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Old 01-23-2014, 10:12 AM   #1
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Crossing the Okeechobee

We are thinking now of storing our boat for the summer on the West coast of Florida which requires we cross the Okeechobee. Anyone have any pointers? Is this a 2 day trip? Are there places we can just hang for a night or tie up to a canal wall?

Thanks,
Dave
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:29 AM   #2
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We are thinking now of storing our boat for the summer on the West coast of Florida which requires we cross the Okeechobee. Anyone have any pointers? Is this a 2 day trip? Are there places we can just hang for a night or tie up to a canal wall?

Thanks,
Dave
Shoot a PM to FF.....he's the man for that part of the country...he might even have a cheap slip for you.

OCDiver is going through solo as we speak or just finished...he went through the first lock with Headhustler...check with those guys too...
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Old 01-23-2014, 10:50 AM   #3
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At least a 2 day trip on your boat. You should be able to make Moorehaven in a day. You can tie to the city dock there for $1/ft with water & elec. They have restroom facilities if needed. Not much there otherwise. You will have cleared 3 of the 5 locks at Moorehaven.
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:06 AM   #4
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there's also hard storage on the east coast at Indiantown - perhaps 20 west of Stuart -
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:22 AM   #5
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We were going to store on the east but are switching to their facility on the west. It's only about 10 miles west of Moorehaven. Is there a place to stop in the eastern canal?

I'll check in with FF and the others too.

Thanks,
Dave
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Old 01-23-2014, 11:50 AM   #6
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We were going to store on the east but are switching to their facility on the west. It's only about 10 miles west of Moorehaven. Is there a place to stop in the eastern canal?

I'll check in with FF and the others too.

Thanks,
Dave
You can stop at Clewiston at Roland and Mary Ann Martins Marina. Don't let them put you right under the bar. It gets noisy. Going into Clewiston be certain to stay in the middle of the channel. It is cut out of solid rock. Same goes for parts of the rim canal to Moorehaven.
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Old 01-23-2014, 12:16 PM   #7
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For local knowledge, water depths, etc, we were advised to call George - the dockmaster at the Roland Martin Marina. We were crossing the other direction but it was a few years ago, so all the info has changed.

The channel markers are very far apart, so it's easy to drift out of the channel. For us, easily identified by the grass and birds standing. I used the radar to keep the back markers/channel on the centerline of the boat.
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:34 PM   #8
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We were going to store on the east but are switching to their facility on the west. It's only about 10 miles west of Moorehaven. Is there a place to stop in the eastern canal?

I'll check in with FF and the others too.

Thanks,
Dave
From the ICW in Stuart to the city dock at Moore Haven is 80 +/- statue miles (not Nautical). Leaving Stuart around 7:30 and running 7.5 to 8 knots, had me tied to the Moore Haven dock by 5pm. Trip is fairly simple and straight forward with a good plotter and reasonably current chart software. Active Captain is also very useful. It will provide you with vhf channel information for the locks and bridges as well as other useful information. Some bridges are on demand, while others are normally open, but close for trains. While water level isn't normally a problem on the lake, low levels reduce lock usage from on demand to reduced schedule. Also extreme rains such as last June or July increased significantly the flow leaving the lakes. All this information is updated daily on the US Army Corps of Engineers Site. This site combined with Active Captain will give you a very good over view of situations that may slow your progress down. With a Verizon hot spot, I was able to have internet access (for Active Captain) 99% of the time (even in the middle of the lake). On my trip, the only slow downs were waiting up to 30 minutes to get into a lock and 20+ minutes waiting for a train to cross the swing bridge.

Ted
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Old 01-23-2014, 07:58 PM   #9
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This is the kind of information I was looking for. Thanks!

