Blue Turtle Cruising

Bringing the trawler home

photo of Captain Randy
Captain Randy at the helm

After the sea trial and survey was finished, it was time to bring our trawler home. This was a much anticipated trip for both Randy and I and we were very excited to bring our new-to-us boat home to more familiar waters. Knowing we would need the experience of my father to help guide us through this 2 day trip home from Long Boat Key, we asked him to come along for the ride. We also invited Randy’s father, who is an experienced jack-of-all-trades, to join us for the trip. Sophie, my 2-year-old dachshund, was also in tow.

photo of trawler at marina
Our halfway point, Palm Island Marina

The plan was to leave out of Long Boat Key on Friday morning and drive south to Cape Haze and stay overnight at Palm Island Marina. On Saturday morning we would then head south again through Gasparilla Sound and across Charlotte Harbor to Pine Island Sound, putting us home sometime around 4pm. The trip home was wonderful! The first day provided us with very scenic views of Sarasota’s wonderful blue waters (our waters aren’t so blue, unfortunately due to the mangrove tannins and the Caloosahatchee River). The many bridges along the way also gave us great training at learning to hail bridge operators on the radio and requesting an opening. Getting to our half way point at Palm Island Marina, was a great relief for us since we didn’t have any trouble with the boat at all. The amenities and dock masters at Palm Island Marina were all first class. The staff there was very friendly and patient with us while we tried to locate our fuel intake and power supplies. Once we were fueled up and tied up, it was time to relax and have a victory beer and some dinner at Johnny Levenrock’s before getting some shuteye.

group of people on boat
Our crew relaxing at Palm Island Marina

Saturday was also scenic and thankfully, uneventful. Once we got to Charlotte Harbor we got to see how our trawler handled some waves. Charlotte Harbor was definitely “lumpy” to say the least, and the DeFever handled the seas like an old pro. Once we got through the rough waters, we had a nice smooth ride home past Sanibel Island and towards our destination, Cape Coral Yacht Basin on the Caloosahatchee River.

Randy and I decided to temporarily keep our trawler, previously known as “Down Time”, at the Cape Coral Yacht Basin for a month or two until we completely moved onto it full time. Even though the trawler surveyed well, it’s still an old boat that needs a few updates to it to make it livable. We figured it would be a good idea to keep the boat in the same marina as my folks while we attempted our many “projects” and made use of the wealth of information my parents have on living aboard. Once we’ved moved aboard, we will move the trawler to a more permanent spot on Fort Myers Beach, where we will be closer to Randy’s son and his son’s school.

photo of dog on trawler
New boat dog Sophie, takes in the view

And so begins the process of downsizing and figuring out where to put all of our stuff. This is also the beginning of a sizable project list that just keeps growing. It seems overwhelming at first, but I think this is the beginning of a wonderfully free lifestyle. When things get crazy with work and life, it’s nice to know that all we need to do is untie the lines on Friday and stay the weekend on hook, surrounded by our peaceful landscape of water.

Here some more photos from our trip home:

view of water from trawler
Gorgeous waters of Long Boat Key/Sarasota
mast of boat under bridge
Our mast clearing a bridge
trawler driving through swing bridge
Going through a swing bridge
image of captain on trawler
Captains Randy and Steve
image of dog on boat
Sophie resting after bumpy Charlotte Harbor

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