have to go at idle speed). Once we reached the Gulf and open water, we opened up the throttles and ran to the entrance to Marco at 20 knots.

Marco island is an engineered community where most of the homes have a street on the front side, and a canal on the backside. It’s all reclaimed land from the dredging of the canals. Sandy and Bob keep their boat at the Esplanade Marina. The Esplanade is a condo, restaurant, shopping complex at the end of one of the main canals into the island. It’s a great spot, very protected, and has lots to do. We arrived just before 5:00 and Sandy was waiting for us on the docks. We got tied up, and Brenda visited with Sandy while I gave the boat a quick rinse down to get rid of the salt.

We love our blue hull, but if you don’t rinse the salt off quickly, it leaves spots that are almost impossible to get off, so our routine in saltwater is to dock, and then rinse down the boat before we do much of anything else. There is a product called Salt-Away, that has a dispenser that you hook to the end of a hose, spray the Salt-Away on first, let it soak for a few minutes, then rinse it off. It does a great job of removing the salt and leaves a coating that helps to prevent the salt from sticking. Excellent product!

In the evening, we went to dinner with Sandy (Bob was in New Hampshire running their construction business, he does two weeks in NH, and two weeks in Florida) at CJ’s, one of the restaurants in the Esplanade complex.

Wednesday – Jan 29th – 0 NM – In: Marco Island, FL
Wednesday we had breakfast at the Marina complex, then met with Sandy for a tour of Marco Island. She showed us the other marinas and the Old Town, then we went down around some of the high rent district with homes well over the $20 million mark. I was watching on Zillow as we were driving around and 1/4 acre empty lots were listed at $1.5 million and higher!

We stopped at Sandy and Bob’s condo on the top floor overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. What a beautiful view! (I think I may have gotten Brenda to think about condo life!). After the tour, Sandy dropped us off at the boat and we walked around the area a bit. In the evening, Sandy picked us up and we went to dinner at the Oyster Society restaurant, one of Marco’s hot spots.

Thursday – Jan 30th – 0 NM – In: Marco Island, FL
On Thursday, I spent the day starting to scrape the old varnish off of our railings. The trip has taken its toll on them and the varnish is starting to flake off in places. This involves heating up the old varnish with a heat gun, then carefully scraping it off. I got about half of the port side done. We walked across the street and did a bit of grocery shopping, then in the evening, we met Sandy again and went to Ciao Bella, a small but excellent Italian restaurant near the marina.

Dinner at Ciao Bella with Sandy

After dinner, we said our thank-yous and goodbyes to Sandy for being such a great host as we were heading out early to catch the tide.

Friday – Jan 31st – 14.8 NM – To: Naples, FL
We left Marco Island at 8:30 and made our way back out of the canals and into the Gulf. We only had 15 miles to go, and we were early for our arrival in Naples so we just took our time. There were almost no waves so I slowed the boat to idle speed and threw a fishing line into the water to see what I might catch. I got one hit, but it let go before I could set the hook.

There is a 4 mile run inland to get to Naples proper, and most of that was idle speed. The banks of the channel are lined with some impressive multi-million dollar homes. We arrived at the Naples City Marina just before 11:00, our dock was on a T-head at the end of one of the docks so it was an easy tie-up.

Because it was early, we walked to Naples Old Town which is about a mile from the marina, had some lunch, and did a bit of sightseeing. We then walked over to the Gulf shore and out onto the Naples Boardwalk (doing a Geocache while we were there). It was a hot day, in the ’80s so we were hot by the time we got back to the boat. After cooling down, I stripped the rest of the port side rails and lost my scraping tool overboard so called it quits for the day.

After we cleaned up, we took an Uber to Home Depot so that I could get a new scraper. When we got back to the marina, it was just starting to rain heavily so we ducked into the restaurant at the end of the docks and had dinner. The rain slackened to a light drizzle as we were finishing eating, so we made a dash for the boat. Our timing was excellent because just as we got back, another downpour hit! We had heavy rain and thunderstorms most of the night.

Saturday – Feb 1st – 0 NM – In: Naples, FL
The rain continued into the late morning so we just stayed in the boat working on the blog and cross-stitch. In the afternoon I spent several hours scraping on the railings and got most of it done. I just need to do some touch-up under the cleats. It was windy so I couldn’t really drop the lines to scrape under them.

In the evening, we walked to the other restaurant in the marina for dinner.

Sunday – Feb 2nd – 0 NM – To/In: Naples, FL
Sunday was a beautiful day. We started by going to the Naples Botanical Gardens. The Gardens are fairly new as botanical gardens go, established about 10 years ago. They have a walking trail that circles a lake at the center of the gardens called the Uplands Preserve. This is mostly natural Florida and undeveloped with lots of native palms, plants, birds, and critters.

The main part of the gardens is broken up into themed areas like the Asian Garden, Brazilian Garden, Orchid Garden, and the Florida Garden to name a few. Being southern Florida, they have a 12-month growing season so the gardens were all filled with blooming flowers. We walked through most of the gardens, then had lunch at the cafe.

From the gardens, we went back to the waterfront area and a shopping and restaurant complex called Tin City. Tin City is an Old Naples attraction. It is open-air, specializing in antiques and local handmade novelties. There are four separate buildings. You can buy food, antiques, clothes, seashells, candles, wine, mood rings, and much more.

After looking around Tin City, we went under the bridge to a new condo/retail complex called Bayfront of Naples. We walked around there as well, then caught the water taxi back to our marina. We were pretty beat after walking around all day, so we just had dinner on the boat and relaxed.

NEXT WEEK: More of Naples, Fort Myers Beach, and Sanibel Island

Kiss Some Frogs To Find Your Prince
Thanks for visiting! –Tom & Brenda

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