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Old 31-12-2012, 19:01   #1
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St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

We are making a trip down the coast this coming fall and were thinking of making the crossing. Then going counter clockwise down to the Keys and eventually wrap around. Pros? Cons? I have 3' down and 35 ' up btw.
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Old 31-12-2012, 19:30   #2
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

hi: i have only done the crossing from west to east about 5 times. the okeechobee is 6 feet plus. you will have no problems with mast or depth. from ft myers south is easy to sail and anchor outside of shark river if the wind has any east in it. mosquitoes will get you if you go into the river. the water from shark river to key west or marathon is 6-12 feet. when you leave st lucie, spend the night at the locks. they are nice docks and showers. 1\2 price with a golden age pass port. indiantown is next. nothing there but fuel, dock and showers. nothing else until you get to ft myers. hope this helps.
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Old 31-12-2012, 19:48   #3
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

Exactly the kind of info we were looking for. All the can't miss/ make sure you miss kind of stuff.
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Old 31-12-2012, 22:57   #4
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

When you say down the coast....is that from home or just part of FL's east coast?

It is a ways around just south FL. We started at Charlotte Harbor with our Mac and from them down to Marathon in the Keys and up to south of Miami was 400 miles, but we did a little back tracking in the trip.

I think I'd go down the east coast into the Keys and then back up the west coast and back across. We had a lot of SE wind on the nose going down the west side and motored quite a bit. This was spring time so don't know if when we went was typical or not.

Nice trip and we were going to go north and back across the state but ran out of time after about 2 months so took out at South Dade Marina. There is a lot to see and some great places to just sit on anchor so I wouldn't just try and see how far you can go.

How long will you have?

Also our trip is here...

Macgregor Trips-1 Index

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Old 01-01-2013, 06:17   #5
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

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Exactly the kind of info we were looking for. All the can't miss/ make sure you miss kind of stuff.
my wife reminded me that you must stop at la belle. it is a med tie and will hold about 6-7 boats. very friendly, great place to walk and visit with the other boaters.
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:32   #6
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

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my wife reminded me that you must stop at la belle. it is a med tie and will hold about 6-7 boats. very friendly, great place to walk and visit with the other boaters.
This is just east of bridge across from library free elec.aprox 8 blocks to grocery.marc
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Old 01-01-2013, 07:45   #7
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

It is a great trip...ONCE!
I probably have 50+ crossings through 'choobee.. Kinda boring now. If you take Route 1, stop past Roland Martin's in Clewiston.. Nice Tiki bar, Fuel,, and overnight dockage
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:15   #8
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

Thank you everyone! The plan is to leave Oct 1 from our marina on the Sassafras River which is northern Chesapeake Bay and head south to hopefully be in the St Petersburg area around Thanksgiving and Christmas where my sister lives. Afterwards we plan on taking our time down to the Keys for the winter. We also will have our 2 and 5 year old daughters with us.
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:33   #9
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

Hey wifeys first post. Sweet.
Wow, lots to think about.
So we are s/v Never Land and the Lost Girls!! lol

First , our objective is get to Florida by Nov, spend the holidays with family that are in Tampa, then to cruise. the Keys , Florida Bay, Dry Tortugas, and just island hop. We told other family that we would then summer back up in the Chessy.
So would the trip across be the "best" move? Alot of motoring? Hotter? We could leave the boat on the east coast and the sister could pick us up.
The trip down the west coast in winter? Prevailing winds? Obviously your with the stream that way. Pros and cons. What would you guys do with what we have "planned"?
@ marc2012 & overeasy
Labelle looks nice. Cant believe a fella gave 2 stars just because of the med moor?? free electric and water, thats 4 stars right there!
@captgeo I see where Clewiston is (south west side) What does the "rt1" mean btw? and Roland Martins wasnt on activecaptain. Where is it?
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Old 01-01-2013, 09:43   #10
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

The Med. moor can be a bit tricky if you're not used to doing it. The current is hitting you on the beam as you back up, but eventually you get out of the channel current and can then straighten out, I find it a lot less daunting to go in bow first there so I can see how I'm crabbing with the current, and I can control the boat better. Drop your stern hook way out (I used a long rope rode) and have someone else tend it on the way in while you steer. I like the Okeechobee. Big alligators, Eagles up above. Quiet nights at protected docks that are free or cheap. Sometimes when it is blowing like stink outside you feel pretty smug on the inside, but if it is blowing hard the lake can be very rough. Ft. Myers is a friendly stop, Ft. Myers Beach has a nice mooring field and a friendly honky tonk beach front, Cayo Costa is a must do anchorage north of Captiva where you can walk across to the Gulf side beach.
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Old 01-01-2013, 14:13   #11
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

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Originally Posted by familycruisers View Post
....So would the trip across be the "best" move? Alot of motoring? Hotter? We could leave the boat on the east coast and the sister could pick us up.
The trip down the west coast in winter? Prevailing winds? Obviously your with the stream that way. Pros and cons. What would you guys do with what we have "planned"?...
Considering what you want to do (family visit) I'd stick with you original plan and go across. We helped someone move their boat from LaBelle to Charlotte Harbor and enjoyed the trip. We like to go across at least once all the way with the Endeavour.

