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Moor fun: 11th annual Cruisers Appreciation Day

April 11, 2018
Jessica Salmond - News Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

One of the most iconic photos of Fort Myers Beach is the one taken at the peak of the sky bridge - overlooking the mooring field.

The Anchorage Advisory Committee and Matanzas on the Bay co-hosted the 11th annual Cruisers Appreciation Day as a thank-you to the loyal patrons who tie up to the town's municipal anchorage.

Matanzas Inn also is the upland service provider, which helps check in mooring field boats and provides shower facilities.

Article Photos

A table full of cruisers enjoy the appreciation day.

More than 40 boaters and members of the public attended the cook out at Matanzas on the Bay.

"It's to thank people who are mooring with us and raise awareness to the public," said Committee Chair, Kathy Light.

Curt Taylor has been living at the anchorage for more than a year. He said he was impressed that the anchorage committee members and Vice Mayor Joanne Shamp attended the event.

"It makes me think they care, and I'm sure they do," he said.

He used to live in Chicago, and he's been enjoying the change of temperament in Fort Myers Beach.

"People stop to let cars in, let people cross the street," he said. "It's more laid back here."

Anchorage patrons Ken and JoAnn Earle travel down from Minnesota to fish in the Gulf. The couple are prolific fishers, and seek out red drum, snapper and sheepshead in their dingy, "Chum." When they're not fishing, they're sailing in their boat, Otro Viaje.

The friendly atmosphere also keeps sailors Dick and Kathy de Grasse coming back year after year.

The couple have been sailing together for more than 55 years. Dick says it's been 59, but Kathy says it's been at least 60.

"He's the captain, I'm the admiral," Kathy said.

Dick is concerned with the closing of Topps Supermarket, however: there's a public dingy dock behind the family-owned store, which made it the easiest access for mooring field patrons to do their shopping.

The couple has been coming to Fort Myers Beach since before the anchorage existed, but Dick said it changed everything for them once the mooring field was built.

The two have traversed the Atlantic several times, but they love to come back to Fort Myers Beach with their Tarton sloop, Endeavour.

"We love Fort Myers Beach. It's one of the finest mooring fields in all of Florida," Dick said. "People are friendly, it's secure, places are upbeat."



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