Swing Set

Nov 22, 201210:34 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

Happy Thanksgiving

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We stopped by Cape Harbor and found that fuel had gone down since we inquired over two weeks ago, and we filled up at $3.89 per gallon. Imagine that, we consider this a "deal." Our plan was to anchor somewhere on the southern end of Estero Bay, and by late afternoon we were almost to the end of it, having dodged several shallow spots. The shallow areas were getting more frequent, and I was getting nervous. A boat coming in the opposite direction indicated by a show of his hands that we were approaching a shallow area. That was enough for me. We turned around and traveled all the way back to the northern end of the bay and found a spot to anchor in for the night, albeit one we didn't like all that much.

The wind was predicted to settle down some on Tuesday, and once the sun burned away the morning clouds, our trip down to Naples was a pleasant one. We had the wind and waves at our backs, and the water was a turquoise blue. Once we got beyond the protection of Sanibel Island, however, the seas began building and we were jostled around some, but not as much as the vessels we saw heading north against the wind and current.

We entered Naples Harbor via Gordon Pass and were happy to be in the protection of the harbor, but then huge yachts were buzzing by on plane, washing boats away on the beaches and generally being obnoxious. Any possible anchoring spots off the narrow channel were ruled out due to the wakes of these passing vessels, and other suggested anchorages would have placed us in the front yards of multi-million dollar homes. Now, I have no particular opposition to anchoring in someone's field of vision, but the absence of other vessels at anchor in these areas sent me a signal, and that was that anchoring so may not be tolerated. By state law, we can anchor anywhere in state waters that is not an established mooring field, but that doesnt' mean the law won't hassle us if a person with some clout makes a complaint. My constitution doesn't set well with being hassled by those in charge, so I try to avoid confrontations if I can help it.

Our ace in the hole was an anchorage suggested in the Waterway Guide to be Crayton Cove, so we headed for it. As we rounded a bend in the channel, I was disappointed to see mooring balls where we wanted to anchor, and a large sign indicating to us that vessels wanting to anchor in Crayton Cove must first check in at the Naples City Docks. We weighed our options and considered heading on south to Marco Island, but we really wanted to check out Naples. Rosie called the City Docks and talked to "Deb." The mooring balls were only $10 per night, but a witnessed pump-out was required, and we had to come by the dock to get the free pump-out. Although we had pumped-out back in Cape Coral, we decided to succumb to their bureaucracy.

The wind was whipping up from the north as we made a southern approach to the dock into the wind. Rosie stood at her station with a line in hand as we got closer to the dock. I could see the pump-out station on the south end of the dock, so my intention was to first get alongside the dock any way I could, and then float back to the pump out station. Deb came out and instead of taking the line from Rosie, she started with questions, the first one being as to how long our length overall was. "If you're over 43 feet, you can't stay in the mooring field, and your dinghy is making you over 43 feet," we were informed.

I'm not going to give a full account of the conversation, but in the course of it, we drifted away from the dock and I had to make another approach. When we got in range, I suggested to Deb that it didn't seem like she wanted our business. She became a bit more contrite until we actually pulled up, tied up and I got the cap off of our pump-out receptacle. Then, she told us to hurry up because one of the "tenants" of their harbor wanted to come in and get fuel, and we were in the way. Then, as she walked away to help them squeeze into the space in front of us, I asked her if she wasn't going to stay and "witness" the pump-out as she had informed us she had to do. This did not go well.

When she suggested that we go elsewhere to anchor, I said that it was too late for that, she had missed her chance when I suggested initially that she didn't want our business. We pumped-out without any witness thereof, and then I untied and pulled away. She ran over and asked if we didn't want our mooring ball assignment. I told her that I'd find a ball suitable to our liking and I'd come back and fill out the papers, maybe even the next day. This did not go well either.

Here is Swing Set latched onto her first anchorage on a mooring ball. We didn't have too much trouble getting a line to it, but the balls here were not designed for vessels with a high freeboard. We are sitting in a cove lined with two $12 million homes. We know this because we checked on Zillow. I hope they like the view, I might wear my thong.

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