30 January, 2015
I have to say that I had conflicting emotions as we pulled out of Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart yesterday. When we arrived there 16 days earlier, it was for a week of planned maintenance, and secondarily, to say “hi” to our Krogen friends. Those plans quickly changed as unforeseen repairs surfaced. What’s the saying? “Your boat’s always broken,you just don’t know it, yet. “ Or somth’n like that.
When we arrived, John (“Compass Rose”) informed us that we were aboard the 24th Krogen berthed at the marina. During our first hour at the dock, many of our pals, last seen at the rendezvous in Solomon’s, came by to welcome us. Most had been at Sunset for a few months. Walking the docks later, we discovered that our friends, Ward and Richard, (last seen aboard their Grand Alaskan, “Bagheera” in Portland, ME) were there as well. Besides the long days of “boat dinkin’”, we spent our time reconnecting with friends, and deepening our relationships with others. It is so interesting how as you traverse through life, the relative importance of things and relationships change so dramatically. I guess that’s why “they” call it a journey-all about perspective. So happy that we pulled the trigger and started living OUR dream. Don’t be held back by “buts” and “what ifs”. Go for YOUR dream now. I digress.
Our buds, Garry and Jacquie (Waterford II-Lake Superior and Jacksonville) and Bill and Lisa (Changing Course) were at a marina a mile or so away, so we enjoyed time with them as well. G & J were happy campers. They had been driving around for 4 months with a sheet of plywood over their salon window opening since having it blown out by a Sportfishing boat while they were docked at Cape May, NJ. The new window and frame, as well as wood, fiberglass, and stainless steel repairs were finally being done. Bill, the retired aircraft mechanic, also had projects. As soon as he took apart their heating system to replace all hoses, a cold front came through. His mate, the ever chilly Lisa, was not impressed. I’m thinkin’ it’s a thinly veiled ploy to get a little more cuddling time-don’t know, just sayin’.
16 days of repairs, Krogen breakfasts, washing & waxing, and lots of incredible sunsets, we were all set to depart. We had so much fun, we reserved for a couple of months next winter (plans written in sand, not stone). After protracted goodbyes, we got off the dock at around 1030. We had a beautifully warm and sunny drive to Indiantown on the Okeechobee Waterway. On the way, the Admiral and I sat on the bow, basking in the sun, autopilot remote in hand. I’m sure it gets better, but not much. The middle of Florida is pretty much agricultural. Lots of cattle, horses, and flat fields of crops bordered the canal. The Indiantown Marina is just a little bit beyond funky. It’s a little palm oasis around a small harbor that’s carved out of the surrounding farmland. Since there wasn’t really anywhere to go, we stayed on the Girl, reading and whiling away the rest of the afternoon, planning our next leg across Lake Okeechobee and dreaming of our Spring trip to the Abacos.
0700, and it was kind of misty foggy with a temperature of 58 degrees. As the fiery orange sun came up over the palm trees lining the canal, we were underway, headed for the Port Mayaca Lock to enter Lake Okeechobee. We were told by our friends Randy and Cindy aboard “Morning Star” to cross the shallow lake early in the day before the wind whipped up the waves. Since they had crossed the lake innumerable times, we listened. Lake O is very large by inland lake standards, infact it is the second largest freshwater lake located wholly in the continental US (after Lake Michigan) but unfortunately is super polluted by chemical runoff from surrounding farms. In fact, local news was reporting on the outrage expressed by folks living downriver as the Corps of Engineers was releasing “toxic water” from the lake this week. As we cross the lake, we see the source of the sooty dust and ash that we’ve been cleaning off the Girl every other day. The locals are burning the sugar cane fields in preparation for next years’ crop. At the west side of Lake O, we make a hard right turn at Clewiston, dubbed “The sweetest city in America”, alluding to their cash crop. Up to Moorehaven, the canal courses through acres of marsh which would be a birders paradise. Once through the Moorehaven Lock, the city dock is off our starboard rail. In we go, $1 U.S. Franc/ft. 78 degrees, so I think I’ll walk over to the library (interweb), sit on the bench outside, and shoot this into space.
-Over and Out (for today)