SAILS 1990 45 Florida Bay Coaster
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Saturday, 6 April 2013
FL to CT Day 4
Owl Creek Boat Works to Moore Haven, FL
We spent that last 12 days at the boat yard… bottom job… used a new product on the market… Eco-Clad… it’s new and time will tell how good it is.

Today we departed from the Owl Creek Boat Works at approximately 0730…. About an hour before low tide and it was very shallow exiting… depth sounder was at 5.0 feet and flashed “LAST” all the way back out to the Okeechobee Waterway (Caloosahatchee River)… a turn to port and we were on our way back at what appears to be faster than normal cruising speed for the RPM… but it could be that it’s just been so long since we had a nice smooth bottom… but it was nice to be moving at 7 knots and well under cruising RPM.

The weather was great for the most part… bright and sunny all morning and becoming partly cloudy in the afternoon with the winds picking up… had 10 to 22 knot winds out of the NE most of the afternoon.

There was quite a bit of boat traffic out… it is Saturday so I expect more than during the week but this area is not a huge weekend boater area… except for the fishermen… but we did see a lot of larger boats moving in both directions.

Several obstacles during the day… 3 bridges and 2 locks… Franklin Lock went smoothly and we locked through about 0830 rising approximately 2.5 feet… total of 23 minutes from arrival point to exit. Alva Bridge was next and little to no wait… same with Labelle Bridge… can’t say the same for the Fort Denaud Swing Bridge. I started hailing the bridge tender at about 1/2 out and did so several times… finally arriving at the bridge dead stop before he answered. Then they have to walk out from the shore to the center of the bridge to operate the swing… The bridge tender was… well being nice… walked very slowly. We did make it through but it was a good 15 minute wait. Ortona Lock was our last obstacle and we arrived and did wait here quite a while… the lock chamber had been used last for east bound traffic so he had to lower the water level in the chamber… 8 feet… so this took some time… we had one other boat waiting with us by the time the we got the green light to enter the chamber. We were both in the chamber and secured when I heard a sailboat also east bound hail the lock asking if he could hold it open for them… they were just 9 minutes away… well the nine minute wait was closer to 20 minutes by the time the sailboat was in and secure. We were also joined in the lock by two small 20 foot runabouts for a total of 5 boats locking through. Then we had an 8 foot rise… and with the smaller boats moving to the front of the lock I think it caused the lockmaster to let the water in more slowly than normal…. Anyway, 46 minutes after arriving we were exiting the lock continuing eastward.

We were not going far today with our evening destination being Moore Haven. We arrived to the Riverhouse Marina and were securely docked at 1445. Our location for the evening…. N26°49.860’, W081°05.446’. We traveled for 7.25 hours covering 40.2 nm. I figured our average moving speed was 6.51 knots. I removed just over an hour of time that we sat waiting for or in the locks.
Posted at 3:26 PM
Monday, 25 March 2013
FL to CT Day 3
East Fort Myers, FL to Owl Creek Boat Works
Not much of a journey today... left Jack's Marine South at approximately 0930 and cruised slowly back to Owl Creek Boat Works... I called them on the phone to be sure they knew we were coming and there was some place for us to actually tie up...

We arrived at just before 1000 and I could see they had freed up the lift bay and they were waving for me to come directly into the lift bay.

We were secure in travel lift bay at 1000. Now we only have to survive the boat yard... probably the worst thing we will have to do on our entire trip north.

We traveled for 30 minutes covering 2.16 nm and averaged 4.32 knots.
Posted at 10:12 AM
Sunday, 24 March 2013
FL to CT Day 2
Pelican Bay to East Fort Myers, FL
We spent two nights at Pelican Bay on the hook and it was very nice… had some friends Susan and Robert come out on Saturday and we spent the afternoon on the beach and that evening we had a wonderful dinner aboard their boat. Really good friends! We’ll miss them over the summer.

We departed from Pelican Bay on Sunday morning and headed south to our destination for the day Owl Creek Boat Works. For the most part the day was not very nice weather… winds steady over 25 knots and gusting into the 30’s… all protected waterway so it was not terribly rough… a little choppy. You would have never known the weather was like from the number of boats that were out and about… it was quite surprising. Guess when it comes to weekend they go out bad weather or not.

The day did improve in the early afternoon and we saw some sunshine as we passed through Cape Coral and as we were approaching Fort Myers… but as we got to downtown Fort Myers the winds started to pick up again and it appeared as if it might rain.

We did have a couple of surprises… as we passed Legacy Marina we were hailed on the VHF by a familiar voice… Sea Life… Robert Creech… nice little chat with him and then again as we passed east of the bridges downtown in Fort Myers we were hailed again by Irish Rover… Jack Driscoll another fellow MTOA member from New England… we had met him and his wife at the NE Rendezvous a few years back in Mystic, CT. It was great chatting with both Robert and Jack.

Shortly we came to the only bascule bridge we had to deal with today… Wilson Pigott Bridge… hailed them on the VHF as we approached and did not even have to slow down… the bridge tender had it open well before we arrived… it’s nice when this happens.

Quarter mile further east and we arrived to our turning point to get to Owl Creek Boat Works… made a 90 degree turn to port and about ¾ of mile we came to the boat yard…. BUT, there was no room for us to dock… a boat in the travel lift bay and 4 other boats on each side of the lift bay… do we raft??? Nope… we decided not to and left the boat yard basin and headed back out to the Caloosahatchee River.

We continued east to Jack’s Marine South… about a mile further east… we had planned to purchase some diesel fuel here after leaving the boat yard but figured we would just go there for the night and fuel in the morning and return to Owl Creek afterwards…. Hopefully, there will be some room for us to dock.

So, at approximately 1730 we were securely docked at Jack’s Marine South… they are closed on Sundays so no one was around… there is a sign on the dock… NO GAS… we are hoping this means no gasoline and they have some diesel fuel… we’ll know in the morning.

Our location for the evening…. N26°43.317’, W081°43.546’. We traveled for 7.5 hours covering 45.6 nm and our average speed was 6.07 knots.
Posted at 6:04 PM
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