Key West back to Ft Myers

Motoring from the Keys through the Gulf of Mexico to Shark River, Duwan takes on crab pot patrol while Greg takes the helm.

Motoring from the Keys through the Gulf of Mexico to Shark River, Duwan takes on crab pot patrol while Greg takes the helm.

February 16 – 20.

We left Key West on a gloomy morning. The forecast called for AM rain, then clear for the next few days. We did get rain as we motored out the Northwest Channel. Then it stopped as we turned east toward our first destination.

Many weeks ago, our outbound trip from Ft Myers to Key West was a straight shot. We sailed overnight, making the trip in about 26 hours. We had a different plan for the return trip.

We would be motoring back through fields of crab pots. We wanted to travel in daylight only. Also, we wanted to see more of the islands of southwest Florida. We planned to spread the return trip over five days.

First stop? A sweet little anchorage beside Tarpon Belly Key. Tarpon Belly is 18 miles ENE from Key West as the crow flies. Our trip was more like 25 miles. This spot was in the Cudjoe Channel, a 12 mile cut which runs roughly north-south through the Keys. We saw a few small sport fishing boats, but it was mostly quiet.

Not as quiet as our next couple of anchorages, though. The following night we stayed in Little Shark River, where our companions were a few birds and a few million frogs. I did hear one other strange sound. I imagined it was a Burmese Python that someone had let loose into the Everglades. But when I checked the next morning there were no constrictors aboard.

From Little Shark River we went to Panther Key in the 10,000 islands. We passed Everglades City on the way, but it was hidden to us behind a few thousand of those little keys. This was another quiet anchorage, which we shared with a few more boats.

Next we anchored in Big Marco Pass between Stingaree Island and the well populated Marco Island. There was a lots of traffic here, but we were in a no-wake zone that the locals respected. Now when I’m too old to sail I think I could settle down in a condo on Marco and spend half my time exploring the 10,000 Islands in a shallow draft power boat.

Leaving through Big Marco, we could see high rise buildings all along the shore to the north. Behind us was the beautiful, lazy, beachless Florida. Ahead was a spring break destination.

We did see some loggerhead or leatherback turtles on this leg of the trip. None of them stayed on the surface long enough for us get a good picture, though.

Then, there it was. Ft Myers Beach! The land of long hot showers. But that’s a post of a different color.

Greg watches for crab pots as we motor away from Key West.

Greg watches for crab pots as we motor away from Key West.

Those crab pots are close!

Those crab pots are close!

Blue Wing hanging out at Tarpon Belly Key. Being there almost had the feel of being in the Bahamas again.

Blue Wing hanging out at Tarpon Belly Key. Being there almost had the feel of being in the Bahamas again.

Tarpon Belly Key in the fading light.

Tarpon Belly Key in the fading light.

Sunset at Tarpon Belly Key.

Sunset at Tarpon Belly Key.

Water and sky in the Gulf of Mexico as we cross from the Keys to mainland Florida.

Water and sky in the Gulf of Mexico as we cross from the Keys to mainland Florida.

View of Shark River to the east. We saw only two other boats on the river, but the river is long and deep enough that everyone was out of sight when they dropped the hook.

View of Shark River to the east. We saw only two other boats on the river, but the river is long and deep enough that everyone was out of sight when they dropped the hook.

View of Shark River to the west. (This pic is click to enlarge.)

View of Shark River to the west. (This pic is click to enlarge.)

Sunset at Shark River.

Sunset at Shark River.

Anchorage at Panther Key.

Anchorage at Panther Key.

Sunrise over Panther Key.

Sunrise over Panther Key.

Night falls on Marco Island. (This pic is click to enlarge.)

Night falls on Marco Island. (This pic is click to enlarge.)

Morning at Marco Island. (This pic is click to enlarg.)

Morning at Marco Island. (This pic is click to enlarg.)

Greg at the helm as we make out way to Fort Myers Beach.

Greg at the helm as we make out way to Fort Myers Beach.

Back in the land of water sports and beach dwelling with the high rises of Fort Myers Beach.

Back in the land of water sports and beach dwelling with the high rises of Fort Myers Beach.

8 thoughts on “Key West back to Ft Myers

  1. Jo said:

    Happy you are back. The photos are stunning.

    • Duwan said:

      Thanks Jo! Glad to be back!

    • Duwan said:

      So surprised you hadn’t heard of this before. I am sure I have seen people posting about this kind of thing in FaceBook sailing groups before. Maybe you saw the posts, but your subconscious skipped right over it for you.

  2. robert beringer said:

    Love it. Can’t wait to get back out there.

    • Duwan said:

      Yes! Can’t wait to hear of your next sailing adventures.

  3. Frank batkins said:

    So very happy for you two that you’ve found a way to live the dream. It’s obvious now why you were the stars of our class. Much love to you both.
    Frank and Robin Batkins

    • Duwan said:

      Thanks Frank! Really appreciate it!

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