SAILS 1990 45 Florida Bay Coaster
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Thursday, 10 April 2014
FL to CT Day 5
Moore Haven, FL to Pahokee, FL
Shortly after docking last night we had a knocks at the door... some fellow MTOA members were docked at the Moore Haven City docks just ahead of us. They saw our MTOA burgee and had came down to greet us... Larry and Theresa Valentine... they were traveling on their 42' Jefferson "Lauren Grace".

While Susan was talking with Larry and Theresa another woman came up and started talking with Susan. Susan thought it was the lady from the docks and proceeded to tell her we had just arrived and not yet put our dockage fee in the honor drop box. To her surprise it was not the lady from the marina but the sister of one of other MTOA friends... it was Charlotte Behr's sister... Charlotte and Peter Behr are some our best friends that we always try and stop and visit as we travel north and south each year. They always welcome us into their home.... GREAT FRIENDS! So happy to meet Charlotte's sister.

After getting settled in at the docks and Susan had dinner cooking so we took a walk with Beecha and went to better greet Larry and Theresa with a cocktail in hand. Spent a few minutes chatting with them and made plans to travel together the next day... Susan's timer went off... Dinner Ready! we returned to SAILS... nice dinner... some TV time and off to bed... long day to Stuart planned.

Alarm clock awoke us at 0630 and we went through the morning routine before departing at approximately 0715. As we left the docks I could see activity on "Lauren Grace".. Larry was on the fly bridge and yelled he would be ready momentarily and asked if I had called the lock yet. I acknowledged him and said I would call the lock.

First agenda of the day was the Moore Haven Lock that was maybe a quarter of mile away. I hailed the lock and the lockmaster said he would have it ready by the time we arrived and he did. Saw the green light and enter the lock with no delay. "Lauren Grace" entered right behind us. 15 minutes later we were exiting the lock and cruising down the Lake Okeechobee Rim Canal toward Clewiston.

A few minutes later "Lauren Grace" hailed and asked to pass... they were running just a little faster than we were... not a problem... they passed and were soon well ahead of us soon only seeing them occasionally on the longer straight stretches of the canal.

Just before Clewiston we were met by several other boats heading west... seven larger motor yachts all with a hundred feet of each other and all attempting to pass a single sailboat also heading west... it just happened that they wanted to do this passing right as they were also passing us. It was quite the spectacle... if you can image SAILS on one side... a sailboat opposite us on the other side of canal and all these motor yachts between us... at one time two of them between us as they also were trying to pass each other.

Once out into Lake Okeechobee we were passed by a small caravan of boats... 8 or 9 total and they all were flying the same burgee... so must of been a yacht club cruise or similar... normally, you see one of two cruising boats in this area... never have we seen so many. There were still the numerous small fishing boats scattered along the way... seems fishermen are always present... rain or shine. It was a little windy today and the lake was choppy but nothing bad and the ride was very nice.

As we got close to the east side of the lake and Port Mayaca Lock I started monitoring VHF 13... communication with the lock take place on this channel... I could hear several boats communicating with the lock... then to our shock we heard... "East bound cruiser... you're the last boat we are locking through..." WHAT??? I hailed the lock and asked if we would make it... 15 minutes out from the lock... response... "no captain... divers going in the water for repairs... minimum 2 hour delay"... WOW! Change of plans needed... proceed to lock... anchor and wait and hope it is only 2 hours... or ??? We opted for the "OR" and changed course to Pahokee... we had stopped there on the way south and found it to be very nice stop. Changed course and an hour later we arrived to the Pahokee Marina. Not sure exactly what the current name of the marina is as it has changed many times over the past year or so.

We arrived at approximately 1300... location N26°49.528', W080°40.089'. We traveled today for 5.75 hours covering 35.6 nautical miles averaging 6.2 knots.

Posted at 7:41 AM
Wednesday, 9 April 2014
FL to CT Day 4
Alva, FL to Moore Haven, FL
Arriving yesterday during the rain storm we were unable to check-in at the ranger office for dockage, so before departing I took Beecha for a long walk with a stop to check-in and pay for our dockage for the night... $24 total includes electric and water... hard to beat that price.

We departed the dock at approximately 0900 and were sent off by some new friends we had met at Fort Myers Beach that were at the Franklin Lock docks when we arrived. They gave us a nice send off... spoiling Susan as they did the dock lines for her... :)

We had a few bridges and one lock to deal with today... Alva Bridge, Fort Denaud Bridge, Labelle Bridge and finally Ortona Lock. Bridges were uneventful...did have a little fun in the lock though... With the wind wiping around in the lock and blowing SAILS off the wall... Susan lost the stern line and the stern blew away from the wall... out to about a 45 degree angle... I had a bow line so just had to power the stern into the wall so Susan could grab another line. Problem at this lock and others is that the lines are not quite long enough to reach down to our stern deck cleat and get a decent wrap on the cleat... that was the case here... a minute of excitement for the spectators along the wall... :)

We arrived to our destination for the night at approximately 1445. The Riverhouse Marina in Moore Haven, FL (N26°49.852',W081°05.449') and were securely tied and shore power plugged in by 1500. We traveled today for 5.75 hours covering 36.2 nautical miles averaging 6.3 knots.
Posted at 2:20 PM
Tuesday, 8 April 2014
FL to CT Day 3
Fort Myers Beach, FL to Alva, FL
For the last 7 days we have been on the hard for SAILS to get new bottom paint at Gulf Marine Ways, Fort Myers Beach. We were splashed this morning at 0830 and were underway at 0900. The time at the boat yard was extended slightly but the yard did an awesome job... time will be the test now... the last two bottom jobs looked great when we were dropped back in the water but did not last... :(

Very windy today with forecast SSW winds 15-20 knots... the wind lived up to every inch of the forecast... we had sustained winds at 20 knots with gusts to 30 knots... was a bit lumpy leaving the beach with 3-4 seas on the beam. Once we got back to GICW it settled down to a moderate chop on the Caloosahatchee River.

Boat traffic was non existent... only boat we passed was the Captain J.P. a paddle wheeler that runs out of Fort Myers downtown area.

We did get hailed by some friends that live on the Caloosahatchee just east of the US 41 bridges in Fort Myers... Jack and Carole Driscoll... always nice to hear a friendly voice on the VHF when you are cruising.

We arrived to Wilson Pigott Bridge and I went to boat deck to lower the VHF antennas and mast... we can clear the 27 feet with everything lowered. To our surprise the bridge opens as we approached... did not hail them on the radio... they just opened it... a real surprise when for a bridge to do this.

Shortly after the bridge we arrived to the Franklin Lock... hailed them ahead of time to give them a heads-up we were coming... did not want to have to sit and wait with the winds so high. They had the lock gates open and ready for us to pull right in... no wait at all. Took all of 10 minutes to lock through... there was not much water level difference with the river at high tide... if there was any difference at all.

The high winds today were the prelude to a front passing over the area. We had hoped to get through the lock and docked on the east side at the state park docks before the rains hit.... Almost made it... got a little wet as we docked.

We were securely docked at 1330 traveling today for 4.5 hours covering 30 nautical miles averaging 6.7 knots. Approximate location for the night at N26°43.386', W081°41.449'.
Posted at 12:56 PM
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