Monday, January 11, 2016

St. Lucie to Clewiston

Another day, another adventure. We started early again today. Our first thrill was the Port Myaca Lock. The wind tried its best to slam us into the lock wall, but we avoided contact. It is a bit intimidating when the gate starts to open and a wall of water rushes towards our boat!

As soon as we exited the lock and entered Lake Okeechobee we were hit with strong north winds on the beam. Rolling back and forth from side to side is less than fun! We knew that would happen, so we turned south at green marker 5 and headed for red 54 on the south side of the lake. That eliminated the beam waves for the next hour. Turning west again at Pahokee, we were again rocked by beam waves- the worst were in front of the marina, The waves slammed into the sea wall and bounced back and hit us from the other side. Fortunately that didn't last long! The rest of the rim route is protected from north winds so it was easy cruising. We expected the rough ride and chose to travel today in spite of the conditions because the rest of the week is forecasted to be even worse.

The rim route is basically a canal, so the scenery is limited. There are plenty of herons, egrets, anhingas, and other birds. The gators were probably too chilly to make an appearance. The sugar cane fields on the south side of the lake are being burned this time of year. Thankfully the north wind blew the smoke from several fires away from us, but our boat was sooty by the end of the trip.

We passed through the Point Concern/Torrey Island bridge- the last hand-cranked bridge in Florida. We radioed the bridge tender, who rode his bike from one end of the bridge to the other to lower the traffic barriers. He then used a long pipe device and walked around pushing it to turn the gear and open the span. Amazing!

Lowering the barrier

Cranking the bridge open

Looking back at the bridge

We passed through the Clewiston lock and right into our marina for the night. Whew! We are exhausted.

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