April 10, 2011 Palmetto to Glover Bight, FL
Well, here we are again at the start of another marvelous adventure. We bid farewell to our neighbors and pulled away from our dock at 9:15 on Sunday morning, April 10, 2011. It was a mostly sunny, humid day with temps in the mid 70’s. The winds were out of the NW, calm to 5 mph. There was a lot of boat traffic in Terra Ceia Bay which is not surprising for a Sunday and crab pots littered the tip of Anna Maria Island at Bean Point. As we made our way to the Passage Key Inlet and the Gulf of Mexico, we felt it was calm enough to go “outside”, so we would miss all the crazy ICW traffic. The sun sparkled on the blue-green water as we motored south at 19 mph for 55 miles in the Gulf of Mexico.
With temps now in the upper 80’s, going at idle speed for that mile provided us with no breeze at all. All the crazies were out on Sunday afternoon. We finally reached Glover’s Bight at 3:30 and dropped anchor for the night. We relaxed in the shade, read today’s newspaper, and tried to cool off. Auggie finally relaxed enough to eat his breakfast and take his afternoon nap. We had a cocktail, cooked chicken on the grill, and headed indoors when the sun set and the mosquitoes came out. It was a beautiful first day traveling our first 110 miles. We’ll all sleep well tonight. Tomorrow we’ll spend the night at the town dock in Moore Haven.
April 11, 2011 Glover Bight to Moore Haven
What a calm, restful first night we had. We fell asleep to the rhythmic sound of frogs croaking and woke to the clicking sound of crustaceans eating algae off of the hull. Auggie woke up Bob at 6:30 this morning with his whining to go outside. He ran straight to his doggie potty tray and did his job. What a good dog! About a hour later he went to the door to let us know he had to go outside again. This time he did his second job all on his own. We were worried he had forgotten how to use his potty tray since the last time he used it 6 months ago, but he took to it like a duck takes to water. What a smart boy he is! Bob is so happy. No more trips to shore with Auggie. On a not so good note…our anchor light died sometime during the night after Bob had worked on it numerous times before we left. I guess he’s got some more work to do. We pulled anchor and got underway at 8:45 this morning. The day was already starting to heat up with temps predicted to reach 90 today. It was sunny…not a cloud in the sky. We motored down the ICW toward Ft. Myers Yacht Basin where we picked up fuel. From there we made our way quickly, the 13 miles to the W.B. Franklin Lock, to make the 11:00 opening. This is the first of 5 locks on the Okeechobee Waterway. With Lake Okeechobee levels below 12′, the first and last lock are on a scheduled opening every 2 hours, on the odd hour. We arrived at the lock with 20 minutes to spare, but there were 10 boats already waiting to lock through ahead of us. We were #11 and then 2 more boats pulled up behind us. All 13 boats were able to lock through together. It took us 30 minutes to rise 2 feet. Man, it was slow! Seven of the 13 boats were Tiaras doing the “Little Loop” from Naples through Lake Okeechobee, around the tip of Florida, and back to Naples. They all pulled out ahead of us from the lock and were out of sight in no time. They must be in a hurry! We took a leisurely 28 mile ride down the river to the next lock….the Ortona Lock. When we got there, 5 of those Tiaras were waiting to lock through. I guess it didn’t pay for them to rush. The 6 of us locked through together and rose 8 feet in this second lock. This time it went much quicker. Auggie finally relaxed and got into the groove, stretching out and relaxing on the seat next to me.
I relaxed in the AC and took a walk after dinner with Auggie once the sun went down. We went a total of 68.1 hot, slow, sweaty miles today. Tomorrow we’ll do one lock, cross Lake O., and do two more locks before ending up in Stuart for the night at Manatee Pocket anchorage. Once we get through the lake and across to the other side, we can take a more relaxed attitude and enjoy the ride.
April 12, 2011 Moore Haven to Stuart, FL (Manatee Pocket)
The morning air was cool and refreshing as the crowing of the roosters welcomed the day. Where are we anyway? We decided to get an early start to beat the heat. We entered the Moore Haven lock at 8:00 and we were raised all of 6″. Why bother? We were the only boat on this stretch of the river to Lake O., but the alligators floating like logs across the river kept us company. It was sunny with a high expected in the mid-90’s. There was no wind to speak of, except for the breeze we created by our movement. It was 15 miles to Clewiston where we turned left and made our way into Lake O. This picture is looking into the entrance to the town of Clewiston. This is the storm-gate that protects the town from a hurricane.
April 13, 2011 Manatee Pocket to Vero Beach, FL
We had a calm, restful night and the sun slowly rose in the sky. It felt cooler this morning. It was partly cloudy and the temps today should only reach the lower 80’s. Now that’s more like it! We started to pull anchor at 8:30 and by 8:50 we had it stowed and were on our way. We had been delayed by a brief rainshower and by having to rinse off the anchor and chain of all the caked mud that was on it. The raw water pump that we used to rinse off the anchor died, so now Bob has more work to do. The skies to the north were clear and sunny once we got out from under the clouds in Stuart. We motored slowly at 10 mph up the Indian River (AICW) encountering many boats in transit. It seemed there were a lot of boats migrating north to places up the East Coast. We surmised this by reading their hailing ports from ME, Toronto, NC, PA, DE, NY, and MD. I saw a great boat name yesterday. It was Aloan At Last… a cute play on words. It was now sunny…. a cloudless sky, no humidity, and lower temps. The breeze was very refreshing.
April 14, 2011 Vero Beach to Harbortown Marina, Cape Canaveral, FL
The sun felt really hot already this morning. We released the pennant that was attached from the mooring ball to our boat and were on our way at 8:30. Again, the skies were clear and there was a slight breeze. That will be useful today. The weather report stated that the humidity was 90% with a temp. of 76 this morning. The boat traffic seemed busy in both directions. We passed two sailboats early in the day. Whisper was going north with a home port of Newfoundland and Kelly Girl was headed south with a home port of Fairbanks, AK. Both of them seemed far from home. This is the sailboat from Newfoundland.
long day on the water. Let the cocktail hour begin! We traveled 61.5 miles, but it seemed to go forever and ever. Auggie slept most of the day on the boat and enjoyed a romp in the grass once we arrived. Our plans are to spend another day here so Bob can work on the anchor light and saltwater washdown pump. Both are needed for extended anchoring out. I’ll give the boat a good bath, do some wash, and tidy up the inside. We’ll be able to sleep in tomorrow before the work begins. What a treat! The evening came quickly and we enjoyed the security of being tied to a dock.
April 15, 2011 Harbortown Marina, Cape Canaveral
What a treat to be able to sleep in! Bob got up early to begin his day and let me sleep. What a guy! The day was overcast, with dark clouds in the distance. It was breezy and humid. Bob began work on replacing the anchor light which took a lot of wiring, sawing, and deep thinking.
April 16, 2011 Harbortown Marina, Cape Canaveral
Good morning and what a good morning it is! A restful sleep, a good breakfast, and sunshine make for a very good day. Being a Saturday, there were a lot of people out and about on the docks early this morning. Bob started right in on the saltwater washdown pump and got that to working. Yeah! We’ll be able to use that for washing down the anchor when it gets all mucked up, instead of having to use the fresh water from our water tank. That will be nice. Once he was done working in the cockpit, I began the job of washing the boat. It was caked in salt from the other day and it needed it….badly.