Next up, South Carolina, or “Bring two bottles of Dom Pérignon to Cabana 1”

We had a nice easy trip up to Sunbury, although it started off a bit rough.  At 2 a.m.  When Oscar demanded to go use the restroom.  By “restroom” we mean grass, or dock, or deck, or anything handy.  And by “demanded” we mean he reminded us that if we didn’t jerk into immediate action—at 2 a.m.—he’d just let fly in our bed.  So we jumped up like the boat was on fire.  Cancer medicine surely stinks for the little guy, but it’s not that great for us either.

But hey, we made it to our reservation at the crab company and the shrimp nachos were awesome.

One of the many great things about traveling at eight knots is that we can explore lots of places that otherwise we’d never know existed.  When zooming down I-40, for example, the stones we unturn generally are limited to Pilot truck-stops with clean facilities, Funyuns, and Mountain Dew.

In the whole stop-and-smell-the-roses vein, it turns out that Sunbury, Georgia, is really cool.  For one thing, Sunbury was the home of many famous persons.  We now know this because there’s a sign.

It’s probably true, though, because this once was a seaport of significance even before the Revolutionary War, when cargo ships and warships from both sides came up the Medway River and docked right about where Tumbleweed spent Thursday night.

During that same Revolutionary War, Fort Morris was captured by the British, held for a time, and then essentially abandoned once the losers went home with their tails between their legs.

We walked the mile or so to check out the fort, but wound up going home with our tails down just like the other losers.

On the way home, however, we found ourselves strolling along the historic Sunbury Road, which in the 1700s was the main highway/carriage path into what then was the second-largest seaport on the lower Atlantic coast.  We probably walked right where many famous persons once walked, although there wasn’t a sign to confirm it.

Then on to the Sunbury Cemetery, where presumably many famous persons are buried.

If showing up in a Google search is a requirement for fame, however, Adam C. Dunham wasn’t one of the famous people who once populated Sunbury.  Perhaps that’s because—according to one of the saddest gravestones we’ve seen—he buried his many hopes rather than acting upon them.

Sunbury was so cool, in fact, that here’s another photo of Tumbleweed, bathed in the early morning glow, completely untouched by the mosquitos and biting flies that were supposed to be here but mercifully never materialized.

Like old Adam, we had hopes.  Friday’s hope was to make it to Delegal Creek and a joint that even has a place to play pickleball.   Another nice easy cruise.  The worst thing we saw was that the retro Shell sign at the entrance to Kilkenny Creek has fallen down since the time we stayed up in there despite being disappointed because the restaurant was closed.  Even Hell Gate—which terrified Loopers like us in years past—has been dredged.  No thrill at all as we rode Bob432’s recommended line and never saw less than about ten feet of water under us.

Okay, to be honest there was one scary part.  We’ve never been to this marina before, so even with a warning from Steve on Gypsies Palace we weren’t prepared for the jarring disconnect between what we saw out our windows and what we saw on our charts as we entered.  Not a single channel marker where Garmin and Navionics and Aquamaps agree they should be.

But we made it.  There we are, way down at the end of C Dock, across the marsh, looking quite tiny.

Great news greeted us on Friday about the time we pulled in.  Thanks to a brilliant idea from the girls’ Aunt Liz, we exchanged birthday presents that will expand our ability to explore new places efficiently.  Two scooters were delivered yesterday and are awaiting our arrival in Charleston.  Woooo!

Although Doug has coveted a SoloWheel Glide 3 ever since we left Fishtown, these bad boys are a solid compromise.  They’re gonna be game-changers.

Skidaway Island—which the immature one of us figures was named by a dude who manufactured underwear cleaning solutions—is home to The Landings.  The Landings essentially is a master-planned community with a bunch of private clubs and private restaurants.  Very swanky.  The nice marina folks gave us passes into all the private stuff that we don’t have proper clothing to enjoy, and a private golf cart to take us to all that private stuff.

Very swanky indeed.  And very helpful when we went to Publix and to play pickleball at the private courts.  Once the locals realized that our skill level is neither offensively good nor offensively bad, they welcomed us warmly.  Actually even more than warmly.  More like hot and humidly.  But great fun was had by all, as they say.

Even better than pickleball?  We docked across from Honey Queen, a Gold Looper boat that we likely passed without notice in Virginia two summers ago.  Wes and Amanda live right around the corner and invited us to dinner Saturday evening.

What a great treat to hang out with them and a few of their boating friends.  Loopers are the best.

Sunday the wind was a’howlin, so we mostly stayed aboard. Which was okay because both the Longhorns and the Volunteers made it to Omaha for the College World Series, with televised games.  Unfortunately, Doug single-handedly jinxed both our teams by prematurely thinking up zingers to use on Charlie after the anticipated Vol win and Bulldog loss, neither of which materialized.  Grrrrr.

Among the swanky amenities offered by The Landings are miles of gorgeous walking paths, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Although when Oscar is along they’re not really walking paths. More like dawdling paths.

