Bender's Cruising Chronicles #7 - April's Cruising of Boot Key - Ft. Myers Beach - Cayo Costa - Boca Grande - Punta Gorda

Keys Fisheries in Marathon
Our time spent in the Keys with old friends was totally consumed with stuffing ourselves with stone crab claws, shrimp, and yellow fin; snorkeling reefs; swimming in the warm, clear azure waters; and exploring the area by foot, bike, kayak, and dinghy.
Beach on Caya Costa Our cruise up the west coast provided a smorgasbord of nature’s landscaping punctuated with turtles, eagles, dolphins, shells---all that comprise an idyllic coastal scene. An Eagle on Caya Costa Sunsets and sunrises are such treasured times and much anticipated moments when we’re on the water. We have far too many pictures of both but it’s too difficult to decide which ones to delete.

We had a serendipity Easter morning when we were spending some time off Cayo Costa. After Googling “Easter Services” we found that there would be a sunrise service on the beach at Boca Grande Light

so, following the ends of our noses, we aimed the dinghy in that direction and lo…we landed in the right place just 5 minutes before the service began. The Resurrection Day was awakened and heralded by the blazing sun at the junction of sea and sky. Breath-taking and what a glorious start to our day!

We spent our day touring the 8 mile length of Gasparilla Island enjoying the Rails to Trails, of which we’ve been long time supporters and have enjoyed in other areas. Pretty little island on which very few live year round. Most homes are small clapboards painted a rainbow of pastels that reminded me of dinner mints…or Easter eggs!! In the evening small flat fish that flashed silver in the setting sun were mobbing our waterline. Such a beautiful end to another perfect day. Punta Gorda was our planned destination to be first-timers at a mid-April trawler rendezvous at Fisherman’s Village Yacht Basin. What a fun group of folks we met—some who are also live-aboards and some who are land-based. A couple who are boating friends from S.C. came down for a visit and to see what this trawler life-style is all about. We had a great time and loved their visit. The theme of the rendezvous was Pirates in Punta Gorda. Much to our shock, we won the costume contest!!!

Bill looked great in his dreads and I looked more like a red-headed hussy hooker than a she-pirate. We had a blast and danced non-stop till the band packed up and went home. We’re planning to stay in Punta Gorda till next month. Bill wants to get some boat projects completed and it’s a wonderful place to be. We’ve had a mini-family reunion with his aunt, uncle, niece and her hubby from NY who winter in this area and will soon be heading north for the summer.

Banyan Trees

Ol’ Bailey Dog had a 15th birthday this month! What a sweet old dog. She’s perfectly content to stay on board. She appropriately uses her little Astroturf mat and occasionally she’ll run laps around the boat’s deck which wears her out so then it’s back to her day bed for another long nap. We've, again, had a wonderful experience worshipping in a new church. The church we're attending while in Punta Gorda has been a tremendous blessing to us. We've both agreed that, without exception, since leaving our home church in S.C., we have really felt the presence of the Holy Spirit in each service we've attended, filling us to the point of over-flowing!

Bill has spent months hand-sanding the teak gunnels down to bare. He finally was able to begin applying 8 coats of Bristol, a polyurethane finish. On coat #3, Bailey Dawg went out on port deck and the freshly applied Bristol grabbed her every-wagging plume-like tail and held her tight. It was hilarious---like she was stuck to fly paper. I shouldn't have laughed because it means more work for Bill but the sight was hysterical!!! She's now minus a good hank-of-hair on that tail...and it continues to wag! Don’t know where we’ll be next month when it’s time to “report in” but stay tuned…. We’re never bored and there certainly aren’t enough hours in the day. Oh, that our days of being gainfully employed had passed this quickly. Please stay in touch. We miss each of you.

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