Today we left Naples and are heading a quick 10 miles to Marco Island for a couple of days before hopefully heading to Key West ahead of the bad weather later this weekend. We’ll keep a close eye on the Gulf and won’t push our luck if it’s not looking good. Right now the plan is Marco tonight and tomorrow. Key West Saturday and stay there til Monday or longer if the marina opens up and has a spot for us after the weekend. I type now as we are anchored in the crystal green, totally flat Gulf just off a little island with an aquatic preserve and lots of shells, a few miles from Marco Island.
Ben and Molly are swimming. Madelyn is thinking about it. Our friend Ron from E dock in Chicago joined us Tuesday night and is now swimming as well.
Ben’s parents flew down to Ft. Myers last Tuesday and were with us until Saturday night. We had beautiful weather and a good visit. After the two weeks of cousins and photos I failed at taking pictures last week! I only snapped a couple and then also realized I have none with my Mom and Jim either. Fail! We’re hoping to see my mom and Jim again in a couple of weeks so I’ll try to get some with them then. We had a lazy week last week. Got back into the swing of school, showed Ben’s parents around, etc. Nikki taught the girls how to knit.
We took some walks into downtown Ft. Myers. Thursday we spent the day in Sarasota, St. Armands and Longboat Key. Fred had not been back to his mom’s old stomping grounds since she moved to Chicago so it was fun to walk around and share memories of the area. Fred and Molly and Ben took the dinghy to buy fresh stone crab for dinner one night – 4th time we ‘ve done that and it never disappoints. Can’t get enough of them! Friday we had dinner with my mom and Jim in Cape Coral. Saturday we took the boat out and cruised down to see Sanibel and Ft. Myers Beach before Fred and Nikki had to go to the airport.
Sunday afternoon we finally connected with the Wilson family. It’s been months in the making! We just missed the Zomers who were so close to us but busy on Sunday. We will meet up with them as well. These are the other two families currently doing the loop with kids. Both families have kids our girls’ ages. We hit it off immediately with the Wilsons. We hung out on their boat for a bit and then headed to the pool where they were staying. We had errands to run and were supposed to go back over to my mom’s that night but the kids had so much fun that swimming turned into poolside dinner and then a visit back at the boat and it was almost bedtime when we finally peeled them away from each other. But just for a bit.
Monday morning we got to be part of a photo/video shoot for the US Power Squadrons. A fellow looper asked if we’d be willing because they had a series of videos/photos that needed kids in them. We said sure. Come to find out it was the full family. We did a couple of shots on the dock and then they filmed us pulling out of our slip as we left Ft. Myers. Not without a series of goodbyes. We build friendships when we stay somewhere for more than a night or two and the goodbyes are always hard. In addition to the wonderful people we met at Legacy Harbor the girls became close to many pets on our dock. Harper, Cora and Sophie were the favorite dogs. Harper summers in Michigcan so we hope to see her and her owners again next summer. They would run to greet and pet them every chance they could. Margo the parrot became a friend as well.
My mom and Jim joined us in Naples. Jim rode the boat with us and enjoyed the beautiful sites and houses along the way. Naples sure is pretty. My mom drove and joined us there. Once tied up the girls headed right for the pool as usual and then dinner. Fairly lazy day Tuesday. School and then lunch and then pool. Ben and I got some errands done before they headed back to Cape Coral with the car. The Wilsons arrived at the same marina in Naples Tuesday afternoon. The girls were excited to show them our boat and their dolls. Ron flew in late Tuesday night.
Wednesday we got school done quickly so we could spend all day enjoying the Naples Bay Resort. We headed to the resort pool complex with a lazy river, bigger pool, waterfall, poolside waiters and restaurant. Full day of true vacation. Not that every day doesn’t feel like somewhat of a vacation but this was a non boating, vacation day. When the kids had soaked up many many hours of sunshine and water, Molly, Madelyn, AnnaMay and Ella headed to our boat for a very involved playdate with all of their dolls. They had so much fun playing together. We all headed to Tin City just across the canal to find dinner. We had some seriously tired kids and adults last night. The Wilsons headed to Marathon today so we are wishing them a safe and easy crossing. We hope to cross paths again in the Keys or beyond.
Today is idyllic. I suppose we can’t have all perfect weather so we’ll see what Sunday brings. It makes days like today all the more perfect. We’re about a third of the way through our trip. Hard to believe. It is going so fast. We try our best to soak up every day to its fullest and be thankful for every minute of it.