Ft. Myers

Ambler Isle
V and S
Sat 4 Jun 2011 12:17
26 51N
81 57W
 Made Ft. Myers this afternoon.  When we called the Matanzas Inn for a mooring ball assignment, Shawna said we could take whichever we wanted.  And she was right, there was no one here.  Where did all the boats go?  Many were laid off from town jobs and moved on.  Maybe some found dockage for the same price in the off season.   So we motored up to a good spot and I grabbed the mooring ball painter with my boat hook.  Once grabbed, I attached our line to it and pulled it aboard.  Tied to a bow cleat, we were secure.  Valt came out to tie the anchor off.  Since we use the same cleats, the anchor tends to abrade the mooring line.  Too tired to go in to pay our fees, we informed the girl we would stay a few days and come tomorrow to square up.  She agreed.  Tomorrow we would do chores.  Thursday we would meet up with old neighbors Mike and Mary Lancaster for a beach day and to catch up on old times.  Ft. Myers is always a fun stop for us.  We chased away the last of the mosquitoes and flies and it was good to be stopped for a few days.  We enjoyed our evening.  It was good to be secure and in a calm spot. 
Next morning, the mooring field guy, Boo-ka, stopped by to see if we'd registered our vessel.  We explained we'd called Shawna in the office yesterday, and would go in today to pay.  He looked at the boat and asked her size.  "Wow, that is too big for this mooring field."  You'll have to move."  To where? " The ball right next door. "  He said, "If someone ties to the ball behind you, you will be in their space and have to move."     In this empty mooring field?  So I explained that tying to a mooring ball has some danger to it, and we'd like to stay where we are.  He finally agreed.  Seems he enjoys being on an authority trip. 
After doing a little dinghy maintenance, we went to register and do some laundry.  Compared to a minimum $4 wash and $4 dry in the Bahamas, this laundromat seems free.   At $1.25 each, it was a deal.  We'd dinghy up the river to the local Publix grocery store, too.  Then walk the little town and enjoy a dinner out.  Ah, to be in the civilized world again.
Imagine our surprise that evening when a 40' sailboat motored into the mooring field and picked the exact same mooring ball that Boo-ka had warned about.  Would we have to move?  Weren't we here first?  The sailor settled down and turned off the lights.  Next morning by 8am he motored out of the field.  He'd come late and left before the staff even knew he was there.  Saved himself a whopping $13.50 in the process.
Mike and Mary arrived at the dinghy dock at 10am.  We brought them to the Amber Isle where we caught up on the events of our lives.  By noon we moved chairs, umbrella and cooler to the Ft. Myers Beach.  We enjoyed a grouper sandwich lunch at the tiki bar nearby, then went for a dip in the sea.  The water was murky, even muddy looking.  We could not see bottom in 1'.  But many folks were enjoying the cool down, so we waded in and sat in 2' of water.  The day was a hot 93 degrees, so it was refreshing.  As usual, we enjoyed the day together, and in no time they had to leave to pick up grandkids from school.  We hoped we could see them again tomorrow, but when we checked the weather forecast for our upcoming Gulf of Mexico crossing, we decided we had to leave.  Great conditions were forecast for Sunday and Monday. Since this is the longest distance we cross over open water, we try to pick perfect weather.  This means we would have to be in Clearwater by Saturday.  Two short days to cover 150 miles.