It was cold last night with temperatures in the upper 40’s and lower 50’s. The engine refused to start even by jump start. While Gale tried to figure out the mechanical problems Maureen decided to make bread.
By noon, the temperature had warmed up to 60°F and Gale tried once more to start the engine. This time it started and we made the decision to travel the 30 miles to Ft. Meyers Beach mooring field where we would be able to get the parts we needed and have the warranty work done. We were afraid this might be our only chance to get there with the engine running. Of course, Blue Heron is a sailboat, but the winds aren’t always in our favor which makes sailing difficult on the inland waterways. We pulled anchor at 1pm with the promise to return to this beautiful spot and check out the park on a warmer day.
The trip went smoothly – not many boaters were out and about on this chilly December afternoon. The winds were out of the NNE at 10 to 18 knots with mostly sunny skies. We put both sails up but were very glad we didn’t have to rely solely on wind power to get us there. This was the shortest day of the year and we knew it would be nearly dark by 6 pm.
Not long after passing under the Sanibel Bridge we made our way through the section of the intracoastal waterway that boaters, not so affectionately, call “The Miserable Mile.” It is an extremely narrow channel that usually has a great deal of boat traffic. Since we were coming in so late in the day and wind was not a factor, we did not experience anything close to a miserable passage. We approached the mooring field at 5:30 pm and made a call to the Harbormaster for a mooring assignment. She told us to grab any available site and give her a call back. This mooring field is very large; it is divided into two sections with a total of 70 sites. At 6 pm we were secured at the first mooring ball we saw and gave the Harbormaster a call back. When we told her it was Ball #5, she was surprised that it was even open. After making a call to the day guy, she found out that the boat that had been occupying that site had left that afternoon but he forgot to let her know. We were very glad we wouldn’t have to move because we didn’t think the engine would start again in the morning.