The anchor is up in the Little Shark River before sunrise. But to our dismay, the no-see-ums are awake before our departure. Winds are light out of the east and the water is flat calm. Although the sails are drawing, the diesel engine will do the lion’s share of the work today.
Our destination is Marco Island, a journey of 57 miles. Our course takes us northwest, past the Ten Thousand Islands and into the Gulf of Mexico. In order to reach Marco Island, we must steer a dogleg course to the west of the numerous shoals that extend off of Cape Romano. Once clear of the shoals, it is another 15 miles due north to Marco Island. The highrise condominium buildings coming into view on the horizon hint at the resort character of this community.
Cutter Loose is anchored in Factory Bay, surrounded by waterfront homes, condos and marinas. The toll bridge to the mainland is clearly visible from our anchorage. In the evening, we dinghy ashore with friends Hayden and Radeen to the Snook Inn, a nearby waterfront restaurant. After dinner, we stroll along Bald Eagle Drive to the ice cream parlor. Tomorrow, we will continue our exploration of the Island.