Waiting for the sun rise this morning and wiping the dew of the windows we had breakfast and tea. It was a great night on the hook with no breeze and smooth waters. I do recommend this anchorage but just stay away from the ski course.
As we traveled down the Caloosahatchee River in the morning light was spectacular. The sun played with the colours of the shore and trees. The water was black like northern Ontario waters. The river meanders until the Ortega Lock. We locked through with no problems at all. The locks on the OCWW are quite simple. The lines are provided and drop down for you to get with a boat pole. Then you hang on to them and wrap the end around one end of your cleat so that you still hold the end and can control the up or down of the boat. In this case we are going up to Lake Okeechobee. The river then become the Caloosahatchee Canal where the river is cut out into a canal. This seems to go on forever. The good thing is there is normal operation of the boat with the odd manatee no wake zone. So far the OCWW has proven to be quicker than expected. The last lock before the “big lake” is the Moore Haven Lock. The town has provided some dockage for folks to stay for free along with shore power and water. It proved to be quite popular. On the north side of the canal there was a very large dock. I’m not sure if it is part of the marina or town. Lots of space there. No amenities.
After this lock the canal section is fast. There is a small no wake zone after the lock but normal operation beyond the zone. This canal travels all the way to the “Big O’. If you want, or need fuel, you can take the route to Clewiston and not make the turn to the lake. At this point the channel is more grassy and open. It seems strange to be going quick but it is not protected. You know you have reached Lake Okeechobee by seeing the channel markers that lead to the open span of a fresh water lake. The channel into the lake started at depths of around 5-8 feet and eventually opened up to 10-15 feet under our belly. The channel meanders through the shoals of the lake. Be sure to stay on your line for you boaters. There are markers occasionally so you know you are in the right place but watch your line. There are a couple 90 degree turns.
At the other side of the lake we had one last lock Port Mayaca. The water is low right now so that lock was completely open. We requested passage from the lock master and were granted an idle speed directly through. No locking required. 4 locks down and 1 to go. We decided earlier that we would stay on the east side of the lock. We caught a dolphin here. Not a real dolphin, The massive group of pillings are called dolphins. We had to string a line from the bow and 2 from the stern to keep Conductance happy in the 12 knot winds today. So now we sit on the hook at our 2 dolphins to dock us for the night.
It’s not a quiet setting with a highway on the other side of the trees but it is a place to not anchor, but anchor, if you know what I mean. We did see the farmer set a controlled fire that seemed quite big to be controlled. Glad we were not downwind of that. The highway should quiet down later this evening and so will the winds. Tomorrow we will be back in salt water as we hit the ICW at the Atlantic Ocean.
We planned this trip to take 3 weeks. Tomorrow will be 3 weeks since leaving Nashville. That never happens on a boat. The cardinal rule of boating is to never have a schedule that you have to meet.