FL to CT Day 4
Clewiston, FL to Stuart, FL
Rise and Shine at 0600… well maybe 0630 as the snooze was hit several times before we actually got out of bed. Planned departure time of 0730… cross the Lake Okeechobee and have a 30 minute buffer to make the 1130 locking at Port Mayacca Lock.
We departed with several other boats all that were at Roland Martins Marina… We were boat number two underway at 0730 just as planned. I had to back out of the marina fairway… had been a while since backing any distance… but all went smoothly.
The forecast was for 5-10 knot winds again and it was not too far off. We had a one foot chop on the lake and had a very pleasant crossing. The other boats that departed after us soon passed us and they all rushed to the lock… WHY? I have no idea as they sat and waited… some of them a couple of hours… we arrived with about 15 minutes to spare at 1115. Right on the dot… 1130 the lock gates opened and all five boats proceeded directly through the lock into the St. Lucie Canal as both gates were open for a straight through no stop passage.
Within a few minutes all the other boats were out of sight and we were alone heading east. A lot of boats passed us heading west… evidently none of them aware of the lock being closed until 1630 as they were all in a hurry to get there only to have to wait.
We had one more lock today… the St. Lucie Lock and we missed making an east bound lockage by about 15 minutes so we had to wait at this lock for almost an hour before we made it through. This was the first real delay we had to endure so far this trip. The lock dropped us about 14 feet to the level of the St. Lucie River.
We decide to change things up a little this trip so instead of stopping at the Stuart City Docks we continued on to an area we had not been into since 2011… the Manatee Pocket. A very popular well protected anchorage. We arrived to find it packed with boats… I counted 25 boats anchored in a very small area. We managed to find a large enough gap and dropped the hook.
At 1800 and we were securely anchored at position N27°09.257’, W080°11.699’
. We traveled today for 10 hours 30 minutes covering 57.0 nautical miles averaging 5.43 knots.
Posted at 5:37 PM
FL to CT Day 3
Fort Myers, FL to Clewiston, FL
Departed from Fort Myers Yacht Basin at 0730 and headed east up the Caloosahatchee River. Destination for the day Clewiston, FL.
Forecast for the day was east winds 5-10 knots… which of course was way off and we had 15-20 knots winds all day. The winds did nothing as far as the sea state and it was smooth cruising all day. The only issue we had today with waves were boats passing us with huge wakes… no radio calls… just get beside us and plow through the water creating 4-5 wakes as they passed.
Had to transit 3 locks today… Franklin Lock, Ortona Lock and Moore Haven Lock… with a total rise of al most 14 feet to put at the level of Lake Okeechobee. All the lockings went smoothly with little to no wait.
We saw tons of boat traffic today and all were larger cruising style boats. A few headed east but the majority were heading west back toward Fort Myers. We expected to see just the opposite traffic flow with a lot of boats heading back north this time of the year.
We had several bridges to transit as well and all required a lift for us to pass through… Wilson Pigott Bridge, Alva Bridge, Fort Denaud Bridge and the Labelle Bridge. They always hold you up a few minutes at each bridge but today was very nice with very little wait at any of them.
We had left Fort Myers planning to make Clewiston as we needed to be in a good position to depart on Tuesday for the Port Mayacca Lock which is on restricted opening schedule due to divers repairing the Manatee protection netting at the locks… they are only allowing lockings three times a day for a 30 minute period… 0700-0730, 1130-1200 and 1630-1700. so we planned to be in Clewiston to leave… cross the lake and be a the lock for the 1330-1200 locking. It takes us about 3.5 hours to cross the lake so we will leave at about 0730 to give ourselves a 30 minute buffer… rather be early than late.
We arrived to Clewiston at approximately 1710 and were securely docked at Roland and Martins Marina with power on at 1720. Our location for the night is N26°45.444, W080°55.118
We traveled today for 9 hours 50 minutes covering 59.23 nautical miles averaging 6.02 knots.
Posted at 4:54 PM
FL to CT Day 2
Pelican Bay to Fort Myers, FL
Alarm went off at 0400 this morning… way too early but we needed to be to Fort Myers around 1000. Plans were to go to meet my sons and families at their church for the 1100 service and then go out for lunch… the last visit till we return to Florida this winter.
I had not really slept well due to the winds… 20 knots all night long… being the first night on the hook in several months you always have that anxiety especially with winds at 20 knots. Anchor alarm was on but you sleep with one eye open and get up and check every unfamiliar noise. Everything sounds different than what you hear tied to a dock. So, when the alarm went off it was sort of a relief and I popped out of bed and had the engines running and all the electronics fired up by 0410. Susan was up and ready to assist with the anchor retrieval… 0420 anchor was up, Susan was back in bed with Beecha and we were underway.
Winds were remained at 20 knots… a little choppy but fairly protected waters so it was not an uncomfortable ride at all. There was a full moon
and it was very bright out and the radar was really redundant as I could see everything well ahead of the boat.
The best part was the sunrise… it was absolutely gorgeous. For about 45 minutes the sky turned every color in the rainbow until finally an orange ball popped up over the horizon… AWESOME!
Shortly after sunrise I received an email… “Trouble in Paradise”… from Jim and Peg Healy aboard “Sanctuary”… they had stopped on Saturday night at Cabbage Key for dinner and when they tried to leave… their boat would not start… We had planned to meet them on Sunday night somewhere around Franklin Locks and continue the trip north together. Something to do with their starter.
e had planned to stop and see the kids and when done continue on to Franklin Locks… with not meeting the Healy’s we decided to spent the night in Fort Myers and continue on Monday morning. We arrived to Fort Myers at approximately 0930 and were securely docked with power on at 0945. Our location for the night N26°38.848, W081°52.211
. We traveled today for 5 hours 25 minutes covering 35.0 nautical miles averaging 6.5 knots.
We were able to spend about 5 hours with the kids and grandkids… had a great lunch at the Farmer’s Market Restaurant and ready for a nap now.
Posted at 3:18 PM