Ft. Myers Beach
Bob & Linda Eckels arrived in Ft. Myers Beach Saturday evening, March 13th. The next day we dinghied across Estero Bay where we tied the dinghy up and walked to the beach to check out the final day of the annual shrimp festival. As you can see, lots of people were on the beach enjoying one of the few warm, sunny days Florida has seen this winter.
When we returned to “Life’s2Short,” we were invited to join a group of boaters who were having a get-together on the patio next to Bonita Bill’s.
Mojito Sunday on the patio.
That evening we decided to try out a new restaurant called the Big Game Bar & Grill which was just down the street. They had several big fish hanging on the wall decorated in the colors of college and professional football teams.
We had to get a picture of this one for all of our friends who are Alabama fans.
Monday we took off for Everglades City where Bob had lined up an airboat ride for us. After an interesting lunch at the local Backcountry Cafe, we embarked on an hour-long tour through the mangroves. It was a beautiful day for a boat ride and we even ran across a few alligators.
Yes, this little guy is real. Made me nervous holding him!
We never did find out about the famed “Skunk Ape.” We think it’s Florida’s answer to “Bigfoot.”
After departing Everglades City, we stopped at the newly opened Big Cypress Welcome Center where they recommended a couple of other tourist stops, one being the Oasis Visitor Center to see the many alligators sunning themselves in the drainage canal alongside the highway.
On the return trip we stopped briefly at Joanie’s Blue Crab for a cold beverage and a snack before proceeding on to the Ochopee Post Office which has the distinction of being the smallest post office in the United States.
Tuesday was another nice day but none of us had seen the movie Avatar so that’s what we decided to do. We timed it so that we would arrive at the theater about 15 minutes ahead of showtime, but when we got there we learned that Avatar was only showing in the non-3D version. After consulting his iPhone, Bob located another theater about 20 minutes away that was showing Avatar in 3D. But it was only 20 minutes to showtime! So we hurried back to the vehicle and booked it across town, arriving just in the nick of time even though the start of the movie was delayed and we ended up having to wait.
Tuesday evening was American Idol and since Bob & Linda personally know one of the Top 12 contestants, Didi Benami, we ate homemade pizza and watched the show on the boat.
Wednesday we woke up to cool, cloudy, rainy conditions. Todd was up at 5:30 a.m. to help in the kitchen at Bonita Bill’s as they prepared corned beef and cabbage for their St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Bob & Linda took off for downtown Fort Myers about 10:30 with plans to just explore the area and possibly visit some museums and/or art galleries.
Shelly and Todd serving up corned beef and cabbage.
Todd, Tony and owner Bill Semmer.
As you can tell from these next two photos the crew and guests of “Life’s2Short” could almost step from the bow into the bar at Bonita Bill’s, a very handy spot to be!
Todd turned in his apron about 4:30 p.m. and spent a little time relaxing before Bob & Linda returned to take us to dinner at the Parrot Key Caribbean Grill. After a very nice meal, we hurried back to the boat to watch the Idol results show that we thought started at 8:00 only to find out that it didn’t start until 9:00 p.m. Nonetheless, we waited and watched and were happy to learn that Didi is safe for another week!
Doesn’t the Captain look festive in his St. Patty’s Day glasses?
Dinner at the Parrot Key on the Eckels’ final night with us.
After a mid-morning breakfast Thursday, Linda took me for a quick grocery run while Bob got their suitcases packed and ready to load. Bob & Linda headed north shortly after noon while Todd worked on reinstalling one of the portholes he had taken off to reseat.
Later that afternoon we dinghied across the bay and walked down the street to the Shamrock Irish Pub where Kerby, who also works at Bonita Bill’s, was supposed to be tending bar. However, the owner told us that Kerby had gone home sick. So we crossed over to the beach side and walked to Nemo’s for a couple of half-price happy hour appetizers before returning to “Life’s2Short” for the evening.
Todd got up early Friday morning and dinghied across the bay to do our laundry at the Matanzas Inn facilities while I defrosted the refrigerator. We then tackled a number of other boat projects that consumed the remainder of the day. Late that afternoon we joined some other boaters on the dock for cocktails and conversation. After the sun went down it was too cold to stay outside so we moved to a table inside Bonita Bill’s and listened to karaoke.
Could this be the legendary “Skunk Ape?”
As karaoke was winding down, several of us decided to go to Big Game for a bite to eat. Bill & Anna took their dinghy and we took ours while Mark & Therese drove. I think we finally made it back to the boat around midnight and poured ourselves to bed!
After spending a mellow Saturday morning on the boat, Todd was asked to help with the outside tiki bar for the afternoon. Peppermint Patty performs at Bonita Bill’s every Saturday afternoon and she has quite a following among the “older” population. And with it being a beautiful, sunny mid-70-degree day, they were out in force!
Sunday, from 7:00 a.m. to noon, was the Marine Yard Sale in the parking lot at Bonita Bill’s. Todd was up and about early to check out the bargains.
This is “Red Boat Bill” and his wife Annette who was selling jewelry.
By mid-afternoon the rain moved in and it turned stormy. We wandered next door to join Kendra and Avner and whoever else showed up for Mojito Sunday and then spent a quiet evening on the boat.
It was still rainy Monday morning but it cleared off nicely by noon so we decided to dinghy down the bay a few miles to the Publix behind Snook Bight Marina to do a little re-provisioning. Later that afternoon we dinghied across to Matanzas where Greg & Sandy aboard “Latitude Dancer” had organized a happy hour get-together for a friend’s birthday.
Greg & Sandy.
When we returned, we went to Bonita Bill’s where we ran in to Larry & Sheryl who we met at Bonita Bill’s on St. Patrick’s Day two years ago. Todd got a little frisky with Larry’s mother that day and they remembered us quite well!
Getting reacquainted with Larry & Sheryl.
The following photos are from 2008, courtesy of Sheryl.
Theresa (Larry’s mother) has a cramp in her leg and needs help, or so the story goes!
Dick (Miriam's hubby), Theresa, Sheryl, Brenda, Marge, Miriam
Miriam and Brenda
Todd with his 2008 St. Patty’s Day harem.
After Larry & Sheryl left, several of our other dockmates wandered into the bar.
Red Boat Bill & Annette.
Bill & Anna and Deogee from the boat “Knot Tide Down.”
Todd with his pal Kerby.
Tuesday was spent cleaning the boat and getting ready to leave the dock for points south. That afternoon we got together with some of our other dockmates to enjoy the afternoon sunshine.
Jim, Mark and Bob, each of whom currently lives on his boat at Bonita Bill’s.
Therese, Shelly, Bill and Mark .
That evening Larry & Sheryl returned with Larry’s mother Theresa. They didn’t tell Theresa we were there, so it was a surprise reunion. Thanks for coming back to see us!
Today is Wednesday, March 24th, and we are on our way to the 10,000 Islands for a few days of solitude before going on to the Keys early next week, weather permitting, to catch up with some boating friends. In the meantime, we are looking forward to being out of touch in the isolation of the 10,000 Islands!