Last night we anchored in very shallow water between Captiva Island and Buck Key. The whole of this area is very low-lying and all the water between the mainland and the numerous keys is shallow. You have to keep to the marked channel, and even then, we’d been warned that there were two types of boat in these waters – those that were already aground, and those that were about to go aground.
Captiva and its neighbouring island, Sanibel, are famous for wildlife, beautiful beaches and generally being unspoilt and you can hire bikes to get around. The plan was to anchor for a night, then move on to the marina at Sanibel for a couple of nights and do some land-based sight-seeing.
The first bad news was that the marina where we wanted to stay was full, but we could ring in the morning to see if there were any vacancies. Then the bike place wouldn’t deliver bikes to a nearby jetty for us for a one-day hire. Then at 9pm, Ian suspected we were aground. We weren’t, but he decided that we needed to get up at 6 in the morning, when the tide would be right, to move into deeper water.
We got up at six and moved the boat, and got stuck.
So we now have to wait here till this afternoon, when we can float off on the high tide.
‘I’ll make a cup of tea,’ Ian said, and there was no further conversation for the next two hours.
But things are improving, as they usually do. He rang the marina again, and someone has left, so we can stay there for the next two nights after all. And I got out the tin of Brasso that I’d bought in Walmart and had a go at the decorative brass hooks in the galley (one in the shape of an anchor, and one a ship bearing two pineapples) which were badly tarnished and worked off my annoyance on them. The hooks don’t gleam quite as much as my Brownie badge used to, but they look much better and I’m having my second cup of tea.
The previous night we had stayed at Gasparilla Marina, an enormous place, but with very friendly and helpful staff and shower rooms and laundry facilities that wouldn’t have been out of place in a five star hotel.
The trip from Gasparilla was interesting, not only because of the dolpins and birds we saw, but the conversations between boaters that we overheard on the VHF radio. It turns out that we are not the only ones to be mildly annoyed by the large wakes created by some boatowners with an excess of engine fitted to their craft, but Americans are rather more polite and subtle with their insults than British narrowboaters.
‘Calling Moonwind……apparently your mother didn’t teach you courtesy.’
‘Calling Snowdrift……you sure know how to make a boat roll.’
‘Calling Bunnikins……I guess that’s your first boat.’
So far, we have neither been the recipient of such banter, nor dared to deliver any.