Father/Son Voyage Across Florida

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.

Leaving Legacy Harbor

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.

Entering the first lock on the OW
Tending lines in a lock
Meeting a friend in the waterway

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.

The massive dike and canal leading to Lake O
Following the marked channel across Lake O
Our route across the lake

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!

Harborage Marina, Stuart FL

Saturday and Sunday were shorter days. Saturday brought us up the ICW from Stuart to Vero Beach (45mi).

Glassy early morning water on the ICW
A wide section of the Intracoastal
Passing small islands along the ICW
Loggerhead Marina, Vero Beach

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! 🙂

We slowed many times so our large wake would not rock other boats

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!


John Spykman  |  johnspykman@gmail.com  |  765.427.9837

2 thoughts on “Father/Son Voyage Across Florida

  1. You are a lucky sailor, “My Boy!” You’ve been the First Mate with your dad, and you’ll be the First Mate when you
    get home. Ya can’t beat that, John! Thanks for sharing the memories and the beautiful photos! Great job.
    Dr. B.

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