Every year Randy and I both take the week between Christmas and New Years off. Things typically slow down in the corporate world and my clients are usually out of the office celebrating the holidays with their families, and with Corey being out of school it makes it a great time for us to get away. Last year, we took Blue Turtle, along with Sea Crazy (Randy’s father and April) to Sarasota and two years ago we took our first trip to Keewaydin Island. We’ve been to Keeywaydin one other time for Memorial Day Weekend 2014 and we had a blast both times. We had been wanting to get back there ever since and decided that we would go this year for the holiday break.
Many folks around the marina have asked us about Keeywaydin as an anchoring destination and we always recommend it. For us, it takes about the same amount of time (5-6 hours) to get to Keewaydin as it does Cayo Costa. As you know, we frequent Cayo Costa a lot and love all the various things you can do (like ride bikes on the island, visit the Love Canal, have lunch at Cabbage Key, etc.) but the view at Keewaydin is by far more spectacular. The only thing separating you from the sunset on the Gulf of Mexico is a thin little strip of land.
Like Cayo Costa, there’s lot to do at Keeywaydin as well—you can ding to shore and enjoy the beach and clear blue water (the water is much clearer down south), if you have kayaks take a paddle around the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Reserve and take your tender ashore for dinner at Snook Inn on Marco Island. One thing that’s really nice about this anchorage is that we’ve been the only ones to anchor overnight while there. The beach is busy with boat traffic during the day as party goers cruise to and from the area, but by 4-5:00pm, we have the place almost to ourselves. This makes for very peaceful mornings and evenings.
This year, we left on a Sunday and made it to our anchoring spot around 3pm. Immediately, we deployed a kayak and sent Corey on his way to go fishing and skim boarding. We love that the beach is so close that we can keep our eye on Corey the whole time while he has free reign in the area.
We planned to stay 2 full days (Monday and Tuesday) and then head to New Pass on Wednesday to get closer to home for the New Years celebration on Fort Myers Beach. We had 2 wonderfully peaceful days at anchor and enjoyed the sun going down on the Gulf each night.
On Wednesday, we pulled up anchor and headed north for New Pass. The weather forecast called for 3-5′ seas so we were pleasantly surprised when we got out of Gordon’s Pass that it was flat-calm and beautiful. It was a perfect cruising day! We hung close to the shoreline and cruised the Naples beaches and pier and when we got near New Pass we stopped to let Corey off on the kayak with his surf board so he could paddle to the jetty to surf while we proceeded into the pass to anchor. Once we were anchored and the dinghy was in the water, Randy went to check on Corey. We had another relaxing day at anchor and watched the dogs play on the dog beach. Later in the afternoon we took the dinghy to Flippers for dinner but they had a 1-1/2 hour wait and ended up at The Fish House.
On New Years Eve day (Thursday) we pulled up anchor and headed into Fort Myers Beach. We let Corey trawler surf for a bit and again stayed close to shore so I could snap a few photos of the Newton Park Beach Cottage, the future site of our wedding. After getting into Matanzas Pass and dropping anchor we relaxed on the boat for a bit before heading to shore for dinner. Corey passed the time fishing and playing guitar (check out video at the end of this post!). We went straight to La Ola’s (a fav spot) and lucked into a table. It was a festive evening and the crowd was beginning to grow when we left. We headed back to the dinghy dock and to Blue Turtle to relax a bit before the midnight fireworks. At 10pm, the boys left to head to shore to watch fireworks shoot off the pier. I skipped it this year and opted to watch a movie in my PJs with Sophie. At midnight, I went out on the bow of the boat and was able to see the fireworks clearly. When they returned, Randy and Corey said they were incredible close up.
On New Years Day it was time to pull up anchor one final time and head for home. We were a little bummed that our time out always seems to go by way too fast. Well, until next time …