Friday, March 28, 2014 The sun was up and so were we with the alarm at 7:00. We were cleaned up, gave Auggie his walk and breakfast, checked the weather forecast, and were on our way at 8:10. My cold seems to have finally left me and my constantly running nose, watery eyes, and sneezing have dried up. Unfortunately, as hard as I tried to keep my germs to myself, Bob seems to have gotten my cold. Hopefully, it won’t last any longer than the 3 or 4 days mine did. We had about 50 miles and 2 locks to do today. The locks are opening “on demand” which makes timing our arrival easy and uncomplicated. With all the rain the state has been getting, the Lake Okeechobee level is up. It the lake level was low, like it has been the last couple of years, the locks would be running on a schedule–opening sometimes only twice a day. The lower the lake gets, the less frequent the openings are. It was a sunny day with a starting temp of 64 climbing to a high of 80 degrees as we motored east up the Caloosahatchee River to our first lock–Franklin Lock arriving at 9:15.
We were in and out in no time rising 3′ in the lock. We’re getting to be real pros at doing the locks! East of the lock, the Caloosahatchee River (aka Okeechobee Waterway) was lined with large estates and small ranches. We were traveling at about 16 or 17 mph against the wind and the river current. Further down the river, the banks of the river were wild and desolate.
We were the only boat on the river as far as we could see, until we got to the Ortona Lock around noon where a large power catamaran pulled up behind us. We went into the lock together and rose 8′.
They were crossing Lake Okeechobee today, so Bob let them go ahead of us. After a few minutes, they were gone and out of sight. We pulled into the town of Moore Haven around 2:00 and tied up to the wall of the town dock.
After getting settled in, we crossed the street to the City Hall to pay our dockage fee and give Auggie a chance to stretch his legs. We were the only boat on the dock, but it was still early in the day. We relaxed in the cockpit of the boat with a nice breeze blowing. Boat traffic picked up going east as 6 boats passed us at the dock. One yacht came by, flying the flag of Germany with a home port of Hamburg.
Two other boats joined us at the dock for the night. We traveled a total of 55 miles today and would get an early start tomorrow for our 65 mile trip to St. Lucie on the other side of Lake Okeechobee where we’ll spend Saturday night.