Monday, March 30, 2015

Moving On

Sunday - Monday March 29 and 30

Days: 155-156
Miles:     122                           Total Miles: 2,866
Locks today:     2                     Total locks:  36

Yesterday we left our winter “home” in Punta Gorda and resumed our travels. We wanted to leave on Friday, but a significant thunderstorm and cold front with plenty of wind changed our minds. Instead we cleaned on Saturday- all windows, the fly bridge, and the interior of Mara Beel are now all ship shape, or “Bristol Fashion.”

Sunday we untied our lines and cruised out of Charlotte Harbor and into the Gulf Intercoastal Waterway. We dislike traveling on Sundays in general, because so many fast, crazy boaters are out playing around. We were “waked” repeatedly and severely by inconsiderate go-fast boats. We had tucked away whatever could potentially be tossed around inside, but the contents of cabinets were jumbled, and our recliner slid across the salon. Good grief. Then we traversed what’s nown as the “Miserable Mile” due to the narrowness of the channel and the extreme shallowness on the edges of the channel. The trip was not all relaxing.

Lots of boats!

The Burroughs house in Fort Myers

With a huge sigh of relief we tied up at the Fort Myers Municipal Yacht Basin. On our walkabout, we discovered two looper boats we know- Charis and Spiritus. Ken, Ann and Eddy joined us for docktails, along with Gina and Steve from Island Time, who live in FM. We ate a late supper at a Mexican restaurant nearby. Great to see fellow Loopers again!

Good friends

Today we left Fort Myers with the sunrise and headed east on the Caloosahatchee River. The river banks were lined with beautiful homes and their docks for many miles. We locked through Franklin lock and then Ortona lock. I (Becky) was holding the bow line and Mark was at the stern. I was startled to see how the lock chambers filled with water to lift us up. This was the first time we’ve seen the upper gates open slightly to allow water to rush through the gap and fill the chamber.  Pretty cool! Fortunately we did not have to wait for either lock to be ready. Franklin lock had the first female lock attendant we’ve encountered, and she was the best! She knew the sun would be blinding us, and planned accordingly. She actually handed ropes to us and stayed around to talk. Lo and behold, she is a native Iowan!

Sunrise on the Caloosahatchie

Cattle grazing among the palms

Fort Denaud swing bridge is only 5 feet above the water, so it has to be opened to allow boats to pass through.

This lady is the bridge opener. She has to walk out to the middle of the bridge to operate the controls. She has a great sense of humor !

After an 8 hour trip we pulled in at the Moore Haven city dock. We were followed by Patriyachtic and Charis. The wall is just long enough for our 3 boats and another non-Looper that is also here. Moore Haven is a small town- in fact we all walked across the street to pay our docking fees at City Hall.  On our walkabout we discovered a 3.5 to 1 ratio of Pit Bulls per block.  In fact there were quite a few big scary-looking dogs in fenced yards. This is definitely Old Florida.

It's almost impossible to see the house behind all the vegetation.

The end of the day.

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