Friday, March 14, 2014

The Okeechobee Waterway

We did it! After months of wondering if the depths would be enough for our 6 foot draft, we crossed the Okeechobee Waterway taking us from the west coast to the east coast of Florida. Of course, it wouldn't have been possible without the help of our hardworking crew members.

Almost as soon as we entered the waterway we began seeing alligators lurking along the sides. Dylan thought it might be a good spot for Dee Dee to take a swim...

In the distance we could see the smoke from the burning sugarcane fields. Later we found the fine black soot covering the boat.

There was an abundance of wildlife that the kids took a great interest in.

They even saw their first iguana. But Dylan and Dee Dee thought it was a small dinosaur.

Later they saw an alligator up-close and personal when we took them for a walk.

There was always something to watch off the bow including a pair of great white pelicans.

Dee Dee wants to point out that she has finally learned to not put her paws on the caprail. Elbows don't count...

There were two spots along the route that could have been too skinny for our draft - one near the beginning and one near the end. The one at the beginning would have been irritating but the one at the end could have meant a long trip back across the waterway. Not something we wished to even think about.

Fortunately we had met up with friends and fellow cruisers from Castine, Bill and Sheila and their canine crew, Riggs and Katie. We were fortunate not only because we enjoy spending time with them, but because their Grand Banks, Spray, draws only 4 feet. So they agreed to take the lead and report back if the depths became too shallow.

It was a fun and interesting trip that the whole crew enjoyed. We are now back on the east coast in familiar territory, well, at least for most of the crew. For Dee Dee there's still lots of new waters to explore.


Sheila and Bill Corbett said...

I too thought that 'Christmas tree' was worth a photo.

MV Red Head said...

It also made me think of a Christmas tree. Sorry that my picture of your boat was so poor. Especially after you took such fabulous ones of ours...

Dave Gibson said...

We're living in our RV in north-central Florida while we wait for Drift Away to sell. Yes, there are alligators here, which is a problem for our dogs. All three love to swim and they don't understand why we don't let them. Alligators also move from pond to pond, so if there's no alligator in a pond one day, there may be the next. Poor dogs.

You guys might get a kick out of this too. I was fishing on the Oklawaha River, which is a very small and narrow tributary to the St. Johns River. It was to be used as part of the defunct Cross Florida Barge Canal and even has locks and channel markers in spots, but I digress. As we were navigating around logs and such, coming upriver was a Cape Dory 22 named Carpy. He must have come up the St. Johns from Jacksonville. Talk about gunkholing!

I've been out of touch for awhile due to an accident. It's good to see that you've completed your loop.

MV Red Head said...

Pam and Dave,

I hope you're not giving up the water!! Sorry about your accident and hope all is well now.


Leigh said...

Are you all in Vero Beach? I think we might be moored by you (s/v Blue Dog). If so, we are definitely going to come by to say hi. We want to meet Jeff and Karen, of course, but meeting Dylan and Dee Dee will be the HIGHLIGHT of this cruising season. I have been following them on the blog for so long now, that they are minor celebrities in my life! :-)

Leigh (& Shannan)

MV Red Head said...


Yes, we are in Vero Beach on a mooring. The kids always love to say hello!!