When we arrived at Delegal on Friday, the plan was to leave Monday.  But then the weather was horrible yesterday so we decided to leave Tuesday.  But then it looked a bit better this morning so we thought maybe we’d go on up to Thunderbolt.  But then Thunderbolt Marina somewhat predictably was struck by lightening last night so all their phones and internet were out so we couldn’t confirm that they had a spot we safely could claim in 25-knot gusts.  But then we reached them by VHF and they said come on, so we scurried around untying ourselves in the wind so we could catch the last of the creek water before it was carried out to sea.  Whew.  Because we now knew we’d be going across charted land it was marginally less scary this time through, but just by a smidge.

Here’s Moon River, made famous by Savannah’s own Johnny Mercer (although technically it’s more of an inlet that was renamed to take advantage of Johnny rather than the other way around.)

We apologize for recycling the reference, but frankly it’s impossible to pass Moon River without a nod to Irwin Fletcher. “Thank you Doc.  You ever serve time?”

After tying up and eating the obligatory lunch at Tubby’s we popped over to River Supply, because it’s also obligatory to pop over to every marine supply outfit within striking distance.

Unfortunately they were able to sell us exactly none of the things we need, so of course we bought two drink holders that’ll come in handy but weren’t on the list.  We’re staying here until Wednesday because of the wind, so we’ll probably go back tomorrow.

From here we’ll hit up either Hilton Head or Beaufort, depending on the weather and our mood.  Done with Georgia.

Raining sunshine

First of all, this post title proves—contrary to a common misconception—that we’re pretty darn hip when it comes to current pop culture.  Because we once were parents of pre-teen girls, we watched from afar as precocious Summer transformed into precocious Carly and then started a short-lived singing career.

Lots of rain and lots of sun over the past few days, starting Monday morning.  Up early to beat both the Bridge of Lions dead-time and the impending storm.

Not too bad for a start.  Plus we were able to pass under the bridge with a few inches to spare so left it in our wake without even needing the opening.

Most of the day was just gray and dreary, but at least the rain held off.

Well actually the rain held off only long enough for us to get tied up at Palm Cove and walk a half mile to get lunch thinking we were safe.  Then it started coming down.   We have umbrellas, of course, because we’re not dummies.  But we left them on the boat.

Historically we took rain photos through Misty Pearl’s porthole.  No portholes on Tumbleweed, however, which sadly means no more additions to the PortholefolioTM.  But the rain was significant, which really sucked for the one of us who needs to pee outside.

By Tuesday morning, the sun was back in its rightful place, right behind the orange sky.  More epic than usual.  Gonna be a beautiful day.

At some point—which we’ve already passed—the ICW through north Florida and Georgia all starts looking the same.  Not ugly, mind you, but one of us finds it not particularly interesting either.  Especially the second time through.

That’s not to say there’s nothing interesting in these parts though.  For instance BAE busily was working on some Navy ships, which always are cool.

And how about this?  This dock is at the end of an absurdly long walkway from the houses on shore, barely visible as it fades into the distance.

Here’s the Google Earth photo.  Doug measured it using the handy-dandy Google Earth measuring tool.  Four-tenths of a mile from the house to the boat.

Not surprisingly, we have a few observations.  First, maintaining nearly a half-mile of elevated wooden walkway can’t be easy or cheap.  Second, we imagine it’s the source of many family arguments that start after schlepping the coolers and fishing equipment down to the boat on one of these ridiculously hot and humid days: “Honey, I forgot my phone.  Would you run back to the house and get it for me?”  Third—and probably related to the first two—it doesn’t seem to get used much.  The same lone boat from the Google Earth photo is still the same lone boat stuck out there.  We saw no evidence that it’s been on the water anytime in the recent past.

Anyway, we made it into the new docks at Fernandina Beach, just past the fishing boats that looked a lot like the fishing boats in Nova Scotia.  Which means that this photo looks a lot like photos we posted while on the Down East Circle.

Fernandina Beach is one of these small towns we missed last time but are trying to catch this time.

We’d like to catch them without this wet-stuff though.   Because once again the driving rain smacked us and the wind whipped up two-footers in the river.

The good news about the Fernandina Beach storm is that after it left, we got a spectacular, painting-worthy, dusk, although Tumbleweed’s view of the golden rays was significantly impeded by all of the non-boaters who crowded the dock two feet from our stern to take selfies with OUR amazing sunset.

Yes, we felt possessive of the sunset view from Tumbleweed.  And no, we don’t feel bad about it.  (Here’s a simple trick to avoid feeling bad about wanting annoying strangers to get the hell out of the way.  Just assume that they’re Alabama fans.  Works every time.)

Gypsies Palace convinced us to take the outside route up to St. Simons Island, which would put us back in the ocean.   But we could avoid that treacherous stretch in Jekyll Creek that nearly stopped us last time through.  Great call.  The St. Mary’s Inlet was smooth as whipped butter, which is exactly what we want for inlets and toasted-bagel spread.

The inlet entrance is guarded by Fort Clinch, at least as much as an abandoned fort turned into an historic site can guard something.

