Our friends Kathy & Vern own a 44ft Marine Trader Trawler ( Cloud Nine ) which they had docked at Fisherman Village Marina for the last 8 years. That is where we had our boat Sea Crazy docked and where we had the pleasure of meeting Vern & Kathy back in 2014…
John and I have been blessed with Kathy & Vern being a part of our life since then. Vern has been wanting to move Cloud Nine over to Fort Pierce for a while now. They got there name put on a list at the City Dock Marina in Fort Pierce last year and this year Vern received the email saying they had a slip for them. So Kathy planned the trip and last Sunday we set sail. We left Fisherman Village and headed south with John at the Helm & Vern manning the Charts…..⚓️
We took off from Fisherman’s early Sunday and we made it to Ft Myers and anchored right past Legacy Marina. It was about five pm by the time we anchored and the rain hit us hard. Nonetheless, we spent roughly eight hours on the water and the crew of Cloud Nine was tired and ready for Happy Hour…Cheers🍻
The next morning we heading out early …our first lock would be Franklin Locks. We arrived there about an hour later and this was my first experience going through the locks. John had done it before with his son boat and Kathy and Vern had done it as well with there sailboat but for this crew, it was a first for us on Cloud Nine.
Leaving Ft Myers we would hit the Franklin Locks & our first swing bridge at Fort Denaud…Franklin Locks has 8 boat slips and you can get more info on this website…www.recreation.gov
Monday was a beautiful day on the water. We really saw very little boats as we cruised to our next lock ( lock 2 of 5 ) this lock would be a bit challenging…as we approached the Ortona Lock we catch up with one of the boats that passed us way back…to find out. the locks are not working at the time we got there so Johnny Boy has to keep us in idle mode till we get the okay to enter. There are five boats waiting to enter we are #5…. before we actually get the ok another boat approached from the west making his boat #6…we knew this was going to be fun ( NOT ) finally we get the ok to enter the locks…
We finally got into the locks and it was crowded. Six big boats well five big boats one tug & all three of us yelling at Johnny to slow down while the gal that is in charge of the locks is telling Johnny no keep pushing forward…it really was funny. We did it though no one hurt no boats hit after the 8 ft climb we all moved through the locks with no issues. Lock #2 done on to the next one. We didn’t make it to the next lock so we stopped at Moore Haven City Docks for the night. Showers & Happy Hour for the crew doesn’t get much better than that. We started out early Tuesday and hit the locks by 900 am. Moore Haven locks located west side of Lake O. This lock was constructed in 1935 for navigation ( thank God ) & flood control purposes. Did you know? Fun Fact: it serves as a recreational gateway to the second largest freshwater lake in the Continental US, as well as one of the most bountiful fishing sites for sport fishing. The lock is 50 feet x 250 feet long x ten feet. Lift of lock one to two feet. Now you know!
We cruised down the rim canal through Clewiston and on into Lake Okeechobee…in the rim canal some pretty amazing scenery and not a boat in the waters except us. Once we started in the channel taking us to Lake Okeechobee the wind picked up…made for a great ride but tough on the driver to keep the cruise control on track.
Once we approach Port Mayaca we heard on the radio some chatter about the locks being open. We were some happy people when we heard that. All’s we had to do is get the okay to approach and we went cruising right through the fourth locks. Easy Peasy we were all smiles. One lock to go them we would be done with the locks. We had to be at the lock by 430 in order to get through as they closed at 5 pm. So Johnny & Vern did some figuring and at almost 7.4 knots they felt we could make it before they closed.
We had one lock left to travel through and we were all looking forward to that. Course the big topic on Cloud Nine was – do we have enough time to make it. Johnny figured we could make it then about an hour later Vern said wow it going to be close. I got out the old iPad calculated the miles one more time did the math and by gosh I said yes we can make it. LoL like I know what I’m talking about – not -But we did make it. We approached the lock & waited for the ok to approach at 425pm…five of five locks we’re completed and we were one happy crew. Look out Ft Pierce because we have you in our sights. We anchored in the waterways of Saint Lucie river for the night & got an early start to Ft Piece. We arrived about 1 pm. ( So three & half days on the water…)
We continued towards Ft Pierce where we saw more boats as we approached Jensen Beach water traffic kick up a bit. It wasn’t long before we saw the bridge we were aiming for because Ft Pierce Marina was right before the bridge. Johnny turned down the channel towards the Marina as Vern is getting directions to the fuel pumps. When we arrived the pumps we’re busy so Johnny had to keep Cloud Nine steady for some time. But after four days as the driver, he had it well u der control. We got the ok to approach pumps…once we got fueled up we headed to Cloud Nine new slip @ Ft Pierce Marina. It was a great trip and we were so glad to get her docked and once again have Happy Hour!!!
After we got cloud nine settled in her new place John& I hit the showers while Vern & Kathy stayed on Cloud Nine to shower and relax. John and I decided to go to the local Restaurant for dinner and walk around downtown Ft Pierce as it was our first time in this area. We walked to the local Restaurant where we actually got 20 percent off our meal ( thanks to Vern & Kathy) we had some yummy quesadillas & a brew from the local brewery..after dinner we took a walk down several blocks of Ft Pierce to check out. Since this is where Kathy & Vern will be for most of the winter we are looking forward to it being a great place to visit. Until next time Fort Pierce ✌️
The next day we headed back to the west coast for Vern & Kathy to pick up their car at Fisherman Village Marina and us to go home. Vern& Kathy would head back to Ft Pierce for a few days before they would return home to Ocala. It was a great adventure for the four of us..until the next time.