Dave
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:06 PM   #10
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Greetings,
We stayed at Roland Martin's one night and side of boat got damaged by skiff being towed by unknown commercial fishing vessel exiting the channel @ 05:30 hrs. doing, what I would guess, 20 knts. Channel is about 50' at that point and our beam is 15', Anecdotal and probably isolated incident.
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Old 01-23-2014, 08:25 PM   #11
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Stop off at the free dock (med style mooring) in Labelle and pick up some of the excellent local orange blossom honey a short walk from the dock.
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Old 01-24-2014, 08:45 AM   #12
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>We are thinking now of storing our boat for the summer on the West coast of Florida which requires we cross the Okeechobee.<

So you wish to motor past numerous safe inexpensive inland hurricane holes , to leave your boat in a hurricane target area?

La Belle is a good cruisers stop, walking distance to the Post Office , and the 1/4 block away library has free wi fi.

IF a quickie bit of bottom work is needed there is a DIY haul out about 10 miles east of La Belle . NOT for storing a boat , theft problems, but great for a few days of bottom paint or sea cock maint.
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:26 AM   #13
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The Trawler Beach House: The Okeechobee Waterway

These guys provided a decent overview with pictures.

Hope you will post your experiences with your own pictures. We've not gone as far as FL, but Okeechobee looks like quite an adventure (pro and con) for us for the future.

Thanks!
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Old 01-24-2014, 09:54 AM   #14
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Has anybody done the Mini Loop? Cross Florida through the lake, south to the Florida Keys, back north to where you started. I've done it in sections but not all at once.
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:01 AM   #15
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Yep. On that trip we didn't go down to Key West, but crossed to Hawk Channel at Marathon.
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Old 01-24-2014, 10:51 AM   #16
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Nobody's talk'in about anchorages?

What kind of bottom would you find in a swamp?
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:10 PM   #17
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Has anybody done the Mini Loop? Cross Florida through the lake, south to the Florida Keys, back north to where you started. I've done it in sections but not all at once.
In 2010 we left Houma Louisiana, traveled the ICW to Apalachicola. Overnight crossing the Gulf to Anclote/ Tarpon Springs. On to Ft Myers, down to Marathon, came up the east coast to Stuart and crossed Okeechobee back to Ft Myers then back to Houma crossing the Gulf from Annamaria Island at the mouth of Tampa Bay to Gov't Cut /Apalachicola then along the GICW back to Houma La. It was a about a 3 month trip so we made a lot of stops along the way, it did include the Fl. mini loop all at once. Details in our blog site below, we left Ft Myers March 1, 2010 and were back in Ft Myers on March 26 after the Keys, Miami Lake Okeechobee etc.
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:45 PM   #18
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Has anybody done the Mini Loop? Cross Florida through the lake, south to the Florida Keys, back north to where you started. I've done it in sections but not all at once.
That mini-loop is on our agenda. Anybody know what kind of tine commitment one should plan for a leasurely mini- loop at trawler speeds...anchoring out most of the time?
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Old 01-24-2014, 02:56 PM   #19
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We were thinking of doing the mini loop. We were going move our Camano up to Stuart and start there, We'd do it over winter since for the most part it's rough in the gulfstream.
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Old 01-24-2014, 03:09 PM   #20
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That mini-loop is on our agenda. Anybody know what kind of tine commitment one should plan for a leasurely mini- loop at trawler speeds...anchoring out most of the time?
Like any trip...some marinas wind up being a one night stay and you see as much as you are going to see...then others could take weeks.

I wouldn't do it if I couldn't spend some time exploring the nice islands at the West end of the crossing canal like Sanibel...and spend a lot of time snorkeling the Keys.

Me personally.... with a 6.3 knot boat and around 600 miles if you include a run to the Tortugas....that's say 100 hours steaming and I like to average about 5hrs/day...so 20 days traveling and 1 full day staying at some places for every day of travel....I'd ball park it at 45 days minimum with hopefully allowing 60 for extra time in some places.

But that's only one of a zillion ways to enjoy that loop...frankly I was surprised that it was around 600 miles (a very quick plot on OpenCPN).

I would figure on a 1-3 ratio of marina nights versus anchoring out...some day anchoring for fishing/snorkeling (or tied to the mooring balls)

In most swamps I would expect mud bottom...but I can't think of any swamps on the mini-loop
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