Cruising

Crossing Florida

After more than a month in the Ft. Myers area we decided to press on and cross Florida by way of the Caloosahatchee, Okeechobee, and St. Lucie water ways.

Before we start the narrative of our crossing we need to thank all the people around Ft. Myers that made our stay so much easier;
Rachel and Matt thanks so much for providing transportation all the while we were in Ft. Myers.
Brenda and Robbie made a place for all of us on their boat while ours was on the “hard”, and
all the others at Paradise marina that took us in and let us become part of their community. Hope to see you again.

Weekend get-together at Paradise Marina

Weekend get-together at Paradise Marina

Brenda making sure Marley gets something sweet to eat

Brenda making sure Marley gets something sweet to eat

It was almost like we weren’t suppose to leave Paradise Marina, after waiting for the tide to rise enough to get out the of the channel the wind pinned us onto the dock and with tight conditions it took us a while to get things moving an on our way.

Face dock of Legacy Marina Ft. Myers

Face dock of Legacy Marina Ft. Myers

First point was across the Caloosahatchee to the high rent district of Ft. Myers to wave at our friends on “Jet Stream” then under the bridges and into the Caloosahatchee waterway. A great day of travel into the river systems again.

We spent our first night was spent in LaBelle at their free city dock. Two days free with water and electric available. We were concerned that we had to bow into the slip and that it might be difficult to get on an off the boat. It turned out to be quite easy to duck under the bow pulpit. Toots was able to get on an off and we had a good walks just a block or two off the main drag. One drawback was the bridge that ran next to the marina. There was heavy traffic across the bridge most of the night. But did I mention it was a Free Dock.

With the bow in toward the dock Toots received a needed bath and we were able to change to the new anchor we purchased in Ft. Myers, thanks again to Rachel and Matt.

We pushed on again the next morning and promptly fell off the map. With our new Navionics chart card and our older chart plotter we have to save charts to our computer and load as we go. Some how I lost the chart section that is for Southeastern Florida.
Our paper Charts cover the area and the plotter shows depths and speeds so we were able to manage without much trouble.

Our next stop was Moore Haven, Florida. A tie along dock alongside the channel just east of the lock. Plenty of water at the dock, no tides do to the locks. We spent a nice evening and Toots and I had plenty of grass to walk.

Heading down the canal toward the entrance to Okeechobee

Heading down the canal toward the entrance to Okeechobee

Along the canal we passed construction of flood walls

Along the canal we passed construction of flood walls

We met other boaters heading the same way, and went through the lock the next morning together and followed them down the canal to the entrance to Lake Okeechobee. We found the lake to be smooth with only 1 foot or less for waves.

Cyprus swamp along the shoreline

Cyprus swamp along the shoreline

Without a chart plotter to help in our finding the channel markers, Cynthia became our number on spotter and chart reader. Making sure that I was steering the correct course. I only got off for a little bit. Then we realized we could still enter Way Points into the plotter, even with out a chart, and be able to find our way from marker to marker without problems.

Channel markers got farther apart once we entered the lake

Chasing the pelicans while staying between the navigational markers

Looking for the next channel marker and the other side

Looking for the next channel marker and the other side

Entrance to Ockeechobee

Entrance to Okeechobee

Upon leaving Lake Okeechobee at Port Mayaca we entered the St. Lucie Canal. Originally we had planed to spend a night at Indiantown Florida, but found it full. It seems that at this time of the year Floridians pull their boats for the summer. Completely opposite to what I have been used to. We pressed on to Stuart Florida and stayed over nite at a facility located just south of the St. Lucie Lock.

Parked out front a waterfront home

Parked out front a waterfront home

The next morning we entered the St. Lucie River at Stuart and realized what weekend boating would be like in Florida. We were met by a number of boats all traveling at top speed. These were not little boats either, 40 – 50 feet. Thank goodness we came into a no wake zone and they had to slow. However, we were rocked hard by some of them.Nice starter home in Stuart

That made it very easy for us to follow a boat off the AICW and in the channel to the Ft. Pierce Municipal marina.

More Farmers Market

More Farmers Market

Ft. Pierce Farmers Market and Craft Fair

Ft. Pierce Farmers Market and Craft Fair

We stayed in Ft. Pierce a week to collect mail and have our AC unit checked out. We breathed easier after our AC check up. Ft. Pierce offered a great Farmers market / Craft fair on Saturday with live music and plenty of different venues to explore. The weekend we were in Ft. Pierce was a fishing tournament for charity and we got a good view of many of the boats coming into weigh their catch. The marina also had a number of restaurants right on the marina grounds. With plenty of others a short walk away.

Listening to the live music

Listening to the live music

Feasts for the eyes also

Feasts for the eyes also

You may notice that these entries are not in chronological order. I really do have a reason for this and I might be able to explain and reason why at some other time but for now the story will be close and you can check out our Google map at BR & CL’s Big Adventure on Google maps.

Until next time smooth sailing.

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