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Ten Thousand Islands

We woke to a windy but sunny morning. We were a bit hesitant with the direction of the wind and choppy water so Shaun called Towboat USA to check the conditions. We were contemplating running the inside rather than go out into the open ocean. He advised us to go the outside as the inside is too shallow and the outside would be fine today. We were escorted by 2 dolphins which is always such a thrill for me.

Let's just say it was not safe! We were in shallow waters with choppy waves and crosswinds at 20+ mph which threw us around like a cork. I have made sure that most things in our boat can fall over and not break so that's a good thing. I closed up all the portholes and we rode it out up on the helm. What was supposed to be a 1 hour trip turned out to be 3 1/2 hours as we had to head for a more protected anchorage further into the Ten Thousand Islands. Our Dinghy did not fair too well as the rough waves pulled the eye-hooks right out of the hull leaving it being towed behind us on only two of it's anchors.

All in all our old girl held up well and we only lost 3 wine glasses in all the mayhem. I patted her and thanked her for a safe passage as we breathed a sign of relief when eventually got to anchor at Hog Key at around 1pm.

Although the ocean was stormy, it was still lovely and we had healthy lunch before heading over to the 2 neighboring islands with our dinghy. We walked for about 2 hours just talking and collecting driftwood and shells. Shaun fished and I workout on the bow of our Happy Wife. A cocktail and dinner and before knew it the day was over. I made a ruling...if we ever have to call someone to check that it's safe to go, don't go!

Today we will move to the next anchorage just about 30 minutes away. We did some last minute business as we will have no signal going forward for a few days now. We left mid morning and made the short 30 min trip to the next spot at West Channel.

This is our most favorite anchorage to date. We had the spot all to ourselves which included our own private beach. Dolphins were playing near us and so we quickly took the paddle boards down and did a little trip around the mangroves. We paddled over to the beach and checked it out. It was the perfect place for our favorite thing to do...a beach picnic. We paddled back, packed a delicious lunch and took the dinghy back over for our picnic lunch. It was so peaceful and beautiful. We skinny dipped, took a nap and picked up shells as we walked. Back at the boat, Shaun fished, I painted and we made pizza's on the grill for dinner. We ate out on the bow and watched the sunset listening to music.

At 9 we left to head over the short distance to our Russell anchorage. Our windlass stopped working half way on pulling up the anchor, so we did the rest by hand and we will check on it again once we reach Marathon in the Keys. There is an ongoing electrical issue with it so not too much of a surprise there. It turned out though, that the 50 amp breaker had just tripped and so we were fine lol

We anchored and settled in to this beautiful quiet and peaceful spot. We took the dinghy up the river to Evergaldes city and Chokoloskee Island. The Everglades dates back 1000 years. We tied up at the Rod and Gun, an old historic hotel that has been in existence since 1864. A few presidents and many, many famous people have stayed here. From President Eisenhower to John Wayne, Sean Connery (and now Shaun Carcary lol) Everything in the hotel is original and definitely a step back in time. It was so cool to see that little towns and places like this still exist today. We had lunch on the huge patio overlooking the river with Sugar, the mascot dog :-)

We went back to Happy Wife after lunch. Shaun fished until the evening and I took the time to catch up on my blog and do some painting.

We got going fairly early in the morning and made our way to anchor at Shark River. We managed to skirt all the passing thunder storms around us on the way down.

So pretty with trees surrounding us, it almost felt like we were up North. We nudged our way into the deep anchorage and threw the anchor in at 12ft. That was at lunch time.

By 6 pm, Happy Wife was sitting fair and square in the mud with a foot of water around us! The outgoing tide took 10ft of water with it. We read up on every anchorage before heading over to new one, but this one left us clueless and dumbstruck at the sheer volume that just disappeared! Anyway, all we could do was wait it for high tide to move again.

So, I took a lovely sunset bath and we made dinner on the grill as we could not turn the generator on without the water intake of course. I set the table with linens and we just decided to enjoy the time and watch the tide come in so we had a little relaunch dinner party lol

We knew we'd be in for a late night. We moved the boat further out into deeper waters at 1.30am.

We had a few hours of sleep and left at 8 am sharp to beat the Florida thunderstorms that are usual for this time of year. We just shake our head at the adventure that this boating lifestyle has brought us. It is never boring...that's for sure!

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