The Smugglers Run – Part 1

When I told someone in Ft Myers that it only took us two years to complete the Florida Loop, he said “Oh, you mean the smugglers run” I had never heard that and it intrigued me so I did some quick internet research and apparently it was a thing for Smugglers. A continuous loop where you head into the everglades and keys in the middle of nowhere and return from a different direction so you don’t draw attention to your trip. 

The Smuggler’s Run has it all for cruising in South Florida, Big cities, amazing waterfront properties, endless pretty boats and over the top Yachts, old parts of Florida with great histories and wilderness areas out of range from the rest of the world.

So I was eager to experience the “Run”. We have traveled this stretch before so we felt a little more comfortable easing back into Looping lifestyle. On March 8, We left the Yacht Basin and started our second Run around the bottom of Florida. It was a normal cruise down the Caloosahatchee river, busy with a mix of fishing and wavemaker boats.

We were due some “downtime” so we anchored in Pelican Bay to relax and go to the beach. 










Our downtime for a few days in Cayo Costa turned into almost a week. The first few days went more or less as planned. We tried to take the dinghy across to Bocca Grande to meet Angie and Jim but there was a strong SW wind blowing and when we got to Bocca Grande it was too rough to land the dinghy at the beach and there was no public access otherwise. It turned out to be a bonus because we went to the beach at the North end of Cayo Costa where Janet found a “Piece of Eight” 



The Smuggler’s run was already yielding treasure.

Weather was predicted to come and we could not get a mooring at Fort Myers beach so we decided to ride it out at Cayo Costa. It was quite a ride, when it hit, we went from being North of our anchor to the South side in seconds. You could see the wall of water coming and when it hit you couldn’t see anything for a couple of minutes. The anchor held and we had to mop up water in the cabin but we were safe. The same storm brought a water spout onto the beach at Ft Myers Beach close to where we would have anchored, so I guess we made the right decision to stay.  After the storm we rode out 20 Knot winds for a whole day at anchor. We worked on boat projects, there are always boat projects…

Water was getting low and it was time to move on so on March 14th we set off for Ft Myers Beach










 This guy thought we got a little too close to his house.  It was still breezy but a nice ride down past Pine and Sanibel Islands.

Back into Ft Myers Beach we happily sailed.

Thanks to our old friends Heather and Mike from Sea N Stars, we got to provision at Publix and fill Nautoncall with water to carry us through the wilds of the Everglades. We had a nice dinner with Heather and Mike and spent a quiet night at anchor among the mangroves behind Snookbight Marina.









There was a good weather window to head south so the next morning we were off early to make the 38NM jump to Marco Island.

It looks like we are not the only boat making the Run.
We anchored in Smokehouse Bay in Marco as the last trip.  After we got settled we took a dinghy ride to Tiger Tail Beach.


It was beautiful, we had the place to virtually to ourselves, The sand was fine and soft, huge piles of shells and the water clear and warm. What else could you ask for.


One more day of provisioning and walking around Marco Island and then we set out Early on St. Patrick’s Day to cross the Everglades.
That’s when the incident happened.
I don’t want to talk about it.


Don McCulloch
1 Comment
  • Dennis Skinner
    Posted at 19:59h, 08 April Reply

    I am far too jealous to offer a polite comment , so I will hold my tongue until you do talk about it.

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