Friday, February 20th was our last full day in Florida. When we awakened that morning, it was chilly! And I don’t mean “for Florida.” I mean it was cold. From what we’d heard, Cape Coral was seeing its coldest temperatures in fifty-five years!
The men folk had gone to a nearby marina earlier in the week to inquire about renting a boat. They were told that no boats would be rented out during the middle days of the week due to high winds, but they’d secured a rental for Friday. I woke up that morning thinking, “I don’t want to go out on the boat! I don’t want to go, I don’t want to go…”
But of course, it never even crossed the minds of the men folk that we might cancel our boat rental. Before I coaxed myself out of bed for the day, I could hear Paul and Steve in the kitchen, making coffee and preparing to go claim our boat for the day. Once I’d showered, I descended the spiral staircase from the upper level of the house dressed in jeans, t-shirt, hoodie … and socks for the first time all week. And there was Paul, standing at the kitchen island in a pair of cargo shorts and a nylon pullover, sipping on his coffee and studying local maps.
“We’re still going?” I asked.
“Absolutely!” he replied. He didn’t have to add, but I knew he was thinking, “We’re Minnesotans. And this is not real cold.” I don’t think I’m a true Minnesotan at heart. I was cold.
I poured myself a cup of coffee, hoping the heat of it would prepare me our day out on the canals of Cape Coral. Megan soon joined us in the kitchen and the three guys left to go claim their boat, promising to pull up in front of our (newly repaired) dock to pick up us girls.
During the short time the guys were gone, I realized there was food to be used up before we left for home again the next day. So I took to scrambling eggs, cooking the remaining breakfast sausage and reheating leftover pancakes from the previous day’s breakfast. Dori wandered into the kitchen and sat at the huge island while I cooked and we ate and waited for the guys to return. And soon, they did. They tied the boat up to the dock and came across the patio into the kitchen, telling tales while they downed their own breakfasts, about how the marina workers hadn’t put the boat in the water before they’d arrived. They didn’t think we’d really still be going out on such a cold day. The guys gave them all of their boastful we are Minnesotan lines and so the boat was put into the water and released to us for the day.
When everyone had eaten some breakfast, we packed up a cooler with some drinks and bagged some snacks for our day on the water. Megan borrowed some blankets she found in various closets around our rental house and I slipped my jean jacket on over my other layers. The boat awaited us and so we all piled in.
Even though the air was cool, the sky above us was clear and blue. Rays of sunshine danced on the surface of the water as we putted up and down the neighborhood canals. And as long as we weren’t facing the wind, the weather actually didn’t feel too bad. As the hours passed, the temperature rose to a more comfortable sixty degree range and I realized I was really glad we hadn’t cancelled our boat day. There was plenty to see – the usual birds and the flying fish, some of the rowers we’d been watching all week long, not to mention the homes, properties and boats that left us with our mouths gaping open.
By the time we’d passed through the lock and ventured out into the gulf, I was able to shed my jackets, shoes and socks. I rolled up my jeans and let the warmth of the sun soak into my skin. The music was turned up and everyone was having a good time, laughing, relaxing and admiring the scenery around us.
We saw a handful of dolphins – or more accurately – we saw their fins. None of them gave us the full show, but still, it was a thrill to see them.
There was a curious floating building. (A bar? Maybe?)
There were the ever-present pelicans and just beautiful views.
When it was time to return the boat, I found myself thinking how glad I was that the guys had insisted we go out on such a “cold” day. It was an amazing way to end our week in Florida. From the marina after handing off the boat, we walked to a nearby bar and enjoyed some frozen fruity drinks out on a sunny patio before going out for our last dinner in Florida. (I had king crab legs. YUM!)
Even though home was calling to me, I knew I’d always remember this week in Florida as a special time with great friends, loads of fun, beautiful scenery, and a much-appreciated break from the Minnesota winter.
Thank you, Florida! We’ll miss you! Hope to see you again sometime soon!