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Let’s Go Gulfing – Bound For Fort Myers

Clewiston to Fort Myers

It was 64 degrees and sunny at 7:30 am when we spun OLOH around from the north end of the Roland Martin Marina face dock and got underway for Fort Myers, Florida.

Generator running, shore power unplugged, Jasper walked… it’s go time.
So long Dockmaster Captain Sam! Thanks for another warm welcome and easy arrival!

Immediately after leaving the marina you have to return to the main channel by passing through the very narrow Clewiston Lock (which is unattended and normally open).  Given that it would be difficult for OLOH to pass through with other traffic we always place a securité call before reaching the lock, informing other potential traffic that we’re on the way in and asking to be contacted if there are any concerns.  Just after making the call the lock chamber came into view containing a small workboat that was sideways in the lock and another small boat behind it.  Neither responded on the radio and we were able to stand off while they passed through.  Fortunately, it was calm at that moment or it could have been a more exciting start to the day.  Once through the lock and back in the Okeechobee Waterway, the boating spirits clearly wanted us to have more of a challenge as heavy fog with very limited visibility descended upon us.  It was eerie and annoying but perfectly manageable for the twenty minutes or so that it stuck around.  While proceeding slowly, a few other boats heading the other way emerged from the fog but none presented an issue.  And as it usually happens, as quickly as the fog appeared it disappeared revealing a cloudless sky and bright sunshine that began to warm the day.

The rest of the 69-mile run went as smoothly as we could have hoped considering we had three more locks to pass through and a couple of bridges to open.  We weren’t faced with any significant wait times and it was a glorious day on the water.

Cruising the Caloosahatchee River. This was the scenery for much of the day.
Waiting for the green light to enter Ortona Lock, our first of the three we’ll pass through on our way westbound out of the Okeechobee Waterway.
9 am, Jasper and Captain Sean working hard in the Ortona Lock. And OLOH was proud to be “stuck” there (see arrow).
10:47am: In the Moore Haven Lock.
The Admiral brings up the rear…keep the snarky remarks to yourselves!

A highlight of our day was meeting Jaci, the Lockmaster at the WP Franklin Lock in Olga, Florida, the last of the locks when you’re bound for the Gulf.  She had great energy, a warm smile and, most importantly of all, a lot of love for Jasper.  Thanks, Jaci for the kindness and all of your hard work.

The dance of the floating motoring begins as boats of all sizes await Lockmaster Jaci’s instructions. She kept us updated every minute or so as she readied the lock for entry and then began calling us to the dance floor!
1:40 pm: Entering the W.P. Franklin Lock, our last of the trip.
Franklin Lock’s most excellent Lockmaster Jaci.
Lockmaster Jaci couldn’t have been sweeter to her new friend, Jasper, who was a huge help on the bow while we were locking through!

It was 82 degrees with only a light breeze when we arrived in Fort Myers and began our approach to Legacy Harbour Marina.  Even though the marina was full they were able to squeeze us in on the T-head of their B dock for the night, the same slip we occupied exactly two years ago on our first trip through.  Legacy is a very nice marina with some beautiful boats, concrete floating docks, pump-out available at the slip and the dockhands and office personnel we met were terrific.

We were on the water for eight hours, one full hour of which was spent at idle waiting for locks and locking through.  We covered sixty-nine miles burning fifty-six gallons of fuel.

OLOH enters into the Legacy Harbour Marina basin in Fort Myers.
Snuggling into our slip for the night. Many thanks to Captain Eric, the Harbormaster and the crew at Legacy for always making space for us!
We always enjoy our short stay at Legacy Harbour Marina!
Our dear friends from M/Y Chasing 80 came for a visit and Jill brought us fixins for their libation listed on our website – Spike’s Chasing 80 Painkiller! We also got a bottle of Spike’s Spicey Oil (We’re sensing some branding going on here!) And, we’ll let you guess who Spike is! He’s also known as Sparky in some parts. 🙂  Thanks for the welcome visit ya’ll, it’s always a great time!

Next, OLOH explores some favorite haunts on the Gulf Coast before heading to Key West.   See you out there…


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And that concludes your OLOH instructions. M/Y OLOH back to 1-6

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