– By Captain John Queen, Past Commodore, Cape Coral Cruise Club

The Cape Coral Cruise Club has monthly cruises to a variety of destinations in SW Florida. For the month of February 2017, that destination was the popular Pink Shell Resort and Marina on Fort Myers Beach. There was a good turnout with 17 club boats that made the trip ranging in size from 30 to 50 feet. Most of the boats arrived Tuesday, February 21st with fairly decent weather on their bow. Many boats waited until slack tide before arriving, as past experience knows, it is tricky trying to dock at Pink Shell in strong tidal currents. Since my wife Pati and I were the cruise leaders for this event, we were one of the first boats to arrive.  We slid “Semper Paratus” into slip 20 around 10:30 AM just as inbound current was subsiding.  Dockmaster Dave and his sidekick Craig did an excellent job in getting us and all other boats safely into assigned slips.

Tuesday afternoon was a time for relaxing and catching up with nautical conversation with other club members. At 4:30 PM, the members crowded the marina upper deck for our traditional Docktail hour with chips, pretzels and the like. As in the past, the marina has provided our club with a conference room at the resort, and this outing was no exception. At 6:00 PM club members convened in the conference room carrying food for the scheduled 1st night potluck. It’s always amazing how much love and innovation goes into the preparation of food in this club – members never go back to their boats hungry.

After dinner, club members anxiously waited for me to describe the fun and games portion of the evening. I had told them previously that we were going to play “The Awful Waffle Game” – with absolutely no other information provided.

As club members watched, 25 frozen waffles were stacked on an empty table in the center of the room. I asked for everyone to divide into teams of four. The object of the game “is easy”. “All you need to do is take the waffles and spread them out into 5 rows of 5 each, making sure that all waffle lines are perfectly aligned both horizontally and vertically”. I demonstrated with my hands how to do it. “After that, all you need to do is pick them up and dump them in this trash can across the room”. Again, I demonstrated how easy it was.

Each group was told it would be timed and the fastest team would win. Just before the first team started, I said, WAIT… there’s a catch!  ELBOWS…ONLY!”  (There is always a catch with my crazy made up games). Let the fun begin! It was a wild and funny sight watching these seasoned boaters trying to move and twist waffles with their elbows.  Each team worked feverishly to beat the time of the previous team. When it was over, the winning team prevailed with a record time of 1 minute and 53 seconds.  Prizes were awarded to the winning team and everyone had a good time. Thank goodness there was a vacuum cleaner in the room as scraps of waffles were everywhere!

Pink Shell pool at night

Cruise leaders on board

Elbow waffle shuffle…

Docktails on the marina upper deck

The next morning, we prepared breakfast on our boat for 38 people consisting of scrambled eggs, sausage, bagels, croissants, and juice and carted everything up to the conference room for everyone to enjoy. Unfortunately, it started raining early Wednesday, and the trip from the marina to the conference room was not the best experience. But we got everything set up, and most boaters hiked up to the room to enjoy the breakfast.

After breakfast, our next fun game began. I explained to everyone that we would be doing a scavenger hunt. There were 10 questions or riddles to solve and the winner would be based on accuracy and speed. With that, I handed out envelopes to each boating couple and told them good luck.

As they opened the envelopes, they seemed unsure what to make of it. Each sheet of paper had what seemed to be a random spattering of letters running across it for several lines. It made absolutely no sense. (Of course it made no sense! I like to make people think!) I gave them one clue: “You need to work together to solve this!” Soon people started comparing their sheets of paper with other teams and realized not all sheets were the same. Finally, some of them realized that if they held the four variations the sheet together up to a strong light, it would reveal the message” THIS SCAVENGER HUNT SHOULD GIVE YOU A THRILL, YOUR LIST OF QUESTIONS ARE UNDER THE GRILL”. And with that, off they went.

Pati and I continued cleaning up the room after breakfast and retreated to the boat. I knew it would be a while before I saw anyone turn in their completed scavenger hunt questions. Some teams decided to wait for the rain to subside, while I saw other teams out there with their umbrellas and a wet sheet of paper trying to solve the riddles. As the day went on, the answer sheets started to trickle in. There were 8 teams that braved the weather and handed sheets in. I told everyone the results and winners would be announced at dinner that night. The rest of the day was spent by club members at the pool, walking the beach, shopping at Times Square, or simply ‘chillaxing’ on their boat.

At 6:00 PM everyone met at Matanzas Inn Restaurant for our group dinner. We usually have a group dinner on our cruises where other club members join us by land yacht. This outing was no exception as we had a total of 43 club members at the restaurant. The results of the scavenger hunt were revealed and prizes were awarded to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place team. Everyone had a great dining experience at the Matanzas Inn and left will full stomachs. Since we had a number of people arrive by car, they were able to shuttle the boaters back to the marina and save them the 20 minute walk.

Thursday morning, we prepared another breakfast for all the boaters. Fortunately, there was no rain and we were able to set everything up rather quickly.  After breakfast, some of the ladies stayed in the conference room to play cards, while others took walks, went back to their boats or simply enjoyed the Pink Shell Resort amenities. The weather was great most of the day.

Thursday night, club members headed off in different directions for dinner. On our club cruises, we usually designate Thursday night as ‘on your own’. Most of the boaters ended up at a handful of different restaurants on Ft Myers Beach.

Friday morning came too soon, and everyone prepared their boats for the journey home. Some boaters left early in the morning while others were in no hurry to get underway. The Pink Shell cruise was another great boating experience for members of the Cape Coral Cruise Club.

The Cape Coral Cruise Club is open to new members who own a boat with overnight accommodations and reside in the Cape Coral / Ft. Myers area. For membership information please contact Phil Kryger at 239-541-0236. Read additional Club information on its website, www.c-c-c-c.org  Like us on Facebook.

Previous reading
Bridge Maintenance Impacts Lake Okeechobee Boaters at Torrey Island
Next reading
Early March SW Florida Fishing Report