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.
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.
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.
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…