Gulf Coast of Florida
Fall 2006
And the award for most hurricanes dodged in the projected hurricane cone goes to...........(drum roll)

Key Largo Florida!

We're back at Legacy Marina (formally Centennial) . I can recommend this marina. It has a lot to offer, but it is pricey. $1.35 a foot daily rate off season, and $2.50 a foot in $EA$ON.

It's at a good downtown location, for bars, but for shopping you need a car. No courtesy car is available.

@ $2.50 a foot, I will anchor out in season.
Back in slip B 38, same as last time.
They put the Lady between a 55 and 52 foot shiney crewed boat. We looked like the dink.
As it turns out, my NEW camera phone will NOT upload or download pictures, so the portion of the trip from Key Largo to Ft. Myers is lost in cyberspace for now.

I went out a bought a new $100 digital camera and have figured it out, I think so here is our trip starting at Ft. Myers.
The Marina was over half empty. With the insurance company requiring vessels to be up North during hurricane season,  a lot of the boats are gone. The Lady is behind the huge Sea Ray.
The Captains Lounge has a kitchen, internet, tv and bathroom. As nice as any I have seen.
Clean bathrooms, showers, and laundry.
A great bar, on the roof, overlooking the Calusahatchee River - Excellent for sunsets.
Rainy day today, so we rented a car and drove up to Franklin Lock to check out the dockage. One of the Okeechobee waterway's little known secrets is you can dock at Franklin Lock and St. Lucie Lock for $20 a day! That's with showers, electric and decent docks.
If you're 62 years young, you can get a golden pass to all the National Parks for free, and it gives you half price on dockage, and most park fees.
Never seen water do this before. The Water coming up from under the damn was hitting the surface and splitting on the surface going east and west at the same time.
This really unique owner modified houseboat came thru the locks .
10:30 am left Legacy marina, heading down to Ft Myers Beach mooring fields.

The Infamous "Miserable Mile" Idle zone
I worked out a deal with the first mate.
She cooks and does teak, and everything else.
I Drive ;-}

The waters in Ft. Myers were Black.
And here are a couple of real stupid signs.... think about it.
At night will you see the sign about the unlit dock, and have you ever seen a deep shoal?
Spent happy hourz at Salty
Sams, the marina in charge of the mooring balls.
Yep, was drink n again!
Watched sunset at the tip of Ft. Myers beach and then bar hopped all the way home.
Ft. Myers Beach
Leaving Ft. Myers,
the new bridge.
The Lady at rest on the Ft. Myers Mooring balls
Spent last nite @ Cayo Coasta in Pelican Pass.
Today we headed up the Caloosahatchee towards Lake Okeechobee.  We are at Franklin Lock marina, $20 a day with electric and water.
Just out of Ft. Myers on the River are several Palatial homes. Wonder who cuts the grass?
Obviously, the kids here on the river have no fear of alligators.
This is what $20 will get you at Franklin lock marina/Campground. Not bad huh?
And for the Boaters, finally, an explanation.
On my trawler, I can almost go cruise speed,and do this.
Today was Laundry day, so we broke out the "wonder  wash", and it was a wonder we ever got the clothes washed. It worked ok, and since there was no laundry in sight, and no other boaters or campers on this end of the campground/marina......
Laundry hanging from the yard arm, kinda trailer park trashy, ain't it. Then it rained...
Still at Franklin Lock Marina/campground
Even thought the dockage was only $10 a day, after two days, had to get movin again. So we are going to LaBelle, where there are two Marinas. One is $.50 a ft. per nite, and the other is the city docks , which are free with water and electric and you can stay up to 3 days!

There are 8 docks at the Franklin lock marina/campground. 4 are reservations, and 4 are first come, first served.
Even though the dockage was only $10 a day at Franklin Lock, it is time to move on, so at 9 am we depart for LaBelle.
Passed this rusted tug on the waterway.
This is the hot set up for dockage on the Okeechobee waterway. Wakes are no problem.

When you pass thru the DeNaud swing bridge, make sure you say Hi to the lady bridge tender. She always wears a large bright hat, and waves hello.
I thought this was the perfect dock deck combo.
After an easy 15 miles we arrive at the city docks of Labelle.
The City of LaBelle knows the value of boaters to the local economy. They provide free dockage, right next to the library and a half mile from the grocery store and hardware store.
The Library is located on the hill behind the marina, and  has internet access.
Across the river, the hotel is getting new docks that rent for $0.50 a foot.
We had happy hourz with Don and Deana, and their pet skunk sweet pea.  They live full time on the housboat next to us in the marina.
On boat this am, looks like a bit of Florida Rain coming  thru. We are located on the Radar Screen at the small white circle mid state.
The City docks ask you bow in or stern in at the free dock.
Here's the 2 cent tour of LaBelle
And ya gotta visit the honey place, tis a tradition.

