Today is Wednesday, February 07, 2018. It has been a week since my last blog entry. Here’s the recap:
Thursday, February 1, 2018:
We left the glamourous LaBelle City free dock and the crusty but sweet sailors that seem to frequent there on the allowed 3 days in, 8 days out city required schedule. The water was like glass in the early morning and I got a shot of the bridge clearance gauge. At first glance, the unadvised captain would think he’s got 53 feet of clearance. Alas nay, it is only 23 as the image is mirrored. Mental note to stay aware. Shove off was 1120.
We arrived at the Ortona Lock at 1235. There was some westbound traffic entering the lock so we had to wait. By 1325 we cleared the Ortona Lock with Antonia and another vessel, The 3 B’s. This raised us nine feet.
At 1600 we cleared the Moore Haven Lock bringing us up an additional four feet. The port side lock door on exit was inoperable, but we slipped right through the starboard door with room to spare. Along with Antonia, we wasted some time looking for a suitable anchorage, but elected to tie to the dolphins in the waterway. It became what we now refer to as the Great Dolphin Rodeo of 2018. Dang those things are hard to wrangle. We got tied up to one with bow and stern lines both acting as spring lines as well and one big red ball fender to hold us off. Jane made us a great salad and then decided to make garlic bread on the stove top. Glad I installed those smoke/CO detectors and I guess it’s good to know they work. We needed some excitement anyway. It was a beautiful night with a big moon, but buggy so we stayed inside.
Antonia catching a dolphin Sunset over Moore Haven Lock
Friday, February 2, 2018:
We rose early and I got a great shot of Antonia with the rising sun. There were some big gators around and the early morning exposed the millions, and I’m not exaggerating, millions of tiny dead bugs all over the decks. We ran the generator just long enough to make coffee since the coffee maker makes the inverter complain.
At 0935 Big Red cranked without complaint and we shoved off the dolphin which was way easier than tying up to it. After about 2 ½ hours we made it down to Clewiston and arrived at the Roland and Mary Ann Martins Marina. The nice gal that came out to greet us on the dock was very complimentary of my docking skills as I pivoted Sabbatical in the narrow canal. (Thanks again to Captain Billy). A huge iguana came out to great us.
Chester came out but went back under the ice chest. It was good to see he is still with us. Martins Marina is geared for bass fishermen and the facility presented facilities that I would characterize as fishcamp-like. The Tiki Bar had great ambiance and the server, Libby, was nice but they were extremely slow getting the simplest food out of the kitchen. We spent a good amount of time cleaning up the boat then showered in their basic facilities (best described as a latrine). It was warm and we were on shore power so we put on the A/C. Later we walked with Mark and Lezlie to dinner at the Mexican Restaurant, Tacaqueria. We stuffed our guts and still had food to take back to the boat. Real Mexi, no lie.
Saturday, February 3, 2018:
Needed some exercise, so we went for run-walk of about 6.5 miles. Then I made walnut pancakes and we read the Gainesville paper online. It was time to do some maintenance, so I cleaned all the raw water strainers and replaced a hose while Jane went with Mark and Lezlie to Walmart in the marina loaner car. I had to sacrifice some skin trying to get the new hose on. Jane returned from the store and we now have a leaf/trash blower on board and a nifty grocery/laundry cart. Later, we went up to the Tiki Bar to watch the Gator basketball game vs Alabama. UF lost and we returned to the boat and Jane whipped up another batch of great pasta which we enjoyed with some wine. Directly, the band in the Tiki bar beaconed and we responded by dancing till closing time.
Sunday, February 4, 2018 (Superbowl Sunday):
It is blowing a little harder than we’d like to cross the Okeechobee, so we opt for another night at Roland Martin’s. We watched the on-line sermon from Northpoint then biked to the Ace Hardware to get some Terro to combat some stowaway ants. I just knew that we’d get the Superbowl game on our digital TV antenna, but negatory. Some other CBS channel comes in fine, but no game. We didn’t want to revisit the Tiki Bar nor really care about the game anyway, so we read and turned in early.
Monday, February 5, 2018:
The forecast is cloudy, with winds from the NE at 6 knots. The lake is reported to have a light chop, so we left the dock at Clewiston at 0955 followed by Antonia. Flights of Teal move across our path from north to south. The duck population seems substantial. It begins to turn sunny as we near the far shore and we entered the lock at Port Mayaca at 1322. This lock dropped us one foot.
The Admiral at the helm.
At 1500 we reached the RR bridge and had to wait for the CSX workers to clear off the span and then we’re advised of an approaching train. Big freight train with lots of cars, amazingly, some are not tagged by graffiti.
At 1715 we docked at the St. Lucie Lock Campground and Marina. We had one reservation and knew that slip #7 would be available on a first-come basis. Slip 7 was encroached by the wide berth of the trawler in #6 so we opted for the courtesy dock while Antonia took the reserved #2 slip. We met some other Loopers, like Gene who’s on the slow track since he started in 2004. After docktails aboard Sabbatical’s fly bridge, Jane made yummy potato salad for our dinner.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018:
We pulled out early at 0730 to head to Jupiter to visit my cousin Henry and his wife, Kathleen. Locked through the St. Lucie lock which dropped us 14 feet down to the river level. Lockmaster Jim was very friendly and helpful. As we made our way through Stuart and down the ICW the water became a beautiful turquoise green. Just as we’re at Hobe Sound, Jane gets a Tsunami warning alert on her phone for Hobe Sound. None of my safe boating courses prepped me for this situation, so I just stayed the course. A few minutes later she anounces it was bogus. Henry met us at 1300 at the Jib Club Marina to “harbor pilot” us into Sawfish Bay to dock at their home, Mullet Run. We were docked by 1330. It was great to spend some time with them and enjoyed a great dinner out. The time with family is always too short.
At dock Mullet Run Cousins
Wednesday, February 07, 2018:
We cast off the dock at 1345 with a high tide of 1418. No problems getting out of Sawfish Bay (it’s tricky). We motored north to Peck Lake to anchor for the night. On the way, a boat heading south we noticed was Sadie A. We knew we had seen her somewhere and directly they radioed to ask if we had been at Safe Cove. Connections like this are cool and we switched radio channels to catch up. They’re headed to Bahamas. At 1535 we anchored in Peck Lake with 8 feet of water. It’s breezy and not too hot. We’re set for the night or maybe two.