Ro and I left Punta Gorda on Monday, April 4, 2021 for our long awaited trip to South Carolina and hopefully Virginia. This trip has been planned since I acquired this Camano Troll in December of 2019. Just in my mind maybe but “planned”.
We left PG at 9 AM and crossed the Charlotte Harbor on our way to Ft. Myers Yacht Basin. This is a very nice place and the people couldn’t be nicer. We arrived late afternoon, about 4:30, and had a nice dinner on the boat.
We wanted to get off real early for our first day on the Okeechobee Waterway, through the center of Florida. The first day we made it to Moore Haven and the River House Marina, This is just a few hundred feet of well maintained face dock right on the river. But there was little traffic over night and felt more rocking in Ft. Myers than here. In the morning I was held up because a train was coming and the bridge was down. This was the first time I was ever held up by a train in any of my boats.
Then it was thru the Moore Haven Lock. and out onto Lake Okeechobee. The lake is approximately 20 miles of open water that is dangerous to inexperienced boaters. We had no trouble on the lake, but the day wasn’t over. After passing thru Port Mayaca Lock. before the railroad bridge (different bridge) we ran out of fuel. Dead in the water on the westbound approach to the lock! I thru out the anchor and waited for Boat US Towing to save me (Best insurance I ever got, I’m not paid). Many thanks to Capt Chris Day for coming to our rescue. But even with just 8 miles to our birth for the night our troubles weren’t over.
As we connected up to the tow boat and were starting to move we saw something none of US had ever seen, That includes the local captain of the tow boat. The bridge came down and a train crossed (100 cars @ 5mph) the process took another 45 minutes. but then we were on our way to Indian Town Marina, the only place this deep in the swamp of Florida to stop.
We are staying here for two nights to recharge a little. We had two hard days of over 9 hours and this third one took the steam right out of us.
Talking about the perils of the lake. When we arrived we were placed behind a 50 footer that had run aground on the rocks in the lake and destroyed his prop, he’s been stuck here for a week waiting for a new one. Then, after I fueled up, bled the fuel system, and started the engine we moved to another spot off the fuel dock. Just as I was settling in for a nap someone jumped on to my boat, uninvited! To my surprise it was Capt Chris towing in another boat. This was a 50 foot glass palace that had also run aground. They will be pulled out of the water tomorrow to asses the damage. They, too, tried to cut a corner and hit the rocks. The lake is treacherous if you don’t stay on the magenta line.
Tomorrow we head to Stewart and the ICW. Let’s hope our troubles are now behind us.