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A Boat Trip Across the Okeechobee Waterway 2012 MacGregor 26M 1

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  • A Boat Trip Across the Okeechobee Waterway2012 MacGregor 26M*

  • The Okeechobee Waterway

    * Rt 1: 154 sm Rt 2: 165 sm Source: USACE Digital Visual Library

  • 1928 Okeechobee Hurricane-- 2nd deadliest in U.S. history: 2,500 killed in FLResult today: 30 Hoover Dike surrounds the lake145 mph winds at West Palm Beach landfallEye passed over Lake OkeechobeeFlooding to 20 on south then north shoresNOAA.govNOAA.govtaylorengineering.comhistoricpalmbeach.blogSouth shore*

  • *Bill and Sues March 2014 TripAdvanced this trip by carTiming: good weather forecast1 Mar: Positioned trailer in Palm City, next to Stuart on the Atlantic coast2 Mar: Launched at Cape Coral homeTwo overnights (separate slides):Port LaBelle and Clewiston4 Mar: Trailered home from Palm CityVarious speeds--leisurely 3-day tripMultiple well-marked manatee zones up to power plant by Manatee Park--heavily patrolled by LE boats

    Helpful ResourcesNautical chart 11428, Okeechobee WaterwayDoziers Waterway Guide, Southern 2013, Florida, the Keys and the Gulf Coast, Chap 14, Okeechobee Waterway MacGregor

  • Seen Along the Way*104-ft Trumpy wood motor yacht FreedomBuilt 1926. Refurbished for $6 millionNear-sister ship of former presidential yacht Sequoia

  • *Okeechobee Waterway LocksCall Corps of Engrs (863) 983-8101 for waterway statusWaterway has 5 locksFranklin (near Olga)Ortona (east of La Belle)Moore Haven (west lake shore)Port Mayaca (east lake shore)St. Lucie (west of Stuart, FL)Locks open 7-7, 7 days/weekCall lock master on Chan 13 with boat name, direction--e.g. sailing eastward, and request for instructions to transit lockor use horn: 2 long + 2 short blastsEnter as instructed (green light is displayed)Use your bumpers--lock walls have wet greeneryHold their ropes on walls--firmly, as water can surge a bitLet rope move in hands as boat rises or fallsAll easy. Just pay attention & do what lock master says

    St Lucie LockSource: USACE Digital Visual Library

  • *Locks in ActionOrtonaMoore HavenSt. Lucie--12.5 ft this day

  • Okeechobee Waterway Bridges*Fixed bridges are high--no issue except for big sailboatsRailroad bascule (draw) bridges up unless train comingA couple swing bridges can be only 7-9 ft above the waterOur MacGregor 26M--without mast mounted--had a height of about 7 ft, and we eased under them slowly without having to ask bridge master to swing for usIf youre higher, call on Channel 9or use horn: 2 long + 2 shortIf no radio contact, watch bridge in case its already slowly moving!Ft. Denaud Swing BridgeWest of LaBelleSource: Hendry County Engineer9

  • Where We Stayed*Roland and Mary Ann Martins Marina & Resort920 E. Del Monte AvenueClewiston, FL 33440(863) 983-3151www.rolandmartinmarina.comStd room $95 + tax. Marine gasDockage $1.50/ft w/motel roomPort LaBelle Marina1152 Marina Drive, LaBelle, FL 33935(863) 675-2261. Dockage 50 cents/ftGas (marine) open only Mon-Sat 9-1Port LaBelle Inn (200-yard walk)1563 Oxbow Drive, LaBelle, FL 33935(863) 675-4411. Std room $86 + taxwww.portlabelleinn.comRestaurant closed Sun-Mon (and isolated location a mile from town)Source: Port LaBelle Inn

  • *Port LaBelle Marina and InnThere are now a lot more slips than this shows-- and alligators.Inn Gas dockLarge Marina SignSource:

  • Our End-Point*We pulled-out at Leighton Park,2701 S.W. Cornell Ave, Palm City, FL,about a mile south of the marina (afterBill doubled-back with the boat), andbeside the Palm City Bridge. With boat on trailer, the drive back to Cape Coral took 3 hours.Sue got off the boat at Meridian Marina (formerly Martin County Marinahas no ramp), and drove our pre-positioned car & trailer (no charge by the nice marina folks after 3 days parked there w/permission) around to Leighton Park. Meridian Marina, 1400 S.W. Chapman Way, Palm City, FL 34990. (772) 221-8198. http://meridianmarina.comSource: Martin County Parks & Rec

