Blue Turtle Cruising

Fort Myers Beach to Keewaydin Island: December 26-29, 2013

Randy and I plan a trip any chance we get a long weekend or some time off. We both took a couple weeks off for the holidays (as we did last year) and decided it was time to head south. Usually when we have extended time off, we go to Cayo Costa to anchor in Pelican Bay. It usually takes us anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 hours to get there depending on the tide and current. This year for the holidays we wanted to go someplace new and a couple of folks in our marina suggested Keewaydin Island which is a barrier island just off the coast of Naples between Naples and Marco Island. We were so excited to be heading south on the Blue Turtle for the first time! We left the day after Christmas and stayed at Keewaydin for 3 nights and planned to head to the Naples City Dock on Sunday, Dec. 30th and stay for one night before heading north back to Fort Myers Beach.

Photo of Keewaydin Island taken from Blue Turtle bridge
Photo of Keewaydin Island taken from Blue Turtle bridge

We estimated that it would take us about 5 hours to get to Keewaydin but it actually took us about 6 hours. We headed out of Matanzas Pass and into the Gulf of Mexico. We could have shaved an hour off of our travel time if we came through Big Carlos Pass, but unfortunately it wasn’t high tide and it was too shallow for us. The Gulf was calm and beautiful and we had a great trip down there. We went into Gordon’s Pass and headed south on the bay side of the Island. We passed Rookery Bay and found our anchorage just off the southern tip of the island in the no-wake zone. The spot was absolutely perfect! The only thing that separated us from the Gulf of Mexico was a thin sliver of sandy beach.

Just on the other side of this thin strip of land was the Gulf of Mexico
Just on the other side of this thin strip of land was the Gulf of Mexico

One of the reasons we loved this spot was because of it’s close proximity to the beach. We were close enough to the beach that Corey could paddle his kayak over to swim, skim board and even take Sophie ashore to go to the bathroom. We didn’t bother to splash the dinghy and opted to use our kayaks as our means of transport. On one of the days, we took a long 3-hour paddle around a sliver of land. It took us by Rookery Bay and we ended up almost to Marco Island. The wildlife in the area was very active and besides the usual dolphin, we spotted 2-3 eagles as well as osprey diving for fish. We had so many options for things to do with Corey and so, for 3 days, we kayaked and went to the beach so Corey could swim, skim board and surf. The water clarity was wonderful and Randy and Corey even braved the cold water to snorkel and saw all kinds of snook, snapper and sheepshead. Of course, it goes without saying that we had the most beautiful sunsets each evening as we sat on the beach.

Blue Turtle anchored at Keewaydin and Randy paddling his kayak
Blue Turtle anchored at Keewaydin and Randy paddling his kayak
Randy tows a tired Corey on our long paddle
Randy tows a tired Corey on our long paddle
One of the Bald Eagles we saw near our boat
One of the Bald Eagles we saw near our boat
An Osprey feasting on a good-sized fish
An Osprey feasting on a good-sized fish
A Pelican finds a resting spot
A Pelican finds a resting spot
Randy relaxing on the beach while Corey and another boy on the beach talked fishing and kayaks
Randy relaxing on the beach while Corey and another boy on the beach talked fishing and kayaks
Sophie got plenty of beach time
Sophie got plenty of beach time
Keewaydin sunset
Keewaydin sunset

On our last day at Keeywadin, we had a front come through bringing with it some rain and wind. We waited through the morning for the rain to stop and then we pulled up our anchor and headed north to the Naples City Dock marina to continue our journey…

6 thoughts on “Fort Myers Beach to Keewaydin Island: December 26-29, 2013”

  1. Hi Kim
    I found your blog about a month ago and am REALLY enjoying it. My boyfriend and I have two boats we play on in the Chesapeake Bay Area of Virginia and Maryland. We go to Florida every year and rent boats when we are there but are thinking about bringing ours down next January to live on for a couple of months so I am learning a lot of useful things from your blog.
    I have a question about your trips to Cayo costa and keewaydin islands……how much did it cost in gas round trip for each?
    Also your boat looks like its hull would even notice three foot swells…. Our boat is a 27 footer…. Do you see people living aboard that size boat?
    Thanks for your input!
    Claudia

    Reply
    • Hi Claudia! Thanks for reading 🙂 I’ve seen folks living aboard on smaller boats like yours. We do have some people in our marina from up north that keep their boats down here year round. They spend the summers up north and come down in the winters and live on their boats. With the weather so nice here in the winters you spend much of your time outdoors anyway. I’ll have to ask Randy about the gas consumption. Our trawler is only 185hp so we cruise about 7 knots. With one engine, it sips fuel. In the last 2 years, we’ve only put fuel in it twice and we almost filled it up (500 gal) both times. It’s been plenty for a year’s worth of short weekend trips and a few Cayo Costa trips.

      Reply
  2. Hi Kim,

    I found your blog while googling Snook Bite Marina. We are staying there next week for 1 week. We’re coming from Marathon and will anchor at the Shark River and then, instead of anchoring in Factory Bay like we have so often…will anchor by Keewaydin Island for 2 nights….so thanks…we just hadn’t looked at this!

    We have a Defever 44, and live on it for half the year…still have a house:)

    You have a wonderful blog!

    Kim

    Reply
    • Hi Kim – thanks so much! We’ve only anchored at Keewaydin once and loved it! Looking forward to going there again soon. When you get to Snook Bight look us up. We’d love to meet you guys.

      Kim

      Reply

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