G’day! This is your temporary R&R first mate and author John Spykman reporting live from Port Canaveral, Florida.
Over the past four days, I’ve been able to experience boating in a way I never have before. Dad and I began our trip in Fort Myers, and after three days of cruising we’re safe in port on the eastern side of the state. The boat will remain here in Port Canaveral until later this week, when R&R (the boat and the people) begin the northbound section of America’s Great Loop.
We began at first light on Friday morning, preparing the boat for departure from Legacy Harbor Marina.
After pushing off the dock, we headed up the Caloosahatchee River, encountering three small locks before arriving at Lake Okechobee in Central Florida.
These first three locks only raised the boat by a couple of feet each and went quickly, to our surprise. We hardly waited at all for lockage.
Our original plan had us stopping on the west side of Lake Okechobee on Friday evening, then leaving the next day for Vero Beach. When we arrived at our potential stopping point, we had so much daylight and energy, we pressed on. A 50 mile crossing on the lake was followed by two locks on the east side of the Okechobee waterway.
Locks along the waterway have a hard closing time at 4:30pm, so we pushed the boat harder for the last 10 miles to make the final lock. She performed great! We were nearly the last boat in the last lockthrough of the day. Felt very good to get in, even if it was by the skin of our teeth.
We arrived in Stuart, FL after a 126 mile day, tied up at a beautiful marina and went to a nearby Italian restaurant, recommended by a few locals. Uncle Giuseppe’s Lit-a-bit-a-Brooklyn didn’t disappoint. Good food, good evening!
Saturday and Sunday were shorter days. Saturday brought us up the ICW from Stuart to Vero Beach (45mi).
Sunday took us from Vero Beach to Port Canaveral (65mi). Crossing under bridges was a normal part of our trip, and some even had familiar names! 🙂
It’s been a great time to spend with my Dad/captain over the past few days. This trip is already filled with fond memories that I will cherish for years to come. I’m excited to return home to my wife and dog, but will miss this little vacation when I’m back in Michigan. Cheers!