Our plan on Thursday was to travel 58 miles from Marco Island to Tween Waters marina/resort inside of Captiva Island. Wind and wave forecasts were favorable (but, as we learned, not always reliable).
All was well as we left Marco Island Marina and turned to port into the Marco River.
As we passed Marilyn‘s condo at the mouth of the Marco River, there was some residual swell from waves in the Gulf of Mexico, but that is not unusual.
And as we passed through the narrow dredged channel leaving to the Gulf (“kissing the reds” to avoid shoals on the green side of the channel) I had to increase power to maintain our course against the whitecaps coming our way, but I attributed that to the shallow area we were passing through.
But… when we passed the last red ATON at the end of the channel and turned to starboard, heading north, we got the real picture. It got my attention when I saw the top of a wave roll over our bow, so we kept our speed at a modest 10 miles an hour to keep the bow clear of the three or four foot waves (with a couple fives thrown in).
When we were about 5 miles north of the Marco Inlet, halfway to the Gordon Pass at Naples, The Admiral and I decided that we could not (or at least did not want to) buck the waves all the way to Captiva and should seek a safe harbor in Naples.
Rhonda called all of the marinas in Naples, and none of them had even one slip available. One Dockmaster said that no one in Naples was going out, not even the fishing fleet.
Then I remembered a wonderful evening we had spent as guests at a private yacht club in Naples, so I called to explain our situation and ask if they could accommodate us for one night. After checking with a member whose slip was open for a few days, they welcomed us warmly and treated us well. When I tried to give a greenback thank you to the dockmaster, he refused and said “I’m just happy you’re safe.“
After a short but eventful 12 mile voyage, we enjoyed an easy evening on the flybridge playing Euchre and called it an early night!
It was a good audible!