10 April 2014 Little Shark River - Panther Key - Marco Island - Naples - Pelican Bay - Punta Gorda - Amelia Island (by car)

Even though our departure from Marathon was emotional, it always feels good to have water moving beneath our hull again and thrill at the dolphins riding our wake and welcoming us to continuing our cruising.  Our first night was in the Little Shark River which isn't an especially beautiful spot but regardless of the location, it's impossible to wreck the beauty of one of God's paintings and His gift to us as a sunset.

Little Shark River Anchorage

Marco Island and Naples have been our destination on several road trips in years past but it's astounding how contrasting a city looks by land as opposed to by sea.   What an esthetically pleasing this city that's exquisitely landscaped and maintained.
Smokehouse Bay Anchorage
Fortunately, we arrived here on Thursday which is the only night that C.J.'s on the Bay has live music outdoors.  On our bridge, we de-stressed in our lounge chairs, entertained by their music and enjoying our collations. 

Our dinghy took us around the anchorage to "see what we could see".

Kindred Spirit III at anchor in Smokehouse Bay, Marco
Esplanade surrounding Smokehouse Bay

C.J.'s by the Bay in the Esplanade, Marco Island

                   In my opinion, this is the color that water ought to be. 

We do our boating during the week and this is the reason why.  Working folks should have 2 days a week to enjoy what we do the other 5 so we leave the waterways to them Saturdays and Sundays.

              A boat full of screaming lovers of speed and wind in the face.

See this guy below.  Any boat with "rent me" or any variation thereof, give them WIDE berth.  Chances are, the captain has not a clue of protocol or safety on the water.  Naples and Marco have many of these.

Cycling in Naples is wonderful with spectacular landscaping and breath taking trees and other vegetation.  This is an old Banyan tree like the one on the Edison Estate that he thought might produce rubber for tire manufacturing.

                  They are so majestic, stately, and magnificent to behold.

In this Naples neighborhood, we spoke with some workmen who have been on a particular residential home job site for 3 years and expect it to take another 2 years before completion. It isn't even in the dry yet. Below is a small part of the owners 'quarters'.

Their story is that an "elderly couple" lived on that sight in a very exquisite home but had it demolished to build the one under construction now.  I asked, "how old is elderly?"  His answer was, "ohhhh, in their early 70's."  That guy now walks with a limp.  I wanted to show him "elderly".  This monstrosity will have 29,000 square feet with 19 bathrooms.  Don't you know they'll be ordering Tidy Bowl by the 55 gallon drums.  Estimated cost, $35 MILLION buck-a-roes!  

There was no way I could capture the entire estate.  This is just a portion of the guest quarters.

Now back to the real world as we know it.  Loved the way the wind was blowing the birds' fluffy feathers.  Sort of messed up the black hair do on the one on the right.

                      Must've not used enough hair spray this morning.

I could turn him around for you but this is the way I saw him looking down on him from the dock.

                           What a large/long bill you have, Mr. Pellie!

A downtown Naples coffee shop frequented by locals who were all very affable and chatty to a lone Sea Urchin.  

Their java is stout so when you ever feel like this little guy below, their coffee will cure that draggin' feeling.

We were riding long in the city with Bill as my fearless leader and I yelled to him to stop and come back---"there's an owl back there!"  I could read his mind thinking I must be hallucinating--who ever saw an owl beside a busy city street.

This is a burrowing owl, one of Florida's smallest, averaging 9" in height and with a 21" wingspan.  They are pint-size little birds that lives in open, treeless areas spending most of its time on the ground.  He doesn't have ear tufts but has striking bright yellow eyes and a white chinny chin chin.  Notice his long legs that give him additional height for a better view from his ground-level perch.  T-perches are being built for them in the Naples/Marco/Punta Gorda areas in an effort to protect and provide for these tiny little creatures.

From Naples, FL, we bid you adieu till next time.

April 10, 2014
Bill and Laura Bender
Kindred Spirit III


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