When we left Ft. Myers this morning, the sun was blinding and our hearts were heavy. Coming into a marina, you hope you will get along with your “neighbors” while you are there. The folks at Paradise Marina were very welcoming. Even an introvert like me couldn’t help but be won over. And here we were, leaving. I love being on the water and love visiting a different place regularly, but it is awfully difficult to leave so often.
As the engines were warming and my intestines were doing their usual disco dance prior to traveling in the beast, I started thinking about the lock we would be going through. It was a new type for us. Of course it was off-putting for me.
I had calmed myself by the time we made our approach. We waited while the lock gates slowly opened and the water rushed out. We were finally given the go ahead to enter. Lines of rope were draped down the lock walls and I knew I had to use the pole to snag a line. My abilities with grabbing lines with the pole are notorious poor and yet, I had no issues today. It was not a particularly long line. We were to hold our lines as the boat rose with the water. Rick stepped out and snagged a line at the back. The wind was pushing us a bit and my line was slipping out of my hand. I shouted to Rick, who couldn’t help since he had hold of his line. He told me to let go, but I knew that would lead to a host of different issues. The line was barely long enough for me to wrap it once around the cleat at my feet. Rick followed suit and we were able to hold the boat fairly easily although I ended up channeling Quasimodo staying bent the entire time.
The next lock was interested in that we ended up behind an older couple who were less experienced than me (if there is such an animal). The woman was on the front of the boat with a line and the man at the back with a line. She was not keeping the front toward the wall which forced the back end into the wall. She was SCREAMING at the poor guy that he was letting the back end hit the wall; confusing him. Then, she lets go of her line and screeched to the guy to drop his rope and DRIVE. He glanced, bewilderingly, up at a couple watching from above, who explained to the man that she wanted him to drop his line and start driving the boat. Now, the gates are not open so we aren’t sure where they were going to drive and we were getting nervous they might turn completely around and head into us. The guy gets the boat in gear and starts driving SIDEWAYS to the other wall, hitting the wall head on. The woman is at the very tip of the bow of the boat still screaming her head off. She had no PFD and, I’ll be honest, I was half hoping she’d fall in. They bounce off that wall and turn towards the gates just as they were opening. We were still holding steady waiting for the all clear. They snaked their way through the gates just as the all clear comes. They puttered and puttered as we followed them out.
We ended up going farther than we expected, making our way to Moore Haven. By then the wind had picked up and we slammed into the dock rather than sidling up to it. Luckily another boat owner was there and grabbed our lines tying us off quickly.
Any way, here is our the plan for the week:
Thursday: Leave Moore Haven and head across Lake Okeechobee, to Indiantown, FL
Friday: Leave Indiantown and travel to Stuart, FL where we will stay through the weekend.
Updates to come.