CT to FL Day 31
Moore Haven, FL to Alva, FL
Last night we had a great time at the restaurant on the marina property... Lightsey’s Seafood Restaurant. We took the golf cart (provided by marina) to the restaurant and had a great meal... we did not have seafood... we both had burgers... giant burgers and very very good!
With a short day planned we slept in and Susan prepared a great breakfast for us... normally, breakfast is a muffin, bagel or toast after we get underway... it was nice to have a full breakfast. After a leisurely morning we cast the lines at 1015 and headed west bound for the W.P. Franklin Lock campground. They have boat slips available for use and the price is right... $24 for the night including power.
We again had the boost of speed with us so I reduced the RPM to save some fuel and still cruised at 7 knots... appeared we were getting a 1/2 to 3/4 knot boost in speed...very nice!
We did have a few bridges and one lock to deal with today... about 30 minutes into the day we arrived at the Ortona Lock... took about 30 minutes total to lock through dropping just over 8 feet. Three bridges after this that all required an opening... Labelle Bridge, Fort Denaud Swing Bridge and the Alva Bridge. First tow bridges went smoothly and very little delay at them... the Alva Bridge was slightly different... but it was my own fault for the delay. We arrived and about a 1/4 away I hailed the bridge and asked for an opening... no problems... then another boat hailed and said they were eastbound and just under 1/2 mile away... I then being courteous hailed the bridge back and said I would wait for the eastbound boats to arrive so he would only have to open once for all of us.... my mistake... LOL 15 minutes later the first sailboat arrived... 5 minutes after than the other two boats arrived... the "1/2 mile away" I think was a little off... oh well... that's what I get for being nice... LOL We did not have that far to go anyway and in no rush... no harm done.
We arrived to Franklin lock at approximately 1445 and docked in slip B08... this is an outside slip and really the only one we can fit in... all the others we take up two slips. Our location for the night N26°43.384', W081°41.445'. We traveled today for 4.5 hours covering 27.7 nautical miles averaging 6.2 knots.
At the dock beside us was a small sailboat... 25 foot I am guessing... they had one of those wind scoops setup to direct wind into the cabin of the boat... after we docked... NO MORE WIND for them... and they were a little upset... giving us unfriendly glaring looks when they saw us... anyway, they soon were removing dock lines and moving to a "windier" location several slips away from us.
Posted at 10:11 AM
CT to FL Day 30
Pahokee, FL to Moore Haven, FL
We departed from the marina this morning at 0800 and continued around the Rim Route of the lake... I was a little concerned at to what the water depths would be like since the reported navigable depth was 6.5 feet on the Jacksonville Army Corp of Engineers website... but did not see anything under 9 feet all the way to Clewiston where the Rim Route merges with Route 1 across the lake.
We did have one interesting bridge... the Tory Island Bridge... it's a manually operated swing bridge... the bridge tender comes out and puts a long pole into something in the center of the bridge and then begins to walk in circles pushing the long bar around and around and around as the bridge slowly swings open. He was not a very happy bridge tender either... very grumpy on the radio... I knew it was a manually operated bridge and thought I would give him a heads up so he could get started on the opening as we approached... NOT... when I hailed he told me to come up to the bridge and stop and then he would come out an open the bridge.
Last communication I had with him even though I made several attempts to talk to him via the VHF... he would not even wave at us as we passed through... very grumpy indeed... I thanked him and wished him a Merry Christmas as we cleared the bridge.
We missed the westbound locking at the Moore Haven Lock by 10 minutes so we had to wait about 15 minutes after we arrived for the lock tender to refill the lock chamber and give us a green light to enter.
The interesting thing was the boost of speed we were getting after reaching Clewiston on the rim canal... at the RPM we were running we should of been doing about 6.9 knots... instead we were doing 7.4 to 7.6 knots and the push continued after the lock as well... it did not appear as if they were releasing water from the lake but they had to have been for us to be getting a 1.2 knot boost in speed... not complaining... it was nice to get a little extra speed.
We had planned to stop in Moore Haven but with extra speed all morning it was just too early so we continued on... looking in the guide books and active captain we thought we would try the newer marina boat yard just before the Ortona Lock,,, River Forest Yachting Center... we called and no answer only able to leave a message... a hour or so passed and no return call so we tried another place we had seen many times before but never stayed there... Glades RV Resort and Marina... just a little before the Glades Boat Storage. We called them and someone answered... made a reservation... 30 minutes later we were entering their harbor. Met at the docks by a very nice gentlemen who assisted us with our lines.
