Swing Set

Nov 25, 201210:58 AM

Swing Set: Cruising Full Time

We Leave Naples in Our Wake

We had a quiet Thanksgiving Day. I called my dad, and Rosie talked to members of her family. We didn't venture from the boat, doing some reading and enjoying some late afternoon sun in the cockpit.

Most beings save their Thanksgiving nap until after they have dinner, but Holly doesn't know anything about all that and naps when she wants. Here she is partaking in just that thing while Rosie has the turkey breast roasting in our convection/microwave oven. Even though our original microwave worked just fine, trading it for the convection model was one of the best things we did in preparing for our life aboard the boat.

We ran the generator while cooking the turkey, but still it only took about one and a half hours to roast, turning out with a crispy skin and moist inside, just the way it should be. We rounded out the meal with instant mashed potatoes, gravy, asparagus and the traditional cranberry sauce. No buns or stuffing, and no pie, but we were so stuffed from the rest of the food that a few cookies later on sufficed for dessert. One of the best Thanksgiving meals we've had. Pizza on the bed of a Motel 6 in Texas while on a motorcycle trip was one of the worst.

Sunset in Crayton Cove in Naples on Thanksgiving was peaceful. We could see the various gatherings going on in the homes that line the cove, and we both couldn't resist just a little remorse at the memory of holidays gone by, but we'll get over it.

Black Friday is a day when a lot of people go out and spend money on junk they don't need, some spending days and nights on end waiting to save a $100 bucks on a TV, but they won't take a job for $12 per hour. Our mission was to find a beer in Naples for less than $4.25, and we were successful.

Rosie, Holly and I parked the dinghy at the Naples City Dock and walked to The Boardwalk near Tin City, just a few blocks away. We entered a somewhat open-air bar called CJ's, which advertised to be dog friendly. Their website touted $1.00 mugs of draft between 4 and 7 p.m., but maintaining the website wasn't their strong suit and we found the mugs to be $1.50 instead. We found three seats at the bar and commenced to make friends.

Rosie mentioned to a fella on her right that we had toured Fifth Avenue and that she was surprised she didn't see any Christmas decorations up yet. The man lamented that all the folks there in Naples were in a depression because the election didn't have the outcome they wanted, so it appeared to be a lean holiday this year. I was wondering how they were going to cope in their million-dollar homes when a guy on my left accused us of being Republicans when he learned that we lived on a boat. We were in a no-win situation with the clientele at CJ's, it seemed.

While I was contemplating my answer, the fella on my left took a big sip of beer as I asked him, "What do I look like, freakin' Thurston Howell the Third?" which caused him to bust out laughing and spit out his beer in the process. After that, we got along fine.

 

As the evening wore on, more people walked up and wanted to pet the "cute little doggie," but when they would withdraw after doing so, Holly would put up a fuss like you wouldn't believe. I was engaged in conversation with another patron on my left when I couldn't help but hear Holly barking and snarling like White Fang. (Forgive the Jack London reference, I've been reading his best novels lately.) I looked over and Rosie had Holly held out toward a retreating customer at arms length, sort of how one would hold a .45 caliber pistol while warding off some purse snatchers. More than a few of them stumbled over the bar stools in flight of our demon-possessed dog until the bartender said we had to control our pet or leave.

While we made an attempt to settle Holly down, one of the "owners" came over and declared his bravery in the face of any animal. The young man declared himself an immigrant from Poland, being fluent in Russian, German and other languages, and also having traveled extensively in Europe, Russia and South America. I laid upon him a couple of Russian phrases that were stamped forever on my brain during my two years of required Russian language classes in junior high school. My questions in Russian of "Hello, how are you?" and "Why are your pants tied around your head?" were met with quizzical looks from our Polish friend. I can understand my butchered attempt at the second phrase, but the "Hello, how are you?" has always been answered with a "Thank you, and how are you?" retort, or something like it.

I may have fingered the linguist as a fraud, but his claim of being independently wealthy while wearing 10-year-old sneakers and a soiled denim shirt didn't ring true for us, so we decided to make a friendly exit while we were still able. I think his claim to have being bitten in the face by a pit bull recently, and having no scars to prove it, was the icing on the cake as far as his believability went. Some people think that if "you are not from around here," it means you are an idiot. We bade our farewells and weaved our way back to the dinghy dock down the safe streets of Old Towne Naples. We succeeded in our mission to find cheap beers in Naples, thank you very much.

On Saturday morning, we called the City Dock on the VHF and announced our intention of coming in to take on water, empty our trash, pump out our holding tank and pay for our four nights on the mooring ball, a lengthy endeavor without much outlay in the form of hard currency on our part. Deb wasn't around, and the three employees we came in contact with were very nice. We left the Naples City Dock on a high note and headed down the "inside route" to Little Marco Island.

Two hours later, we made anchorage just inside the Little Marco Pass, just up from a popular beach that was beginning to fill up for a Saturday. The pass is too shallow for most vessels to transit, and there is no established channel, so we anchored in the "middle" so the tidal swings of both current and depth wouldn't put us on the hard during the night.

If you have a sharp eye, or zoom in, you can see Swing Set anchored way up stream. We filed past the boats pulled up along the beach and were making our way back up the channel, looking for a place to land the dinghy and take in some of the local flavor. "Local flavor" is my code term for "Young girls in bikinis."

 

We stayed on the beach and talked to a few folks before our own "local flavor" got cold and we headed back to the boat and had a fine dinner of leftover lasagna and salad before watching a movie on our Roku player, as the TV reception here on the southern tip of Little Marco Island leaves much to be desired.

I woke at daybreak to let Holly out to do her business on the swim platform and looked down toward the beach and saw two boats sitting high and dry on the sand, as it was low tide. I was happy that I followed my instincts and anchored where we did. We lounged over breakfast with huge mugs of hot coffee and snuggled inside against the frigid 51-degree temperatures outside. The high will only be in the low 70s today, so getting in the water for any boat bottom maintenance will require my wetsuit. Being Sunday and all, it may just wait until tomorrow.

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