River Forest to Moore Haven

Sunday, April 14, 2014 We got up with the alarm this morning at 7:00. We had to do 2 locks, 1 RR bridge, and cross Lake Okeechobee before the winds picked up later this afternoon. I took Auggie for his run this morning while Bob got everything ready to go with the boat. As we were about ready to untie the lines, the man across the way in the Grand Banks came over with his dog to meet Auggie.

Bora is a male mini dachshund with the same chocolate brown and tan coloring , but he was a smooth coat.

He was pretty shy and Auggie ran circles around him, literally! Auggie just kept running circles around everyone. He was doing his usual “fly by”. Finally, he tired himself out enough to sit down.

This was the first time Auggie had met another dog–off leash. He had a ball! After chatting awhile we found out that they had just come back from the Bahamas 2 days ago and were storing their boat at River Forest. They crossed over from the Bahamas with 6 foot waves. Yikes! They were driving back home to Montreal after putting their boat away in a few days. They had a nice arrangement. Drive down from Cananda. Pick up their boat. Store their car. Spend the winter in the Bahamas. Bring the boat back. Pick up the car and drive home. Sweet! 

We said our goodbyes and pulled away from the dock around 8:30. It was a sunny day, 70’s, and breezy again. We made good time traveling 23 miles through the St. Lucie canal which connects Stuart to Lake Okeechobee. We reached the Port Myakka lock at 9:45 and were able to pass right through. The lockmaster had both gates open.

The wind was out of the east which meant the lake was somewhat protected…for awhile. The waves would be coming from behind us, but the lake was pretty calm yet for our crossing of Lake Okeechobee. There are 2 choices when crossing Lake O–the Rim Route #2 along the southern shoreline and the path we usually take (Route #1) across the lower 1/3 of the lake. (Note the red line that runs from the upper right hand corner to the lower left hand corner.)

Since we were going with the wind, we felt no breeze, even traveling at 20 mph. Once out on the open part of the lake, the waves were 1′-2′ high with an occasional 3′ tossed in. Our ride was pretty comfortable going with the waves. 

Another boat passed us going the other direction. He seemed to be doing alright going into the waves.

About 2 miles out, we spotted these white pelicans sitting on this wreck. It was their piece of refuge among all this water.

Two more boats–1 power boat and 1 sailboat passed us. The sailboat had a little more trouble in the waves than the 50′ sportfish did. The 1 hour ride across the lake was uneventful and we arrived on the other side in Clewiston at 11:05.

The skies here were cloudy and it even looked like it could rain as we motored slowly along the SE rim of the lake. We could see black smoke billowing up in the sky from the burn-off of some sugarcane fields nearby. 

We kept our eyes peeled for gators, but only saw 4 with their heads out of the water swimming along. We saw the dark rain clouds behind us and we had a few sprinkles overtake us. These fishermen came prepared.

As we got closer to the construction zone, we noticed that one of the orange buoys marking the safe channel was out of place. It was a tight squeeze, but we were able to get by.

The rain clouds caught up to us and it rained a little harder as we entered the lock at Moore Haven around 1:00. We dropped 2 1/2 feet in a fast drop and by the time we were coming out, the rain had stopped. We had to wait for a VERY slow train carrying shredded bark across the bridge.

Once the RR bridge opened, we were in the town of Moore Haven tied to the city dock for the night. We relaxed a little before dinner with cocktails. We had to put up the back cover to keep the cockpit dry. The rain showers moved through in waves and we were able to sit under the canvas enjoying our cocktails, but out of the rain. We can’t remember when we’ve had a rainier day than today, but we were comfortable none-the-less. As we sat at the dock, we watched a few boats come past us in the afternoon. We were glad to be docked and not having to deal with the rain as we traveled. We watched the rain come and go all afternoon, but still Bob was able to grill pork chops for dinner between the rain showers. We watched a little TV before calling it a night.

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