Saturday, March 31, 2012

Vero Beach, FL to Cocoa, FL

Date             March 31, 2012                            
Day              277
Departure     Vero Beach Municipal Marina, Vero Beach, FL 7:40 am
Arrival          Cocoa Village Marina, Cocoa, FL 2:40 pm
Miles                53.8 
Cumulative   4271.2

Today we continued our journey north along the Indian River.  Being Saturday, there were more small boats on the waterway than there had been during the week.  Looks like this island has become "home" for the weekend!
 I thought this island and sandy spit was so pretty.

I caught this Osprey off-guard as we motored by. 

 From the looks of things, these pelicans have made this bridge their permanent viewing platform.

We walked into Cocoa Village for dinner.  We had a terrific hamburger at Murdock's Pub; the burger was huge.  Thanks, Marion, for recommending this place to us!! We will stay in Cocoa another night, so we hope to explore the quaint shops in the village tomorrow.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Stuart, FL to Vero Beach, FL

Date             March 30. 2012                            
Day              276
Departure     Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart, FL  8:20 am                           
Arrival          Vero Beach Municipal Marina, Vero Beach, FL 2:10 pm
Miles                43.3 
Cumulative   4217.4
Yesterday, Thursday, we decided to remain at Sunset Bay and do some housekeeping.  Lynda washed the boat and put some wax on the stainless while Bob worked inside and cleaned the air conditioner filter along with some other engine maintenance.
After fueling up with diesel (ouch, $4.34 a gallon!) we headed north up the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway.  We are now back in saltwater and on the last leg of our great adventure.  We have seen quite a few dolphins along the way.  But they are near impossible to get a picture of!  This one had sort of rolled on his side and looked at me with one eye!
After arriving at Vero Beach today's stop, and getting settled, Lynda went for a bike ride to the beach.  The town of Vero Beach parallels the shoreline.  There are many hotels on the ocean side of the street, along with a park/picnic area and a boardwalk for access to the beach.  Lynda did some shell hunting and finally had a chance to put her toes in the salt water!
On the other side of the street, there were many quaint shops of all types.  There were also a number of different turtle sculptures.  One of the sculptures is below.
Back at the boat, just before we sat down to dinner, this anhinga arrived and perched on the dock pole right next to the boat.  Looks like he was not too happy to be having his picture taken!!
Two dolphins arrived and swam around the mooring field just behind our boat.  Hopefully, before the end of the trip, I will be successful in getting at least ONE good picture of these evasive creatures!!
We are on the move again tomorrow; on to Cocoa, FL.  We need to keep moving to make up for all the down time we had in Ft. Myers!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Clewiston, FL to Stuart, FL

Date             March 28, 2012             
Day              274
Departure     Roland and MaryAnn Martin's Marina, Clewiston, FL  7:40 am                               
Arrival          Sunset Bay Marina, Stuart, FL  4:50 pm:
Miles                61.0 
Cumulative   4174.1
We awakened at 6:30 am to the sound of many outboard engines outside our boat.  We looked out the window and saw this - 
the start of the ESPN Bassmasters Fishing Tournament!
Lake Okeechobee, locally referred to as The Lake or The Big O, is the largest freshwater lake in Florida. It is the seventh largest freshwater lake in the United States. Okeechobee covers 730 square miles, approximately half the size of the state of Rhode Island, and is exceptionally shallow for a lake of its size, with an average depth of only 9 feet.  Today we crossed this very shallow lake!  Below, our depth gauge shows how much water is below the keel of the boat, only 5.4 feet.  Fortunately, we did not have any problems crossing.
At one point, I looked behind us and saw all these birds following us -
As I watched, they would dive into the water and catch little fish.  Because the water was so shallow, we were stirring up their dinner!!
While we were in Ft. Myers, we would have to wash black soot off the boat.  It was caused from the burning of sugar cane.  The first step in the harvesting process is the highly controlled pre-harvest burning of the cane fields. Each cane field burn is individually permitted by the Florida Division of Forestry and farmers are only allowed to burn when climatic conditions permit. The burning causes excess leaves to be removed preparing the way for the mechanical harvesters and ultimately for the processing of the cane. A side benefit to this practice is that it reduces the need for applications of pesticides, however, the unseen soot is carried a great distance.  As we crossed the lake, we could see a sugar can burn in the distance.
As we entered the Port Mayaca Lock we were greeted by a line of birds sitting on the pier at the lock entrance.
Immediately following this lock, is the Port Mayaca Railroad Bridge, which has a maximum of 49 feet of clearance.  Indiantown Marina at Indiantown offers a service to help sailboats needing more than 49 feet of clearance.  For a modest fee they will heel your boat using 50-gallon barrels of water strapped to the rail.  You'll be on your way in less than an hour!!!
(Two photos below courtesy of the internet)

