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Saturday, 13 December 2014
FINAL DAY
CT to FL Day 33
Fort Myers, FL to Punta Gorda, Fl
We departed from Fort Myers this morning at 0800 on the last leg of our 2014 trip south. This is both a sad day and a happy day. Sad that this ends our cruising till spring of 2015 and happy that we are back to our winter home.

Being a Saturday there were tons of boats on the water going in all directions. Radio was very busy as well. We were lucky in that we had a favorable current with us most of the day and it shortened our typical 8 plus to 7.5 hours arriving at 1530 with an awesome welcoming party on the dock to meet us as we docked. Very nice to see all of our winter dock mates and I'm sure there are a few new ones we will meet.

We are docked in Fishermen's Village Marina slip B-13till sometime in April 2015 at N26°55.740', W082°03.824'. We traveled today for 7.5 hours covering 53.6 nautical miles averaging 7.1 knots.
Posted at 3:17 PM
Friday, 12 December 2014
CT to FL Day 32
Moore Haven, FL to Fort Myers, FL
The Christmas festival was small but we did get some great burgers for dinner hot off the grill at the festival and the fireworks display was short but awesome being so close.

We departed this morning at 0700 with the sunrise producing a spectacular sky. The waterway had a mist hanging over it and everything together was pretty cool looking. Destination planned for today being Fort Myers.

Had two locks and several bridges but only one bridge that we would need opened. Both the Ortona Lock and Franklin Lock went very smoothly... dropping 8 feet at Ortona Lock and 2 feet at Franklin Lock. We had the Fort Denaud Swing Bridge between these two locks which went very quickly with no delay as another boat arrived before we did and requested teh opening so the bridge was wide open as we arrived... did not even have to slow down.

Since we were stopping Fort Myers we made some last minute plans to see my two sons and their families for dinner. Have not seen them since March and anxious to see them and the grand kids tonight.

We arrived to our destination at the City of Fort Myers Yacht Basin at 1400 and were securely docked at 1415. Our location for the night N26°38.849’, W081°52.212’. We traveled today for 7.25 hours covering 47.7 nautical miles averaging 6.6 knots.

Posted at 1:41 PM
Thursday, 11 December 2014
CT to FL Day 31
Stuart, FL to Moore Haven, FL
We departed just before sunrise this morning from Stuart City Docks at 0645 and headed west on the Okeechobee Waterway. A few minutes away we reached the Roosevelt Bridge. It is side-by-side with a high rise bridge and a railroad bridge. The railroad bridge is automated and closes when a train is approaching and this morning as we approached the railroad bridge was closing. We reached the bridges at 0655 and we waited 35 minutes for not one train but two trains to pass before railroad bridge opened and the Roosevelt Bridge opened for us to pass. We would of taken this as a sign that the day was going to be much longer than planned.

Next obstacle of the day was the St.Lucie Lock. I hailed the lock 15 minutes before arrival to let them know we were approaching and gave them our ETA We arrived and instead of the lock being ready for west bound traffic he replied to my hails on the radio it would be about 15 minutes and to watch for the green light to enter. Another delay. We entered the lock at 0845 and it seemed to take much longer than I had remembered. 30 minutes after entering we exited with the lock raising us 14 feet.

This is normally all we have to deal with till we reach the other side of Lake Okeechobee. Today this was not the case. We reached Indiantown Railroad Bridge to find it closed. Hailing the bridge we were told a train was coming and we would get an opening as soon the train passed. Another train... YIKES! 20 minutes later the train passes and we again heading west with our ETA to our destination getting later and later.

Thinking we were home free at this point we hit another obstacle. The Port Mayaka Lock gates were closed when we approached. The past few years this lock has been open and you just proceed through slowly with no delay. I hailed the lock and he said he would prepare the chamber and would hail us when we could enter. 10 minutes pass and we start to see the gates open and they are opening very very slowly. Another 10 minutes and we get the hail to enter. the gates take another 10 minutes to close behind us and another 15 minutes before the gates in front of us open for us to exit and proceed on to Lake Okeechobee.

Forecast for the lake was NW winds 10-15 knots and a light chop. This was very accurate wind speed but the seas were not really choppy at all. The 3 hour ride across the lake was very pleasant. Sun shinning and just enough wave to know we were on a boat. The type of waves that would easily rock you to sleep.

Quite a bit of boat traffic today going both directions but mostly east bound traffic is what we saw. Primarily sport fish type boats and only a couple of cruisers. There are a couple of power cats ahead of us but moving much faster so as soon as they passed they were soon out of sight.

We got lucky with the Moore Haven Lock and were able to enter the lock with no delay at all and were through in 15 minutes. We had to have some luck today. We arrived to our destination at Riverhouse Marina at 1745 and had a tremendous show in the sky as the sunset kept getting more and more beautiful. Our location for the night N26°49.863’, W081°05.438’. We traveled today for 11 hours covering 62.4 nautical miles averaging 5.8 knots.

After docking we discovered that there is a Christmas festival taking place at the park directly adjacent to docks and they are going to have fireworks tonight. Our luck did change.
Posted at 5:25 PM
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