Through Florida from the Gulf to the Atlantic

The first leg of our trip on the Great Loop was crossing the Ockeechobee Waterway, a 154 mile stretch through the Caloosahatchee River, Lake Okeechobee, and into the Saint Lucie River. The trip took 3 days going through 5 locks.

Day 1 we took it easy traveling 3.5 hours over 22.7 nautical miles and ended at the WP Franklin Locks. We dropped anchor and Lil Suddens tied up. It was a good trial run at homeschooling while underway and balancing helping Boris while he Captained the boat.

Day 2 was eventful as we passed through 3 locks (W.P. Franklin Lock, Ortona Lock, and Julian Keen Jr. Lock aka Moore Haven Lock). The trip took 7.5 hours over 38.29 nautical miles. The locks were nice as they provided the lines. I just had to grab a line, secure it to the boat, and feed it through as the water raised/lowered.

After passing through the Moore Haven lock, we tied up to a couple of dauphins. We have never attempted dauphins before and it was an experience.

We had to get the stern close so that I could loop a line through the cleat. I then had to feed the line so that we could get the bow close to the next dauphin. Once close, I secured the stern line and went to the bow to secure the bow line to the other cleat. The challenging part was reaching that cleat. I hung precariously over the bow, holding onto the anchor and dauphin in an attempt to loop the line. The first attempt was nearly successful, until I realized I had the line going over our railing, which could cause damage. Second attempt was a success. The event was stressful, but a good learning experience.

We settled in for the evening next to marshy grassland. Michael and I kayaked around, but did not venture far as I was concerned with alligators. I heard a grunting sound but it belonged to a Pig Frog. We also saw Turkey Vultures nearby and heard lots of birds.

Day 3 was our longest day. We decided to push through and reach Stuart on the Atlantic side. It took 9 hours over a course of 60 miles and included 2 locks (Port Mayaca Lock and St Lucie Lock)

The crossing also took us through Lake Ockeechobee which is the second largest lake contained entirely within the contiguous 48 states. Ockeechobee is known to be rough if the winds are blowing. On this day, however, the winds were calm and we had a peaceful crossing over glassy smooth water.

We finally arrived in Stuart, FL exhausted. After dropping anchor, we took the dinghy into town for some dinner, then called it a night.

Overall, our first crossing of The Great Loop was fun. There were many learning experiences as well as challenges: Managing battery life on the hook, navigating through narrow channels, and bugs!

4 thoughts on “Through Florida from the Gulf to the Atlantic

  1. Marilyn January 21, 2023 / 11:32 pm

    Wow absolutely fascinating pictures and history be safe and enjoy yourself πŸ‘πŸ»


  2. Marilyn January 21, 2023 / 11:33 pm

    Awesome pictures interesting history on how boating down there be safe and have fun πŸ‘πŸ»


  3. Robin Fall January 22, 2023 / 4:28 pm

    Great info. Was wondering about bugs.


    • Mayli January 23, 2023 / 8:02 am

      Some areas there are so many bugs our boat was covered in them at night. They were waiting for us to come outside. But that was along the river.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s