A casualty of some long forgotten storm.
Since we restarted our adventure on Monday, we have traveled over 108 miles.
One of the many beautiful homes along the waterway.  This one has TWO boats docked out front! 
We arrived at our destination, Sunset Bay Marina.  They are known for - guess what?  If you guessed sunsets, you are correct!  Here is tonight's example.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Labelle, FL to Clewiston, FL - Caloosahatchie River

Date             March 27. 2012                            
Day              273
Departure     River Forest Yachting Center, Labelle, FL  8:45 am                              
Arrival          Roland and MaryAnn Martin's Marina, Clewiston, FL  3:35 pm:
Miles                27.4 
Cumulative   4113.1

After being so disorganized yesterday, today was a much better day.  Everything was where it belonged and the computer software was a breeze!!

This stretch of the Caloosahatchie River is very remote and there were many chances for wildlife viewing.  We saw many different groups of cattle along the shore.  Each group we passed, Lynda amused herself by "mooing" at the cows as we went by.  The funny thing was that they would all stop what they were doing and stare at us, what a hoot!!!

It is amazing how flat Florida is and you don't realize it.  This stretched on as far as the eye could see.  It kind of reminded me of Anegada in the British Virgin Islands.  Anegada is an island on coral.  As you approach the island, all you can see from a distance is telephone poles; they are the highest things on the island.

We saw many different egrets, herons, ducks, turkey vultures, ospreys and even an eagle.  Most of them were hidden in the weeds or brush.  Below is a  Heron that I was able to capture.

We also saw another alligator, this one was on the move.

Along the river, there was this lovely park.  A lot of people were out enjoying their lunch along the river.

We arrived at our destination, Roland and Maryann Martin's Marina, in the midst of an invasion of Sea Doos!  There must have been a group tour, because most of them were from North Carolina and were all docked in a row in front of the Tiki Bar.  In the distance is one of the smallest locks I think we have seen.  The Clewiston Lock is usually open, you can pass right through.  If  the water level in the lake gets too high, then the lock is used and you would have to "lock through".

You can tell we are still in the tropics, see the palm trees!!

Monday, March 26, 2012

We're Finally On The Move Again!

Date             March 26, 2012                            
Day              272
Departure     Legacy Harbour Marina,  Ft. Myers, FL  8:35 am                              
Arrival          River Forest Yachting Center, Labelle, FL  3:35 pm
Miles                42.1 
Cumulative   4085.7

After 102 days at the docks of Legacy Harbour, we are finally on the move again.  We had a wonderful time and made many new friends.  It was hard to say good-bye and leave, but we will be back in the fall as Cape Coral residents!  We know that all we have to do is visit the marina any day around 5 pm and we will see everyone again enjoying their afternoon docktail!  See you all in the fall.
Good bye Legacy Harbour
Because we stayed put for such a long time, we (or should I say "I") were very unorganized as we started up the river.  First, I couldn't find all the charts and then had to stop and think how to use the charting software on the computer again!  Not too worry, the memory kicked in and the computer was a snap, however, one of the paper charts was among the missing until after we arrived at our destination.  Tomorrow should be a better day!

OMG, a lock!  We haven't done one of these in months, will we remember how?

No problem, just like riding a bike!  He remembered!

We entered the first lock with five other boats and four manatees!  They rode the lock up with us.  That's them, the brown spots, left center of the picture.

All the miles we have traveled and we hadn't seen any alligators, until today!  This guy was caught sunning himself on a clump of grasses in the Caloosahatchie River.

Here we are, securely tied at today's destination, River Forest Yachting Center.  What a find, the marina is fairly new and very clean.  Three people came out to assist with our lines, got us all secure and connected to power and water.  There was only us and this one other boat at the dock, so it was a very quiet and peaceful night.
We brought Tucker and Willow to shore for their walk.  Turn around guys, don't you see the sign!!  Looks like they don't want to go where all the other dogs have gone!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

A Change of Plans

Date             February 20, 2012   - March 2, 2012                            
Day              248
Departure      No travel today                              
Arrival           Legacy Harbour Marina, Ft. Myers, FL
Miles                 0.0  
Cumulative   4043.6

Today is Bob's birthday - Happy Birthday Captain Bob!! 

Our plans were to stay in Ft. Myers through March 1st and head on to Marathon on March 2nd.  As we all know, plans are made to be changed!  Last night, Legacy Harbour Marina hosted their annual customer appreciation dinner for all boaters at their docks.  We enjoyed a great meal of pulled pork, spare ribs, barbecued chicken, beans and salads.  After dinner a raffle was held and many door prizes were given away.  The crew of Erika Lin ended up the big winner of the night, we won the grand prize of a month's free dockage here at Legacy Harbour!!  So we have decided to take advantage of the prize and will continue to stay here for the next few weeks.  Not much more to post other than we are thoroughly enjoying the mild, 80 degree winters here in southwestern Florida.