This post may contain affiliate links Please read our disclosure for more information.
By now just about everyone in the United States has been affected, in some way, by the Coroavirus. We were very aware of the virus the weekend we were at TrawlerFest Stuart and noticed things getting a little weird when we got back. I heard of toilet paper going missing at every single store and didn't think much of it until the beginning of last week when the Shrimp Festival and St. Patrick's Day parades here were being cancelled. We had been planning to get off the dock that week anyway since it was Corey's Spring Break and so I began the whole process of trying to provision while supermarket shelves were being emptied. On Monday after working out, I decided I was going to get enough to last us 2 weeks and so began to hunt for essentials. Two and a half hours, 7 stores and a lot of frustration later I was READY to get off the dock and be away from all people!
Our plan originally was to head to Keeywaydin Island on Tuesday where we could anchor and Corey could be picked up there by his wake board coach, Nick, to go out boarding. It ended up that Corey stayed with Nick for several days to help with Nick's lessons and get some wake boarding in himself. So Randy and I decided to head to Pelican Bay and Cayo Costa State Park. The last time we'd been to Cayo Costa was exactly 3 years ago when we took my sister and nephews there for Spring Break. It was definitely time to revisit this awesome anchorage and park.
We decided to take a couple days to get there and anchored near Sanibel Island and Ding Darling for the first night. Before we left we borrowed a paddle board and kayak from our neighbor Joe (thanks Joe!) and decided to paddle around near the mangroves and just unwind. It was just what I needed to be off the dock (and the craziness going on on land) and to hear the pelicans diving for fish and the dolphins surfacing rather than all the noise and panic of the media and people on land.
The next morning, we were on our way to Cayo Costa. When we arrived, I was surprised to see so many boats anchored in Pelican Bay. It was definitely busier than when were were there 3 years ago. I think everyone had the same idea we had…to get off land and away. Still, the anchorage was peaceful and quiet and everyone pretty much kept to themselves.
Every afternoon while we were there, we'd put Sophie in the dinghy and head to the beach. We found a great little spot with mangrove coverage for shade and a view of Boca Grande Pass. It was paradise!
We did attempt to visit the Love Canal once. I say "attempt" because we didn't pay attention to when low tide was and upon arriving at the entrance we realized that the tide was just going out and we were in only a couple feet of water. We tried anyway to navigate the dinghy through the maze of mangroves until we reached a point where we had to pull the motor up and use a paddle. Randy paddled us for a while when we hit bottom in the dinghy. The water was just too skinny and with the tide going out we realized we'd be dragging the dinghy out when we were ready to leave. So we turned around and headed back to our "normal" afternoon beach spot.
Every evening we were treated to a beautiful sunset sky on the bridge. One of life's simplest pleasures is watching the sun go down while on the water.
Staying fit while cruising
With local gyms shut down (including ours) everyone has to find a way to keep in shape. A couple days in a row, Randy and I would dinghy to the park docks and would run the trails on the island. We saw a coupe other folks with the same idea while there. We'd only pass maybe 3 people while visiting the island. The park trails are wonderful to walk or run. Most are under the canopy of trees and are nicely shaded and with there being no recent rain they were dry and flat. Running the trails was one of the highlights of anchoring at Cayo Costa, that is until they closed the park on our last day there.
After trail running, back on the boat, we'd work on some strength conditioning with pushups, sit ups, squats and TRX work. I've mentioned TRX before on the blog because it's a great way to do strength and core work while cruising. It's compact, can attach to many things (mast, trees, fences, etc) and very effective. You can purchase the TRX Suspension Training system here (affiliate link).
As I mentioned, it had been a while since we last visited Cayo Costa. We fell in love with it all over again...such a great place to anchor. We had a very relaxing and peaceful time away from all the chaos that is going on in our world now. We are already planning to get off the dock in the next day or two since it appears that anchoring out is the best way to ride this virus out and social distance ourselves. We are very fortunate to have this as an option during these times and if we didn't live aboard we wouldn't be able to do this.