SAILS 1990 45 Florida Bay Coaster
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Wednesday, 21 November 2012
RI to FL - Day 37
Moore Haven, FL to Cape Coral, FL
We departed from the Moore Haven at about 0800 and headed west on the Okeechobee Waterway… destination for the night to be Fort Myers – Cape Coral area.

We had a few bridges and two locks to deal with today… first to come up was the the Ortona Lock. We arrived at 0945 and waited only a couple of minutes before we got a green light to enter the lock. We were about 8 feet and departed at 1005. This lock does no have very good help… in fact they do not help you at all… the lines are left hanging and are wet and slimy from being in the water all the time… the lines are nasty.

Next we came to the Labelle Bridge and we requested an opening and did not even have to slow down… bridge tender was on his game.

Then we came to the Fort Denaud Swing Bridge… normally, this is the nicest older woman that comes out to open the bridge… they have to walk out from shore to the center of the swing to operate it… today it was an older gentlemen and he was in no hurry to walk out to the center of the span… in fact while watching him I was worried he might not make it all the way. He did make it and was very firm with us on the VHF to not to proceed through the bridge until he gave us the “ok” on the VHF to proceed. The bridge swings away from you so you can easily enter long before it is full open but today we had to wait till it was fully open and he gave us the “ok”… so we did wait a 10 – 15 minutes at this bridge.

Next up the Alva Bridge and we again requested an opening… no wait whatsoever… again the bridge tender had the bridge open and ready for us well before needed.

Final lock was next… Franklin Lock and when we arrived at 1334 the gates had just opened and an east bound sailboat was exitng the lock… we got the green light to enter and were in the lock… lowered 3 feet and back underway at 1347…. Very nice!

Then we came to the last bridge for the day… Wilson Pigott Bridge which we requested an opening and this bridge tender was also on the ball… did not have to slow our speed for the opening at all… Cool!

That was it for bridges that would need to be opened for us… there was one RR bridge… the Beautiful Island RR Bridge but it is almost always open and it was today as we passed through… Fort Myers has several high rise bridges but no bridges or locks this trip… one more day of travel and we will be back to Punta Gorda, FL our final destination for the trip.

We did make a stop in Fort Myers to allow Susan to run to the grocery store for some items we needed… dog food… Beecha had run out of dog food this morning… so we pulled into some abandoned docks that used to be for a place called Shooters… it was a waterfront bar and grill a few years back and had closed… all that remains now are the docks and they are a less than a block from Publix… 30 minutes and we were back underway.

We decided at this point to proceed on to Cape Coral and a restaurant dock that we have stayed many times… Rum Runners at Cape Harbor… it is very shallow approaching and alongside these docks and we need to arrive at mid tide or higher and also leave at the same tide level… I had checked and we would be fine today for arriving and departing. We discovered this a few years ago when we woke in the morning to be listing about 10 degrees… the port side of the boat next to the dock was sitting on the bottom had to wait for more water to leave. We also discovered that if we dock closer to the restaurant the water is deeper and we do not this problem.

We arrived to the Rum Runner Docks in Cape Coral, FL and were securely docked at about 1815 at N26°32.600’, W082°00.415’.

We traveled today for 10 hours and 15 minutes covering 68.79 nautical miles averaging 5.73 knots.
Posted at 7:03 PM
Tuesday, 20 November 2012
RI to FL - Day 36
Stuart, FL to Moore Haven, FL
We departed from the Stuart City Docks at about 0650… as I was heading out to ICW I saw the RR bridge that is adjacent to the Roosevelt Bridge start to close… We would have to wait for the train to clear before we would be able to get an opening on the Roosevelt Bridge. We ended up waiting for two trains to cross before the RR opened… not terribly long time… 23 minutes to be exact.

After making both bridges we proceed west on the St Lucie River heading for our first lock… we had three locks to deal with…

1) St. Lucie, arrived at 0830, departed at 0900, we were raised 14.5 feet.
a. Between these locks we happen to hit the Indiantown RR Bridge closed for a train… waited 10 minutes here
2) Port Mayaca Lock, arrived at1217, departed at 1224, we were raised 0.5 feet.
3) Moore Haven Lock, arrive at 1720, departed at 1735, we were lowered 3.5 feet

We saw one boat all day long and it was in the rim canal of Lake Okeechobee between Clewiston and Moore Haven… other than it we were the only boat. Even the VHF was quiet today.

We arrived to the Riverhouse Marina in Moore Haven, FL and were securely docked at about 1750 at N26°49.853’, W081°05.446’. There was one other boat moored to the docks when we arrived and another boat was moored to the Moore Haven City Docks.

We traveled today for 11 hours covering 62.32 nautical miles averaging 5.66 knots. Our moving average removing the wait time for bridges and locks was 6.74 knots.
Posted at 6:13 PM
Monday, 19 November 2012
RI to FL - Day 35
Cocoa, FL to Stuart, FL
We departed from Cocoa Village Marina at about 0650… winds were down a little from when we arrived so backing out of the slip and maneuvering out of the marina was not an issue and soon we were back in the ICW and heading south. We had a long day of travel today… evening destination to be Stuart, FL.

Winds were forecast to be 15-20 knots with gusts to 25 knots but we found the forecast to be incorrect and saw winds less than 15 knots all day. It was nice for a change to have the incorrect forecast to be favorable.

The days cruise was uneventful… few boats passed us in both directions… we had the typical currents both with and against us… believe we may have had a bit more in our favor today.

The exit from the ICW into St. Lucie River was a little hairy… near low tide and by the time we reached there it had been dark for a while… and it was shallow nothing under 6 feet but I prefer to see double digits when it comes to depth.

We arrived to the Stuart City Docks and were securely docked at about 1950 at N27°12.133’, W080°15.216’. The docks must have been damaged during the recent hurricane as the dock lighting was not on and the dock had a sign temporarily closed with barricades blocking the dock.

We traveled today for 13 hours covering 84.56 nautical miles averaging 6.53 knots.
Posted at 9:30 AM
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