Tuesday, March 03, 2009

DeFever Rendezvous, Useppa Island, FL

We arrived at the anchorage outside of Useppa Island last Thursday. Useppa Island is a beautiful little island, north of Fort Myers, and you can only get there by boat. The rendezvous started on Friday so we anchored out with other DeFever boats until we could get in our slip at the marina on Friday. It was very fun to see all the other boats and to see friends that we haven't seen for a while. We attended seminars on Saturday morning then in the afternoon we were able to get on other boats to see how they are outfitted. Many of them are pretty amazing.The island has a beautiful walking trail through lush vegetation. There were many different kinds of orchids living in the trees.
This little beach was on the other side of the island. It was beautiful but no one was taking advantage of it because of the chilly weather. This white Ibis was posing for Rick!

Below, a most interesting banyon tree grew on both sides of the walkway.

On Sunday we took the water ferry over to another very small island called Cabbage Key, for the Sunday activities. The restaurant on Cabbage Key is where Jimmy Buffett wrote 'Cheesburger in Paradise'! A very strong cold front came through on Sunday morning and brought very high winds and the temperature dropped noticeably. Of course, with the winds that high we kept checking the lines all night long so neither of us got much sleep.

This is the restaurant in Cabbage Key. As you can see, it is plastered with $1 bills, each with a name written on it. The dinner was the last official get together and we all had a blast.

We were planning on leaving Monday but it was still very cold and the winds had not died down much. We heard that with the wind chill factor it was going to be 39 degrees so we decided to take advantage of the shore power at the marina and stay one more night. We were nice and toasty!

Tuesday morning we followed other DeFever boats into a protected anchorage across the waterway from Useppa Island. We went over to Tidehiker for drinks and appetizers last night, as did 5 other folks, and had a grand time. There is just one island between our anchorage and the Gulf so we were told that because of the storm shelling on the Gulf hside of the island is really good. Tomorrow a bunch of us will take our dingys over, have lunch and see what we can find.

Then it is on to Lake Okeechobee to cross the state and end up on the east coast. More on that later.