Lake Okeechobee and the East coast

May 7-12

Last Wednesday we left Moore Haven and crossed that big lake in the center of Florida, Lake Okeechobee. In the above photo you can see we hugged the SE coast of the lake until we headed in a NE direction across the lake. This path was dictated by the marked channel through very shallow water. We never saw less that 6 feet under the boat the whole way.

Lots of agriculture and cattle in this part of Florida. Bunch of cows cooling off in the water.
Broke out one of our large fenders for starboard tie ups in the locks along the Okeechobee. Half Pint hangs over just a wee bit on that side.
A train bridge that crosses the Okeechobee Waterway. Permantly up position.
Launching an air boat. These things do not require much if any water at all.
No idea, but made me think of our upcoming trip past Cape Canaveral.
There is a dike along the outside of the southern channel along the lake. The sign says it is the Herbert Hoover Dike…have fun with it…we did!
Finally entered the lake. Notice all of the exposed growth? Not much water there!

Go to to view.
The winds picked up out on the lake and we saw 3 footers for a while hitting us from th 11 o’clock position.
Once we crossed the lake there was a construction site with Travelifts. These ar large devices used to lift 30+feet and much larger boats out of the water. The one in the right of the photo is large enough for at least a 60 footer.
Everywhere in Florida there are derelict boats. If steel or aluminum recycling is an option. Fiberglass? Only option is to grind ‘em up with really expensive equipment and who’s gonna pay for that. Taxpayers won’t.
Okeechobee Waterway on the east side of the lake.
See the bright green algae? We saw a lot of this for about 10 miles after we crossed the lake.

Dredging operation
Passed this “boat house”, probably $5-$6M in these 3 boats.
At one time this was a fabulous boat!
And VIOLA! We arrive on the east coast of Florida at Stuart. We had never seen so many dredging barges! Bet we saaw 20+ and there was some really skinny water. At one point there was a dredge barge with a small sign that read “This Way” with a red arrow indicating a pass on our port side. The barge was blocking the view of a critical channel marker.

After Stuart we passed through Vero Beach after a long day and just crashed. Nuttin’ to report. Next day we ran to Titusville which is just across the channel from Cape Canaveral’s launch site. Way in the distance we could see that big builking where the rockets are assembled with the big blue NASA sign. Too far for an effective Ipad photo.

Dammit, when we got to Titusville there was a mooring field and a very good anchorage. We chose the mooring field since the area has a muddy bottom and we would not have to rinse off the anchor and chain using a “mooring ball”. A mooring ball is secured to the bottom and has a line with a loop on the end. Ya just grab it with a boat hook and attach the bridle to it. Easy Peezy right? Yep, until we call the marina that manages the field and they ask what is our Length Over All is. Boats are measured by the distance from the front part of the boat at the waterline to the back of the boat at the waterline. Using this measurment Whisky Business is 46 feet long. Our LOA (which includes the bow pulpit with anchor to the back of the swim platform is 53 feet. We were told we could not use the mooring ball as there was a 50 foot limit. So we moved 200 feet away and dropped anchor. And I used about 20 gallons of our fresh water supply to clean the mud off the chain and anchor when we brought it up.

The reason you want a really clean chain is when anchoring in salt water with a muddy bottom the chain can really start to stink and all manner of stuff will begin to grow in the chain locker.

…which is located behind the mirror at the head of the bed in the forward stateroom.
And speaking of chains and anchors oh faithful reader, you may recall our anchoring mishap on the Tombigbee waterway when we lost it all. On some boats there is a heavy wall called a bulkhead at the back of the chain locker that the chain/rope can be attached to. On Whisky Business there is only a thin wall between the stateroom and the chain locker. Not a good place to secure the chain. So, after talking to a lot of folks this is what we came up with. We “braided” a 3/8 inch line to the bitter end of the chain and attached the other end of that line to a 2X4. This method will allow us to cut the 25 feet of line should it run out after the 200 feet of chain. The 2X4 will keep the bitter end of the line in the boat. I secured the 2X4 to the side of the chain locker with a piece of velcro and the line is attached to a sticker with a light plastic tie that will easily give up the line if called upon.
So that is finally put to bed!
After leaving Titusville it was time to blow out the turbo’s. We ran wide open throttle for about 3 miles and achieved a speed of 22.7 MPH. Pretty good for a 40,000 pound boat!
Hmmm, I wonder if that bridge is high enough for us to squeeze under??
How does one find out???
See th little blue icon?
Just touch that little icon on the multi function display and this pops up. The name of the bridge, GPS coordinates of the bridge, type of bridge and the height when closed. Isn’t technology great!
A family of dolphins came along for the ride. Interesting thing about the shape of a boats hull. On a “trawler” the hull is designed to efficiently go through the water at slow speeds, say under 10 MPH. On a trawler a strong bow wave is created at, yeah, you guessed it, at the bow. Our hull is known as a semi planing hull, so it can get up on top of the water and go fast. Our “bow wave” is created farther back along the boat at midship so that is where the dolphins hang out on our boat.
Go to:
Now this is just maddening as hell. After we left Lake O the boat icon on our MFD developed a wayward skew that required us to perform a sea trial wizard and resetting the internal compass to north. Not a big deal but requires the boat to be driven in a couple of circles and then the autopilot drives the boat in a zig zag pattern.
The dotted line is our track. Swear I had not been drinking.

Saw a funny cocktail napkin today. Drunk fellow is walking down the street. Police Officer says, Sir, you are staggering.
Guy responds, Well you’re handsome too!
I need bail money.

Insert rimshot here.

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