After a well-deserved day off, the solar collectors on Cutter Loose are back on the job today. Sunny skies have returned to southwestern Florida. One by one, our group of four weigh anchor and carefully sound their way on a rising tide along the beach and over the shallow bar at the entance to Pelican Bay. From this vantage point, we are afforded an excellent view of waves in the Gulf breaking in the Boca Grande inlet. Catspaw and CAVU are bound for Boca Grande on Gasparilla Bay, while Island Spirit and Cutter Loose head east, then north into Charlotte Harbor.
Our destination is Punta Gorda, an easy sail of 20 miles. The forecasted winds from the northwest fail to materialize. With a favorable current, we power through the flat water of Charlotte Harbor. With its forested shoreline, Charlotte Harbor reminds us of the Chesapeake Bay. By 1:30 PM, the anchor is down in the harbor in Punta Gorda. The forecast calls for 20 knot winds out of the northwest, north and northeast over the next few days as a dome of high pressure in Louisiana gradually moves east. Since the anchorage is exposed to the north and northwest, we set the anchor carefully and pay out an extra measure of scope.
Our dinghy captains, Hayden and Radeen shuttle us ashore to explore the town, pausing to dine at a Cuban restaurant. After dinner, we are treated to an unexpected fireworks display directly above the dinghy dock. The very notion of observing fireworks in January, dressed in shorts and t shirts, is foreign to us. It has been yet another satisfying winter’s day in southwest Florida.