At 7:45a on Thursday, June 14th we slipped the lines at our home port of Punta Gorda Isles, FL and headed south to Ft. Myers. Our wonderful neighbors were on the lanai to see us off. It’s hard to imagine that after so many years of thinking about this trip, we are finally off the dock.
If all goes well, We will “cross our wake” at the spot below sometime in late 2019. I thought it appropriate to have Amy document the spot. This is the outer edge of the PGI canal system.
Our plan was to overnight the first night at Legacy Marina in Ft. Myers. We kept Coastal Pirate II there and lived next door for several years. Our second night would be at Moore Haven and then cross Lake Okeechobee on Saturday and start the next leg North on the InterCoastal Waterway. Excellent plan… What could happen!
While we were docked at Legacy, we learned that Ortona Lock, which was closed for maintenance and set to reopen on Friday had delayed its opening until Sunday. Ortona is on our side of the Lake so we are essentially “stuck” until Sunday morning. As we were rethinking our plan, the main AC unit stopped blowing cold air. Hmmm! At least the bedroom was still cool for sleeping.
Friday, June 15th
Working on getting the marine AC guy out on quick notice took a bit of persuading but we did it. We were very lucky and it was just low on coolant but a slow leak. He said we will need to address it in six months or so… Great! No huge expense right away and we really shouldn’t need the AC that much while in Canada and the Great Lakes in the spring. Problem for another day!
We were lucky enough to coax Marv & Carol Market to have lunch with us. Marv is one of the most accomplished boaters I know and has helped me tremendously over the course of our time living in Ft. Myers. I will always remember setting off from Royal Palm Yacht Club very early on a December morning and Marv came out on his Yacht to wave goodbye… In his Green Bay Packers pajamas! For those AGLCA followers, this is the same Marv from “Marv’s Buoy Weather Report” the definitive weather site we all check everyday. He really does exist and I have the picture below to prove it. Marv has logged thousands of hours aboard Dee Light and other vessels including seven trips to the Bahamas.
We hoped to get some last minute advice and just catch up with the pair as it had been several years since we saw them last. Marv offered to be on call during our trip in case we needed any advice including weather briefings. Excellent!
Saturday, June 16th
We decided to leave early on Saturday to get even closer to the Ortona Lock for its grand re opening on Sunday morning. We departed Legacy Marina at 8:10am bound for LaBelle, FL just west of the lock. We arrived as planned just before 1pm to find an available spot at the LaBelle City Wharf. This is a free dock with power… Something very rare along the loop.
Some shots along the way, including our first lock at Franklin. This is a beautiful stretch of waterway with everything from trailers to multi million dollar residences. The river had very little traffic and proved to be a relaxing 36 mile trip.
Below is a map of this leg of the trip. As I mentioned, we are just now in LaBelle and will not reach Stuart, FL until Tuesday. Not a problem, just a delay.
Miles Traveled- 100 / Days 3 / Travel Days 2 / Hours underway 11.5 / Locks 1