It's an RV park basically that has some docks that they rent out... nothing fancy at all... not sure where the "resort" is... but it's nice. Besides the dockmaster who met us there were several other people either walking up or driving their golf cart up to see the boat that had arrived.
This place did prove again just how small a world we live in... one of the people coming down to greet us was from Connecticut and after talking to him for a few minutes we discovered that he had known Susan's Dad George and was from Cheshire... not only did he know George but all the people George knew... guess they had gone to school together in Cheshire... such a small, small world... LOL
Anyway, we were securely docked at N26°47.288', W081°13.807'. We traveled today for 6.5 hours covering 42.3 nautical miles averaging 6.5 knots even with the delays at the bridge and the lock.
Posted at 5:14 PM
CT to FL Day 29
Fort Pierce, FL to Pahokee, FL
We had a nice evening in Fort Pierce... the adjacent park had decorated with Christmas lights and synchronized them to Christmas music... so we took a walk through the park after dinner to watch the lights and listen to the music... was very nice! We stopped on the way back at the Original Tiki Bar and enjoyed a few drinks and watched the moon rise over the Indian River.
We departed Fort Pierce at 0730 and headed south... just at sunrise... Today we planned to travel to Indiantown Marina on the St. Lucie Canal... calling them on the phone we found out they had no room... full up! so, we went to plan B... we did not have enough time to cross Lake Okeechobee before sunset... could do it in the dark but we could not make the last locking at Moore Haven at 1900. After a little research plan B was established We would take Route 2... the rim route around the lake... stopping at Pahokee, FL for the night.
We did have a few obstacles today to contend with... Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart would require and opening... St. Lucie Lock after that and the Port Mayaca Lock at the edge of the lake.
Roosevelt Bridge went smoothly with no delay for the opening... arrived and went right through. St. Lucie Lock went just as well... as we arrived the east bound boats were exiting the lock and we got a green to enter with no delay... 20 minutes later and 14.5 feet higher we were bound for the Port Mayaca Lock.
As rounded the bend just before Indiantown we noticed the Indiantown Railroad Bridge was closed... hailed them twice as we approached... normally, this bridge is open unless a train is coming... we reached the bridge and came to stop 150 feet from it... I hailed again... this time I got a reply asking how far from the bridge we were... I responded 150 feet... he replied... OH.. OK... how quickly can you go through the bridge he asked... I'll go through as fast as I can I replied... OK... there's a train coming but I'll open it if you come through quickly... OK... no problem... I moved closer to the bridge and waited... maybe 50 feet from it... it's a swing bridge and I felt as if I was pushing it around as we passed through... the bridge tender thanked me for going through so quickly... anyway, we did have some delay for this but not bad... glad he was nice enough o open and not make us wait... although, it was not 2 minutes after the bridge closed that I saw the train crossing over the bridge.
We reached the Port Mayaca Lock at around 1525 and hailed the lockmaster... no wait at all... he opened the lake side gates as we approached and we entered Lake Okeechobee with no change in water level here. The lake was nearly flat calm would of been a nice crossing but we were not going across today... we would turn to the south and head for Pahokee.
I did not enter the rim route at the lock.. instead I took a straight path from the last marker outside the lock directly to Pahokee... we entered the rim channel between markers G61 and R62... just north of the entrance to the marina.
We entered an almost empty marina... maybe 5 boats total were docked.... this is a 170 slip marina so it looked pretty sparse. Most of the boats were on two docks so we continued to the T-head of the dock that had boats on it. As we got to the T-head we noticed the boats tied on the inside of it had lines on all the available cleats... no place to tie here... we continued past and down the fairway that went to the boat ramps and tied alongside here.
Not sure what happened to the marina but it is basically, abandoned. Talking to some people on land we discovered... At one time it was the Pahokee City Marina... then it became Loggerhead Marina on Lake Okeechobee and finally it was Lake Okeechobee Resort and Marina. But the last people left summer 2013 and the city is trying to evict them from the property... but during this no one is managing the marina. It's nice marina... newer looking wooden floating docks... power still on... a shame it's not being utilized... so we will utilize it tonight.
We were docked at 1700 at N26°49.532', W080°40.096'. We traveled today for 9.25 hours covering 63.4 nautical miles averaging 6.7 knots... not a bad average considering the locks and bridges.
Posted at 6:09 PM