We left the anchorage on Thursday morning, 3/5, making our way past Fort Myers and into the Caloosahatchee River. This river ends at Lake Okeechobee, in the middle of Florida, and then the St. Lucie Canal on the west side of the river takes traffic out to Stuart, FL on the east coast. It is a man made canal which provides a shortcut for vessels. This trip is about 152 miles vs. the 350 miles it would take to go back down around the southern part of Florida and through the Keys to the east coast. There are 5 locks to traverse and 24 bridges to get under, luckily, most of them we can get under without having to wait for an opening.
Friends had told us of a National Park after the first lock that had 8 slips for boats at a very reasonable price ($24/night) We went through the first lock and turned to port into the little body of water where the slips were. There are numerous large RV's camping here. It is a beautiful little park which is very well maintained. Our plan was to stop for 2 nights. We needed a day off to clean the boats and do other chores.
Saturday morning we got up bright and early to start making our way the 51 miles to the second stop. Norm, on our buddy boat Tidehiker, found that he had a problem with one of his engines so we stayed put and Rick and Norm tried to diagnose the problem. Unfortunately, it was Saturday and we couldn't get a mechanic out to help. On Monday a mechanic came out and stayed for several hours on Norm's boat working on the problem. It turned out that fixing the problem required the removal and renovation of all his diesel injectors in both engines. The good news is that it happened here vs. in the Bahamas. The mechanic will be back with the cleaned injectors on Friday or Saturday so we are here for the duration.
But what a place to be stuck!! We met a lovely couple, John and Nell, from Indiana who have been so nice to us. Nell took Vicki and I to the grocery store on Saturday and they lent us their car to go have dinner on Sunday night! Last night Vicki had us all over to Tidehiker for dinner and it was great fun to get to know Nell and John better. We couldn't be in a better place. Below is Nell, John, Rick, Vicki and Lynnie. What a great time we had.Captain Rick enjoying the down time. Our view from the back deck.
Captain Norm enjoying a beautiful day in his new kayak. Forget about all those engine troubles!
So, since we have 4 or 5 more days here, and except for the stress of Norm's engines, we are really enjoying the down time. We are taking walks, reading books, catching up on the to-do list, etc. If we leave on Saturday or Sunday we will be in Stuart, on the east coast, on Monday or Tuesday. Here is a picture of Nell and John's RV and one of Tide Hiker and Rickshaw in the slips.
Tomorrow night the space shuttle is going to have a launch so we hope to get a picture of it. More tomorrow!