  • Questions?*[email protected]

  • Along the Modern Lewis & Clark Trail-- August 2014Article at:*Onawa, IASt. LouisKansas City, MOAmelia Earhart Home Atchison, KS

    *A doctor, a dentist, and an attorney are in a boat together when a freak wave comes along and washes them all overboard. Having failed to pay attention in the Power Squadrons ABC course, none of them can get back into the boat.They agree that two should hold onto the boat while a third tries to swim for the shore.But then a swarm of sharks appears around them.While the doctor and dentist hesitate to volunteer, the lawyer launches off.The sharks move aside as he swims by.Amazed, the dentist shouts, Its a miracle!No, says the doctor. Thats professional courtesy.

    A magician working on a Caribbean cruise ship knows the audience will be different each week, so he allows himself to do the same tricks over and over.Theres only one problem: the captains parrot watches each week, and begins to understand what the magician is doing.Soon, the parrot starts shouting:Look everybody, the rabbits in a different hat!Hey, every one of those cards is an Ace of Spades!The magician is furious, but knows he cant touch the captains pet bird.Then the ship has an accident and sinks.Magician and parrot, of course, end up floating on the same piece of wood.Initially, they just stare at each other with mutual hatred--day after day.After a week, the parrot loses patience and says, OK, I give up. Whatd you do with the ship?

    *Lake Okeechobee is the second-largest freshwater lake contained entirely within the lower 48 states. (largest is Lake Michigan)It covers 730 sq miabout half the size of Rhode Island.Average depth of this limestone-bottomed lake is only 9 ft.It sits in a geological trough that includes the Kissimmee River Valley and the Everglades.6,000 years ago, all this was dry land.The sea level has been rising as the globe has warmed since the last ice age --or glacial period about 10,000 years ago--and now we have all these bodies of water.Okeechobee is an Indian name for Big Water.Interestingly, an earlier Indian name for the same lake--also meaning Big Water--is Mayaimi--as reported by the Spanish explorer Hernando Fontaneda in the 1500s.The Okeechobee Waterway, built to manage the lakes water level and minimize flood risk, was officially opened in March 1937--with a boat parade that went from Fort Myers to Stuart, on the Atlantic coast.After USACE took over water management, along with the State of Floridas South Florida Water Management District, on the north side of the lake: beef and dairy cattle ranching grew rapidly.On the south side, sugar cane and vegetable farming.Cape Coral to Port LaBelle Marina = about 50 smPort LaBelle to Clewiston = about 35 smClewiston to Palm City/Stuart = 50 sm1928 Okeechobee Hurricane:Hit Puerto Rico with sustained 160 mph winds (only Puerto Rico Cat 5 in recorded history)Sep 17 hit West Palm Beach as a Cat 4 (Cat 5 is 157 mph)

    (after the 1900 Galveston, TX hurricane--roughly 8,000+ killed)Many bodies were washed out into the Everglades and never found.

    ***Paddlewheeler is the Captain J.P., a 500-pax dinner boat that launches out of the Fort Myers Yacht Basin.Their website is

    Pelicans are routinely around the locks to supervise and grade your boat-handling.****While in Clewiston, a meal at the famous Clewiston Inn Motor Lodgerun by U.S. Sugar Corporationis a pleasant experience.If you call them from your marina, theyll send over a van to transport you to the Inn for free.***Amelia Earhart was born here in Atchison, KSShe could walk down the hill across the street from this house, and visit a campsite used by Lewis & ClarkWhich now has a pretty memorial parkAnother interesting thing to see in Atchison is the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Museum

    A a little way up the river from Atchison is St. Joseph, MO, where the excellent Pony Express National Memorial and Museum is worth a look. St. Joe was a base for the Oregon and California Trails, as well as a key riverboat and railroad town. The Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad was the first railroad across Missouri. This pioneering railroad company, formed in 1846 in the Hannibal office of John Clemens, father of Samuel Clemens, reportedly on April 3, 1860 brought the first letter from the East to be delivered to California by the Pony Express. In 1861, the first Civil War assignment for Colonel Ulysses S. Grant was to protect this railroad. St. Joe also hosts the little house where Bob Ford shot and killed Jesse James in 1882, after which he fled the state and later operated a saloon in Creede, CO, until he was murdered there in 1892 with a shotgun load to the throat.*