The trip from the anchorage near Owl Creek on the Caloosahatchee River was brightly punctuated with a sighting of three sandhill cranes strolling the river bank. The morning was cold and we waited until 1045 hrs for the sun to perform its magic before raising the anchor. The wind blew 5 to 10 knots from the north, keeping us well chilled throughout the 17 mile journey upstream.
Soon after leaving the anchorage, we encountered our first lock on the Okeechobee Waterway. We would eventually pass through three locks, taking us up as we headed east toward the lake. Two locks east of the lake would lower us to the Atlantic Ocean.
Today we were raised 2 1/2 feet and locked out of tidal waters as we headed to the interior of Florida. We put out fenders to starboard to cushion us from the concrete walls of the lock. The locks in this waterway have lines hanging from cleats at the top of the walls for mariners to use to tie-up. On the Tombigbee Waterway, we would loop our line from the amidships cleat around a floating bollard in the lock wall. Here, ropes are provided at the lock to tie to the bow and stern cleats.
While most locks have smaller sluice gates affixed in the lock gates or at the bottom of the lock, here the lock-master cracks the front gate slightly to let the water in or out. This produces quite a bit of turbulence and churns the fish which in turn excites the birds with the prospect of easy fishing.
At 1345 hrs we tied-up at the river dock behind the home of Bill and Pat, friends of my brother, Jack. Jack and Susan drove up from Fort Lauderdale that afternoon and Pat fixed dinner. Here at La Belle we enjoyed a lovely evening filled with good conversation.