Labelle is a good layover stop, walking distance to the Library, groceries, the post office, a
Real old town Florida.
To sum it up though, Good for a day, two is the limit.
A cup of Foo Foo coffee this am, and we are off to Moore Haven, bout a 2.5 hour run. We are running slower than usual, 7.6 mph because we really don't have to be anywhere till Thanksgiving so why burn the fuel.
There was virtually NO traffic except for this barge, and this floating island.
Glades boat dry stowage yard was full of the boats of snowbirds, who are all up north for the summer.
.We were raised 8.5 feet at the Ortona Lock.
Name of this boat "Sandy Bar"
This is the "key hole",  a deep well protected anchorage just north of Ortona lock.
We  docked at the Riverhouse docks, just north of the city docks. $.75 a foot.
Went out for a sunset walk along the docks and saw this guy, actually following us back to the boat! Pacing us, stoped when we stopped, sped up when we did, ......
He practically ran up to the boat when we boarded . I am assuming he is used to being fed by livaboards, who throw out after dinner scraps for the fish.
The picture on the right he is 6 inches from the hull. He actually bumped the hull a few times.
This is Moorey's the gators Glamor shot, a face only a mother could love.
The rest of the evening Moorey would wait under the dock and whenever we came out, he did too.
Great anchorage
The rule of thumb, the distance from his eyes to his nostrils in inches is his length in feet. Moory is pushing 10 feet.
Up at 6.30 am, watched the sun rise, and as soon as I went outside to get ready to cast off, and head for Clewiston, and here came Moorey for breakfast.

Thru the Moor Haven lock, Make a right, and your in the rim of Lake O, heading to Clewiston.
They Killed all the Melaluca trees (in the background) because they were killing the lake, the cypress are comming  back.
This is the crew that burns the dead, floating and collected tree trunks. They will be busy for years to come.

This looked so much like the BIGGEST aligator I had ever seen that I turned the boat around, got out the camera , and got this swell shot of a log.
Arrived at Roland Martins about 10 am, and used the "loaner limo" for a trip for supplies. This old caddy limo was owned by Glorida Vanderbuilt. No air, but the windows worked.
The Hot spot in clewiston is Roland Martins Tiki Bar, now expanded to twice it's original size. Keep this in mind if you dock here, get as far away from this bar as possible. It's loud till all hours. There is no Tiki but still a fun place.
Ended up spending another day at Roland Martins. So we left today to head across Lake O. Had a smooth, uneventful crossing.
While we were tied up in the Port Mayaca locks, we noticed this pattern of foam on the water. It had lots of identifiable shapes, and letters. Strange, the things that entertain you on a boat!
The infamous bridge at Port Mayaca that keeps a lot of the sailboats from crossing the waterway.
Got a slip at Indiantown Marina, took a walk around the hundreds of boats that are stored there for the summer.
This boat was damaged in one of the past hurricanes. It's been there so long there is a tree growing out of it.
Notice the tie down straps to secure the boat in a storm. All the boats had them.
Got an early start for St. Lucie Locks/ marina. It's another Federal Park so we can dock there, with water and electric for $10 a day. Getting a rental car, have to drive back to Key Largo to pay bills , and some business.
But here's a few photos of the trip to there.
We did the rim route, only cause we could. It's 10 miles longer than heading accross the lake, but more scenic. We scared these cows taking a bath.
After a biz meeting in Stuart, went down to Key Largo in the 40 mpg rented Nissan. Had to pay the monthly bills. We were there Thursday nite, Friday, and Saturday AM  came back to Stuart to the St. Lucy Lock and departed for points north.
This is where we were.
This time the rail road bridge was open.
The Coast Guard has an ultra light sea plane,and were practicing landing and taking off on the river.
The cows were cooling themselves on the waterway, and notice, the cattle egrets along with them.
A boaters worst fear, a dead head.  A semi floating tree trunk, stuck in the bottom on one end, and bobbing on the surface on the other. Hit this going upstream and you get a hole in your boat. This one was disguised with a growing plant on top.
It's their pet skunk.
After a nite at indiantown, where there is ABSOLUTLY NOTHING TO DO, we departed early am for the trip to Roland Martins Marina.
A flock of early rising Egrets buzzed over the top of the Sterling Lady.
Port Mayaca Damn
I have crossed over Lake O several times over the years, this was the first trip the damn actually locked us thru. The rise was about 5 inches.
You have to go thru this lock to get to Roland Martins. If you din't know it was back there, you wouldn't see it from the waterway.
Finally saw another boat, a trawler heading east across the lake. The sea gulls (laughing gulls actually) were eating out of his wake also.
This round concrete sturcture is located near the channel to the west side rim route. Anyone know what is?
Another channel well marked because of rocks on both sides. The channel to the left is to the rim, to the right is a fishing cut.