Gulfport, FL – Part VI

Ben headed to Chicago at the end of February to deal with some things there. The girls and I were dreading the cold so we spent an extra week in FL before we had to fly home. It was a jam packed visit spending time with both families and our good friends. We squeezed in a couple of dinners with Ben’s family, a last minute road trip to Detroit for a couple of nights, a visit with my cousin and his wife and their precious new baby, and a 70th/40th birthday party for my uncle and sister. Ben and I even managed to see a play we had tickets for. Amazing the tickets fell when we happened to be home. And the girls made it to their cooking class. Maddy’s orthodontist appointment was canceled a half hour before she was scheduled to be there and it was on the day we flew out so that was the one frustrating part of the trip home. Phew! It was time to head back to the warmth and sunshine.

We made it back to the boat mid March and started watching weather to move south. It was finally time to leave Gulfport and head down to Ft. Myers. Our friend Ron from Chicago came down to visit and join us for the travel days. As fate would have it the wind didn’t cooperate and we didn’t move a bit. When the wind was decent in Gulfport, it was going to be kicked up further south before we would get to Ft. Myers. We had stops planned that we didn’t want to rush through so we decided to just wait it out until we had a stretch of good days. But we felt awful that we didn’t travel as planned with Ron!

Instead we continued to enjoy the pool, played in the dinghy and at the island and just enjoyed hanging out.

First up was taking on the task of cleaning the dinghy. We had to leave it in the water in Gulfport and with Ben gone for two weeks it didn’t get moved at all. And we forgot to lift the motor….oops. Big oops! When we got back we found it completely covered in barnacles and mess. It would hardly move. We made it out to the island with lots of tools, beached it there and went to work. We all pitched in, Ron complained a lot about how we told him to come visit and then put him to work (all our evil plan, and yes, he was mostly joking) and Ben did the lion’s share of the work when we all got tired.

Once the dinghy was cleaned enough to actually move we took it and headed to John’s Pass. We tied up at John and Gabi’s marina and all walked over to the pier for lunch. After having lunch there we promised the girls we could head out to the sandbar right there. John and Gabi joined us in their dinghy. We tossed out the anchor and hopped out in 2 feet of water. We spent the afternoon hanging out, playing in the water and visiting with other boaters. Once we were finished there we took a long cruise back wandering through back canals and under low bridges just to see what we could see.

Sunday was a gorgeous day. Just beautiful. We were so frustrated not to be at Cayo Costa anchored as was planned. But we knew that night the winds were kicking up and we would have been miserable at anchor. I suggested we take the big boat out! We hadn’t moved since arriving over two months prior. And with a third set of hands we figured why not. We just headed out for about an hour but it was good to be on the water. We headed towards the inlet and got out on the Gulf for a bit. It was a quick cruise so we didn’t spin the stabilizer and Maddy was unhappy when fishing boats started whipping past us tossing us around so we turned around and headed back in.

When Ron arrived he casually mentioned his 50th birthday was Tuesday! Say what?!?!?! We maybe needed a bit of time to prepare for that news! Molly baked him some scones (he said no cake), we got cards, and hung the Happy Birthday banner and lit candles and sang at breakfast. It was a rainy, cool, kind of crummy weather morning. It cleared up a tad and we headed out for a nice dinner that evening.

It was time for Ron to head home the next morning since the wind was howling and we still weren’t moving. As he was leaving, Ben spotted a mom and baby manatee in the harbor. We gave hugs and said our goodbyes and then the girls and I watched the manatees for ages.

We kept watching the weather and made a plan to finally head south in about three days. Stay tuned…we might actually move!

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