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Friday, March 24, 2023

Marco Island to Panther Key, anchor

Panther Key is one of the Ten Thousand Islands off Florida's southwest coast. Zoom in there on a map. Yep, close to 10,000 islands.

After the very long and crazy day yesterday we decided to keep it short today. That said, it was still crazy.

Russ had read about the inside route out of Marco that took travelers southward. Rather than go around the outside (onto the gulf) we wandered our way between some islands. Looking at the map you'd think that was an impossible task. At times we wondered ourselves.

Panther Key. Known for it's beach.
Everything Russ saw said to do it on a rising tide, which is why we left when we did. That gave us some time in the morning to dock at the Winn-Dixie, walk around Marco Island, and get some breakfast at Hoots. Then we headed out.

It was windy and twisty and very shallow a fair bit of the way. Of course, many locals knew the route and dashed by us. We didn't try to minimize any wakes, given the narrow channel and our lack of knowledge. Just as we'd experienced over the last 2 days, tons of boats all wanting to go fast, fast, fast!

We planned on stopping in Goodland to tank up on water and top off the dinghy's fuel. The worst part of the day was doing that. We got there right around lunch time which is apparently when everyone was either coming or going, all trying to maneuver around the big cat that was in their way. Meanwhile we were just trying to get to the Safe Harbor marina without needing to call Sea Tow.

Around this area were some of out shallowest reading, around 2 feet (below the keel). We got in and docked, tanked up, fueled up, and off we were, following the chart-plotter breadcrumbs we planted coming in.

The second leg of the day was a little gulf trip. Looking out a the vast water it's amazing how shallow it is around here. Once we turned onto open water we had 3 feet beneath the keel. In fact, the deepest water was at our anchorage, 13 feet.

Winds are up a bit. We'll see how the weather is tomorrow, but all the weather say a little windy but nice water. Weather wise, the trip remains lovely.

Having seen this you get a sense of confidence about where we're heading.
This was SO not true in real time! Also, the traffic jams around the docks
don't look as bad as they were when we encountered them.

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