Friday, Moore Haven City Dock, Moore Haven, FL

Day 1046    Miles Today: 55   Miles Total:  1316

OK, ok, I get the point.   I kind of got lost in boat time and have neglected my writing duties.  I have received e-mails and calls from a bunch of you asking “What happened”.

Well, we have been busy.  We have been working and working on the boat.  She is really looking good.  And then we have been visited by several friends.  Lynn and Sue from NH came over from where they were wintering in FL and spent four wonderful days with us.  And then Mary and Drew flew down from NH and spent another five days with us.  It was really great having good friends share a small piece of our dreams.

We were supposed to have our son, Jason, and his family join us for a week at the end of Feb, but the kids all came down sick so it had to be delayed.  We then thought that we would just delay our departure so that they could come down on March 16 for a couple of days.  However, our plan for the next leg of our journey called for a crossing of Florida using the Okeechobee Waterway.  The alternative would be to go down to the Fl keys and then around through Miami and Ft Lauderdale and up the East coast of FL.  We decided to save that trip for another day.  We already have between 5000 and 6000 miles to travel; we just don’t need any more.

Therefore we have been watching the water levels in Lake Okeechobee and they have started to fall.  This week they were at 6 and ½ feet and falling, so it called for a change of plans.

We departed today from Legacy Harbour in Ft Myers FL and headed across the waterway by climbing the Caloosahatchee River to Moore Haven FL.  Central FL is nothing like any of the coastal cities.  There were palms in the wild intermixed with big cattle farms, and orange groves. We saw cute little retirement villages, or maybe they were snowbird villages. We are still watching for the waves of sugarcane.  We are currently sitting at the town docks, near the edge of the Lake Okeechobee, the second largest natural fresh water lake in America. Aren’t we lucky we get to cross it tomorrow and continue east?  It will take is three days to get to the East Coast.

Today went very well.  We said our goodbyes last night and then had the engines running at 7:45 a.m.   Barbara and I were both very excited to be back on the move.  We loved Ft Myers and especially the people at the marina and the friends in the coffee shop across the street.  We met a lot of good friends, making the winter stay pass all too quickly.

We proceeded up the river with no incidents, which in our world is a very good thing.  Then we came to our first lock.  These lock are much smaller then those we had traversed on the Tenn coming down, but they are still locks.  However they work differently.  Instead of tying to a bollard, they hand you two ropes down from the lock wall.  Then you have to wrap them lightly on a cleat and adjust them as you are going up in the lock.  (On the other side of the state we will be going down, so you have to allow the line to go out while still trying to hold onto a 60,000 lb boat.)  Anyway all went well and on we went.  About 20 miles later we entered our second lock.  However we were notified that one of the exit gates had broken and would not open.  So after raising us to the next level, I had to carefully maneuver a 50 foot, 16 feet wide floating boat through a 23 foot door.  A few exciting moments and off we were.  A few moments later I heard on the radio that they closed the lock for several hours to try to fix the gate.  We were the last ones through.  Hurrah!  We arrived at our planned destination at the City Docks of Moore Haven, FL about 4:00 in the afternoon.  After a successful tie up, we sat down and had a beer and toasted a beautiful day.  Barbara served a gourmet version of her famous fried-rice on the fan-tail and we enjoyed the evening.

The plan is to continue across FL and then turn north, and go to Vero Beach where Jason and Heather and the kids will join us for the few days.