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Thanksgiving on the Water in Southwest Florida A partial shot of the 25 boats that came for Thanksgiving on Punta Blanca Island. Photo by Cindy Naumann.

By Steve Romaine

W

ind, rain, low tidal water…nothing stopped the 25 boats (22 sail) of the Caloosahatchee Marching and Chowder Society of southwest Florida from venturing out to Hurricane Hole on Punta Blanca Island for Thanksgiving. Ever been to Cabbage Key or Useppa Island in Charlotte Harbor? If one travels the inland waterway just a few miles north, on the west side lays Punta Blanca Island. Follow the southern shoreline close aboard to the west, then north and into Hurricane Hole. CMCS’s Dan Green marked the narrow entrance channel for the fleet, ranging in size from 22 feet to 44 feet. Most yachts dropped anchor and tied off to the mangroves, stern first, for the largest raft- Sharing Friday turkey leftovers on the beach. Photo by Cindy Naumann. up ever held on the island. was held aboard Judy Judy, a 41-foot Catalac catamaran. Publix’s Thanksgiving turkey dinners with all the trimTales of recent members’ cruising “screw-ups” abounded, mings—including pumpkin pie—were delivered by and suggestions were made as to whom might be given the Commodore Bill Misenheimer to the six “host boats.” Fifty honor to safe-keep the dreaded “yellow flag.” The yellow members enjoyed the feast and reminisced about prior flag (aka the “Entertainment Flag”) is a club burgee earned Thanksgivings, but all agreed this was one of the best. We by duly entertaining the cruising fleet. It must be hoisted up were sailors afloat, sharing stories, eating great “chow” and your yardarm and flown until transferred to the next memsharing the holiday with great friends. ber who makes a memorable cruising blunder. Thanksgiving evening the CMCS sailors were treated to Friday was a windy, cool, but beautiful sunny day, and a rare view of the space station and the space shuttle, “cruisthe captains took to their inflatables. Lunch was potluck ing across the sky, west to east.” (The space shuttle landed style, on the beach. Leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner in Florida the next day.) were the order of the day. Many sailors walked the beach On Wednesday, after the rain abated, a cocktail party looking for special shells and kept a watchful eye for the hog families that used to inhabit the island. Bobby Lee sailed his Hunter dinghy, Liberty, on patrol, keeping a watchful eye for the shark and the “croc” he had seen a few days earlier. PUT YOUR On Saturday, the fleet cast off the mangrove ties, weighed anchor, and most headed for Pelican Bay, off Cayo WATER Costa Island. Many yachts were anchored there already, on PROBLEMS a cool day for southwest Florida. CMCS members were welTO REST… comed aboard Kalaha for cocktail hour (usually two to three & hours). Commodore Bill and Mary’s Westsail 42 was quite a sight with so many inflatables so ably tied off by their 13SLEEP ON IT year-old granddaughter, Payton. 20-25 GALLONS On Sunday, the fleet weighed anchor and some yachts OF WATER headed north to Venice. Most headed south to their homeSTABLE ports of Fort Myers and Cape Coral. Everyone had a memBAFFLED orable Thanksgiving cruise—not to exclude the CMCS SELF-STORING canine fleet: Peanut, Jack, Misty, Lucky, Emma and Cotton (Russell and Kathleen Vance’s Shar-Pei, the best-behaved dog in the fleet!). For additional information about CMCS (the Caloosahatchee Marching and Chowder Society) go to: PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA www.cmcs-sail.org.

SA I L O R S !

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January 2010

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