On the heat deal I don't think it is going to be all that bad in November and you will of already gotten use to it going south. We arrived down there with our Mac a couple years ago before Thanksgiving and about died in the mid 80 heat, but it was in the 20's-30's at home and snowing when we left there, so a big sudden change. Then it quickly cooled off after thanksgiving and got downright cold with a...

FL Fall 2010 page 14

...couple nights in the low 30's. We had long underwear, but no heat on the boat, except for the cook stove, and it was pretty darn cold for a couple nights. Also the fronts started coming in one after another. We left right before Christmas.

So if you are going to be on the boat have warm clothing and I would for sure get a heater. We didn't have one, but when we went back in the Spring took one of these....



Mr. Heater - America's Most Popular Portable Heaters

...but then of course it was warm and we only used it I think one morning. We decide on the one above vs. the more stove like ones as you can point it at you, heated the small cabin quickly and stores in a small space.

The west coast I think is a little cooler than the east coast that time of the year as most of the wind (except for the fronts) is from the east so they get warmer air off of the Gulf Stream. You won't notice the Gulf Stream going down the west coast, at least we didn't.

The key is moving during the right weather windows and not being on a time schedule. Sounds like that is in your favor.

You can stay on the ICW from St. Pete down to Fort Myers Beach if you want to or need to. Then it is open water down to Naples where you can go back inside if you want to Marco Island and even past there to Goodland and the 10,000 Islands. From there you can....



.. get into Everglades City and that is the last town until you go across Florida Bay to say Marathon. I would do the inland from Marco to the 10,000 Islands over going outside around Cape Sable with your boat. Much more to see and good places to anchor that are protected. Download this....

index 1

...book on anchorages or try and find a used one.

All of that is on our trip report with pictures of the routes, anchorages and more. With your 3 foot draft you could go anywhere we did on that trip.

We really liked March/April much better than late Nov/Dec, but you could have a really nice trip. If you like anchoring, we do, the west coast is great. If you need marinas from Naples/Marco down with the exception of the Rod and Gun Club at Everglades City there are none.

Do you have a holding tank that can be pumped? You need that at Marathon if you go in there and should really have it in the Keys period. We use wag bags on the Mac and it is a little controversial if they suffice. Marathon wants a holding tank. We like the bags as we can haul up to 2 months for us in two 5 gallon buckets without having to go in and dump. You can't dump in the Keys on the Gulf side for a lot of it. Check the regs before you go.

So the key is just not be in a hurry and have good anchor gear and be prepared for some cool/cold days and at times heavy wind.

It should be a great trip,

Sum
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:24   #12
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

Dang Sum, between your posts and your blog you've kept me busy. Actually ran across your blog previously due to a Edgestar related search.
First holding tank. Right now we do have one but plan on replacing it with a composting head. That I do believe passes muster meeting their requirements.
As far as heat I have a Origo Heat Pal which acts as a heater and a stove. Good for using inside on those rare occasions we can't use the Magma or just to add some btu's.
As far as schedule, we really have none besides making it far enough south to stay ahead of the cold.
Your blog is great btw. The Google earth overlays worked excellent in decsribing your trip.
Thanks a bunch for your input.
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:03   #13
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

The controlling depth is the channel to Clewiston. During drought it can get very low. You can check the depth here: Roland Martin Marina | Lake Okeechobee Current Water Levels

Up to date information can be found on Claiborne Young's site at: Cruiser's Net » Search Results » Okeechobee
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:28   #14
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

here are a couple of posts from our blog on the Okeechobee,
The Trawler Beach House: A Photo Tour Of The Okeechobee Waterway
The Trawler Beach House: Titusville To The Big Lake Okeechobee
The Trawler Beach House: The Okeechobee Waterway

We just made the trip down from Naples to the Keys a month ago and it's also posted on the blog. Hope some of this helps. Chuck
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:47   #15
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Re: St Lucie /Lake Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee Crossing

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...As far as schedule, we really have none ...
I think that might be the single most important item on a trip, maybe more important than the boat or how it is rigged.

About the cold. I'd plan on some, but it isn't the end of the world. I've read about guys even being cold in Key West .....

Average Weather for Key West, FL - Temperature and Precipitation

.... and the Bahamas that time of the year. But it is a few days and it sounds like you are getting prepared for that. The bad thing is we get acclimated pretty quick so you go down there saying I will never be cold in 50 deg. weather and then it gets into the low 50's high 40's and it feels cold.

OK to much about the weather, just keep planning and preparing and you will have a great time.

The six things that make cruising great for us even on the Mac are:

1. Water storage (40+ gallons--use less than 1 1/2 per day for the two of us)

2. The fridge (no more planing the trip around looking for ice--fewer trips to the store).

3. Adequate Solar (180 watts--now 200) so that we don't have to run the engine to charge.

4. The head using the Double Doodie bags (there again no trying to find pumpout stations). Your composting head might even be better.

5. Good navigation equipment (SeaClear II and now OpenCPN on the ship's low power computer linked always to the handheld in the cockpit). Full size paper charts (but these are hard to use down there).

6. I should of put this #1.....a willing wife that puts up with all of this .

With the Endeavour we have about double all of the above and have a holding tank but will have the bags with us ready to use (you might think about those as backup just in case you had a problem ).

We won't change how we use the boat much so it means that we should be able to stay out way over a month without having to be anywhere at any certain time.

Have a great trip and please keep a blog and post it. I'm sure others with small children and/or a smaller boat would be very interested in it along with the rest of us ,

Sum
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