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Old 07-18-2016, 10:37 AM   #1
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Best Route

Hi All,

I'm looking for suggestions about the shortest way to cruise from the east coast of FL to the west coast of FL without crossing the polluted Lake Okeechobee.

Thanks! Howard
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Old 07-18-2016, 10:51 AM   #2
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Down around Marathon under the bridge. decent water all the way. On the inside it might be a bit shorter but essentially same route with some shallow spots at low tide in the "yacht channel"
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Old 07-18-2016, 01:11 PM   #3
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The lake is at 14 feet, which means good water depth.
First night Indian Town marina with courtesy car ride to dinner.
Second night east side of Franklin Lock. Nice docks.
Third night Fort Myers.
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Old 07-18-2016, 02:38 PM   #4
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Hi All,

I'm looking for suggestions about the shortest way to cruise from the east coast of FL to the west coast of FL without crossing the polluted Lake Okeechobee.

Thanks! Howard
Take a car.

Otherwise as noted above in first responding post. Nice cruising grounds

Where are you starting Where are you trying to get to? The Okeechobee Waterway is pretty fun to do at least once; a much different Florida to see. The lake isn't all that polluted.
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Old 07-18-2016, 03:37 PM   #5
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It's a long 2 day run across the Okeechobee waterway for me. With some Magic, an easy 2 days (140 statute miles from the AICW to Fort Myers. Wouldn't worry about the pollution from this spring's record rain fall and back pumping into the lake. Heck, the water is probably dirtier cruising through New York city.

Ted
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Old 07-18-2016, 03:56 PM   #6
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I'm with Ted. It's a nice 2 day trip across from Stuart to Ft Myers, and the ugly green stuff isn't really west of the lake at all, and even the lake is in pretty good shape, and plenty deep right now. It's a long slog around Miami and the everglades, and for 100 miles you are really in the boonies from Florida Bay to Marco Island. Not a casual undertaking (says me, a guy who once had to be towed 8 hours from Little Shark to Marco by TowBoatUS after it took over an hour for anyone, anyone at all, to hear me on the VHF down there.) The Okeechobee ditch is a far better route for anyone with anything less than a 54 foot mast, in my opinion.
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Old 07-18-2016, 04:16 PM   #7
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Down in the Keys, Channel Five near Matecumbe looks like a good place to cross from Hawk Channel to the back country. I would take Hawk from Biscayne instead of the Jewfish Creek back country route. Depends on size and draw of the boat and whether Hawk is stood up. Last two times I was down there Hawk was rough like Pamlico Sound rough. Nasty short and sharp. Took the back country route. Plenty of water for my 38. Not sure how big you can go there and be comfortable with depth.
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Old 07-18-2016, 05:21 PM   #8
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Well thanks all. I've done the lake route before and I guess I'll do it again. Does seem like a long trip around Marathon. I sure hope that whatever I hit and bent 2 props on is gone by now.

OC--Two day trip even with the help of Magic. My one day record in daylight is 121 statute miles. Left at first light and picked up a town mooring as the sun was setting. That's a tiring day for me.
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Old 07-18-2016, 05:27 PM   #9
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Inside is fine, and more scenic down to Channel 5 but we started sanding our 5 foot deep keel after that. The channel to Cape Sable is better leaving from Marathon.

The OP said "shortest" as if time might be an issue. Far SW FL was a destination for us. We chartered boats when we lived in Dallas before buying our Hatteras, just to go there for a week, great wilderness cruising and gunkholing. The Okee was a one and done experience for us, especially since we had already done a lot of it, sight seeing wise, by car. But glad we did cruise it once, it was our intro to using locks of any appreciable depth and it reminded me a bit of cruising in the California Delta.
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Old 07-18-2016, 05:34 PM   #10
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OC--Two day trip even with the help of Magic. My one day record in daylight is 121 statute miles. Left at first light and picked up a town mooring as the sun was setting. That's a tiring day for me.
We know you have the Magic. It's more about the luck of timing the 5 locks, 2 bridges, and the RR bridge that's supposed to be open (but often isn't ).

Ted
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Old 07-18-2016, 05:47 PM   #11
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The reports of thick algae and stink in the lake and rivers would turn me off.

Anyone been there rrecently?
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Old 07-20-2016, 06:26 AM   #12
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The lake isn't all that polluted.

The media has been hyping "pollution" in the hope of bringing OPM (other peoples money) in as disaster relief.

Call the marina in Clewiston and ask them about water conditions.
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