And by THIS I mean the whole snowbird thing! Since leaving Fort Lauderdale on January 10th, we’ve done less cruising than the first three months of our trip, and have enjoyed the sun, warmer climates, friends, family time and each other; I’m happy to say that 4 months into living on a 43’ boat we still like each other :-).
Our friends Robyn and Terry came to visit in Fort Lauderdale over New Years and a good time was had by all! The weather was incredible; in the 80’s and sunny most days, so we had plenty of beach time and plenty of fun!
We struggled with a “next step” decision for the trip after the first of the year. We were planning on waiting for a weather window to The Bahamas but decided to put that off at least temporarily and cross from the Atlantic Coast of Florida over to the Gulf Coast. So we headed north on the ICW with overnight stops in Boynton Beach, Palm Beach and Stuart Florida. Danny’s brother Al met us in Stuart and did the Lake Okeechobee crossing with us; having hiked around the lake as part of the Florida Trail, it’s something he’d always wanted to do. We had to pass through four locks during the trip and I was really happy to have him there to help man the lines. I’d only done one lock prior to these, so I was nervous, but by the end of the trip Al and I were high diving each other on our progress. In true to Al leadership fashion, he actually taught me a better way to hold the lines – this will come in handy when we pass through the 160+ locks on The Great Loop.
So, now we’ve been in Fort Myers for a little more than a week and are scheduled to stay here until February 8th. The weather has been cooler; some mornings have been in the 40’s and the highs have been in the 70’s. I know it’s WAY better than the temperatures and snow at home and try not to complain! One morning I texted my kids to tell them to be careful driving on the ice; Shannon responded “be careful not to get a sunburn” and Ryan said “nobody really wants to hear from you today, Mom.” Evan ignored me completely! Today it’s raining and cold, Danny put his jeans back on, but we’ll make the best of it. Bottom line is, winter is better in Florida and we are enjoying some Symes time in Fort Myers and on Sanibel where Al and Barbara live.
We’re still trying to decide what’s next. We will likely continue West to Marco Island and then down the coast to the Keys before heading north again. Meanwhile there’s always something to work on so we keep busy. Also we are now on The Great Loop route; we actually have been for most of the trip, but in the wrong direction. Many “Loopers” start in Florida, so we have decided that when we start moving again we’ll officially join the 2019 Fleet.
So far we’ve traveled about 1800 miles on Done Diggin’ and we’re just getting started! I’ve adjusted to this new chapter of life but I miss my family. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone when we come home at the end of February for Danny to check in with his doctor. If you want a break from winter, come visit, we will make room for you!
Thanks for traveling along with us and stay warm!