Gulf of Mexico to The Atlantic – Crossing Lake Okeechobee

Crossing Florida with Mark & Julie.  Headed to Cardinal’s spring training game in Jupiter!

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Sunrise walk along The Gulf of Mexico at Ft. Myers Beach…

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The Atlantic at Stuart, Florida….”COLD!”

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And all points in between….

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Leaving downtown Ft. Myers in our wake….

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Ready for a night on the town at Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart, FL….

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Spring Training game!

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Key West for Mike’s 60th

In December, Mike went with Joe to Key West to celebrate Mike’s 60th birthday.  Along the way, overnighted at The Rod & Gun Club in Everglade City and anchored in the Little Shark River deep in the uninhabited Everglades National Park.

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Above, the chart of the Little Shark River and various waterways in the Everglades, with our position near the bottom center of the map.  Below, our anchorage…alone on the Little Shark River.

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Wildlife in the Everglades…

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Approaching the 7-Mile Bridge in the Keys…

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Our marina in Key West…

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Celebrating Mike’s 60th!!!!!

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Rendezvous with the Butlers

In June, we met up with the Rick and Sandy Butler, and their daughters Lauren and Kelly for an awesome week at Ft Myers Beach. What a way to enjoy great times with great friends!   They had a condo for the week, and our boat’s home is only 10 miles away.  So we spent much of the week together, on the boat, and on the beach.  We kept our boat for the week at a marina on Ft. Myers Beach, the Pink Shell Resort and Marina.  Nice place.

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Most nights, we checked out the sunset on Ft. Myers Beach…FtMyersBeachSunset

We celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary at Fresh Catch Bistro!  Perfect date night!
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We took the boat to Sanibel and had lunch at the Mucky Duck.  Played ring/hook and saw some manatees.

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Another two days we spent cruising to one of our favorite anchorages, Pelican Bay at Cayo Costa, for a beautiful sunset and an overnight stay on the water.  On the way we stopped at Cabbage Key for burgers.

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A little dinghy maintenance….something ALWAYS goes wrong.  Draining the gas into a salsa jar.

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And, we had some scheduled maintenance, including bottom cleaning, that I couldn’t do myself.  Six hours out of the water.

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While we were safely in the marina, a powerful thunderstorm came through and we saw a waterspout nearby.  Peggy was skeered.

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Memorial Day with the Mertens

Mark and Julie Mertens joined us for a long holiday weekend.  We headed south this time….to Marco Island for one night at anchor, then to a remote chain of mangrove keys for anchoring the second night, and wrapping up with a night in a marina in Naples.

Peggy and Julie.   Headed south in the Gulf of Mexico….

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As we approached Marco Island, dolphins played off the back of the boat for more than a mile….

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Mark and Peggy.  On the hook in Smokehouse Bay, Marco Island….

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We walked to the beautiful Marco Island beach….

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Next stop was a remote chain of uninhabited mangrove keys called Ten Thousand Islands.  It is actually the Gulf edge of the Everglades.  We anchored just off of Panther Key for the night.   Winds were calm, and the next morning, the water was like glass as we headed to Naples.

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Mark, feeling that need to stay connected 🙂

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Quick Getaway

Got out on the water for a few days in early May with Mark Mertens.  Anchored a couple of nights at Pelican Bay, then spent the last day at South Seas Plantation on Captiva. Gotta visit by a manatee during happy hour one afternoon.

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New Home for Random Plan

After completing our goal of getting the boat to Sanibel, we decided to keep Random Plan in the Sanibel/Ft. Myers/Cape Coral area for the next year.  We are so fortunate to have good friends who have a home with a canal in the back yard, and an empty boat dock!   Paul and Jane Roullard have become great mentors for us in our new boating adventures, having lived aboard their own boat for many years.  They welcomed us to keep our boat right outside their back door!  They had recently sold their own boat, and have purchased a land yacht to continue their travels.  BoatBehindRoullards

Now, each time we arrive at our boat, in the Roullard’s backyard, the first 2 miles of our cruise is through the canals of Cape Coral, passing by the backyards, swimming pools and boat docks of the beautiful homes that line one of the most elaborate canal systems in the U.S.

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Sanibel with the Hunters

In March, 2014, Mike and Peggy met John and Terri Hunter at Clearwater Beach marina to take Random Plan on the final leg of the journey from Kentucky Lake to Sanibel Island.   On the eve of our departure, we walked to Frenchy’s Salt Water Cafe near the marina for a nice dinner.  Then when the fog broke after sunrise, we headed out for the 120 mile cruise that took us through Tampa Bay, under the massive Sunshine Skyway Bridge and out into the Gulf of Mexico.

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We came back into the Intracoastal Waterway for most of the trip, passing under many bridges in Bradenton, Sarasota and Venice, before nearing Gasparilla Island, Captiva and finally arriving at sunset at Sanibel Marina.  We learned new procedures for contacting the bridge guy on the radio to let us pass.

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We stayed a week on Sanibel Island with the Hunters at a beautiful home they rent for an extended winter stay.  It provided the most relaxing view of the Gulf!

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Sanibel blue!

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Beach walks after sunrise to watch the birds find their breakfast in the surf.

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Headed out to dinner….

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We had tickets to see the Cardinals play a spring training game in Ft. Myers.  Unfortunately the only rain of the week hit just as the game was supposed to start….and it was quite a storm!  Maybe next year.

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We took the boat for a day of cruising to Cabbage Key, an island only accessible by boat, for lunch.  Then we anchored out in Pelican Bay at Cayo Costa for the afternoon before heading back to the marina.  An awesome week with with John and Terri!  Thanks so much for having us!

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