Day 1 Siesta Key-Fort Meyers FL.
Sunday April 3, 2016
Well the day has finally arrived, we will set out on our Great Loop adventure. This journey is taking place on our boat TRIPLETHREAT that we keep at our condo in Florida on Siesta Key. Now TRIPLETHREAT isn’t the typical type of Loop boat, but it is definitely a “go fast” type of boat. She is 38′ in length and has 3 x 300 hp Mercury Optimax outboards. As Captain Jim says “if we need speed, we have it” particularly if we need to outrun some bad weather (or pirates for that matter). Wait till you see the Captain’s weapon of choice!
We were up early excited to get going, BUT we didn’t leave the dock until 11:45 am as we had a lot of arranging, putting away of supplies, checking weather/tides/wind, viewing our maps and firing up our Garmin navigation system and our iPad back up navigation on board to get done. We will have to streamline our morning routine so we can get off the dock in better time, luckily we have the engine power to make time and still arrive at our next destination faster than the traditional loopers will in their trawlers.
The weather couldn’t have been nicer- hot, sunny and not too much wind for our first day. As we bid farewell to Harbor Towers on Siesta Key we headed south on the ICW thru Venice and into the “ditch”- a narrow canal. Once exiting the ditch the water levels were so low due to the low tide that we couldn’t get the boat up on plane without churning up the mud bottom so we just cruised along at 10 mph. There are 2 ferries that we encountered that travel across the ICW(distance of about 1/4 mile) from mainland to islands-1 for pedestrians only and the other to carry cars over to Cape Haze. We also saw the occasional vessel that appeared to have been abandoned at is mooring, as they were usually half sunken with no hope of recovery.
As we approached Charlotte Harbor-a large body of water about 20-25 miles across just outside of Fort Meyers the Captain decided we should “get up and go” so we cruised across the Harbor at 40 mph reaching speeds of 50 mph to get past some slow pokes. Arriving at our destination Legacy Harbor Marina at 6:00 pm just in time for cocktail hour.
We travelled 83 miles at an average speed of 14.3 mph and encountered one boat issue. We have 3 fuel tanks on board of 140 gallons each-2 are reserves that can be pumped into the main tank that feeds the engines and our starboard 1 tank isn’t pumping. What this means to us is we will only have 280 gallons of fuel to access which at this point isn’t a major issue but one that will need to be addressed at our first boat servicing in Norfolk, Virgina the first of May.
The first day ended with dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack and as we sat and looked out over the marina I said to Jim “that yellow hulled boat out there looks like a Donzi too” and guess what it was ours-obviously Bumper Girl hasn’t quite realized that we are now really on this journey together.
Living the Dream,
Captain Jim and Bumper Girl Wendy aka Buoy Babe