The fort mostly was built in 1847, initially controlled by the Confederacy, then the Union, then the Union again during the Spanish-American war.  To the Tennessee fan aboard Tumbleweed, however, it looks like the Florida cannons were aimed at Georgia, just across the inlet.  Which raises the theoretical specter of a moral dilemma equivalent to choosing between Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Then out into the Atlantic.  We last saw this water when we rounded Cape May heading to Virginia on Misty Pearl almost a year ago.  Not surprisingly, it looks just about the same as we remembered.

Dana and Oscar enjoyed naps on the watch berth, which now arguably should be renamed the nap berth.

Did someone say something about golden rays?  Speaking of golden rays, in September of 2019 the 650-foot Golden Ray was carrying about 4,300 new cars out of Brunswick, heading to Baltimore, when it sank in the very alliterative St. Simons Sound.  As of about seven hours ago when we passed by, the salvage operation still was underway.  So apparently is the squabbling about strategy, cost, pollution, and responsibility.

Before today’s storm arrives, we thoroughly enjoyed a courtesy-car ride to town and a delicious meal with Steve and Debbie and Joann, their guest aboard Gypsies Palace.

We had a great time swapping stories about Charlie and Robin and The Lower Place.

Tomorrow a long slog to Sunbury Crab Co. Restaurant and Marina, which Coastal Living magazine says is one of the “Best seafood dives of all time.”  That’s a pretty bold claim, and a claim that’s hard to prove or disprove unless one (1) fashions some sort of objective standard for judging seafood dives and (2) invents a time-travel/teleportation machine.  We’re just hoping we get there by our 6:15 reservation slot and the food is decent.

Wild Kingdom, or “You want a toe? We can get you a toe.”

First off all, this is getting creepy.  Oscar has been peeing on a rug that tied the room together, although we’ve now moved it outside for him.  The day after including a line from The Big Lebowski AND noting that “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds” is the movie’s opening song, we step off the boat in Daytona Beach just down the dock from El Duderino (“if you’re not into the whole brevity thing”).

We’ve noted some extreme coincidences before, but if we run into a band of angry nihilists any time soon this will jump to the top.

Now back to boating.  Shortly after heading north out of Titusville Thursday morning, we angled a bit east through the Haulover Canal, which connects the Indian River to  Mosquito Lagoon.  Apparently, before someone dug the canal, Native Americans used to haul their canoes over the strip of land that blocked easy access to the ocean.  Hence the name.  None of that means much to us, but we had to get through it, dodging alligators along the way.

The Haulover Canal Bridge is significant to the country because it carries a road to the NASA Shuttle Landing Facility, which is pretty cool.  For us, however, this time through the bridge was significant mostly for its insignificance.  With Misty Pearl’s air draft we had to wait for an opening.  On Tumbleweed, we slid right on under.  Very nice.

In several prior posts we’ve lamented the lack of information after someone reports a maritime emergency.  Often we’ll be riveted by the radio traffic, but never find out what happened.  When Fishy Fishy’s Captain called in a man-overboard Mayday someplace off the coast near New Smyrna, however, we were able to follow the action until the Coast Guard officially reported that one of their boats had pulled Robert—38 years old and 5’11”—to safety.  To United States Coast Guard Sector Jacksonville, Florida, thanks for the closure.  We also enjoyed saying “Fishy Fishy” out loud more than a few times.

At the southern edge of Daytona Beach, the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse stands 175 feet tall, and since 1887 has guided weary sailors to wet t-shirt contests and Jell-O shots. 

Obviously it needs to be renamed now that we know Ponce had to push John Cabot out of the way just to step on Florida’s shores.  Plus, what kind of a name is “Ponce” anyway?

Our Daytona Beach destination was Halifax Harbor.  As we turned into the channel, horrible flashbacks of our last visit to Halifax Harbor gripped us.  In fact, based on our experience, 100% of the time we enter Halifax Harbor we’re blinded by dense fog and nearly crushed by every manner of huge fast ships we can’t see.   Our panic subsided, of course, when we remembered that the fog was in Halifax Harbor, Nova Scotia, and we probably wouldn’t hit any on a June afternoon in Florida.  So we went on in.

A few things about our sixteen-hour Daytona Beach experience.  First up, Brownie the Town Dog.  The Waterway Guide says that Brownie’s grave and memorial are guarded by a topiary Brownie in a lush park and is a “must see” attraction.  Brownie apparently was a street dog that captured the hearts of enough locals to justify a grave, memorial, topiary replica, and park.  Since we’re Contributing Editors and all, we felt obliged to brave the 90° sauna to take a look.  WTF?  The park is a construction site, the grave is covered, the memorial statue is in a crate, and the topiary dog is nowhere to be seen.  What a huge disappointment.

The minor-league team is the Daytona Tortugas, which we think is a cool name.  The chocolate store has Christian books and a sign on the door telling anyone in a bikini that they can’t come inside.  The newly-opened hot dog place is pretty good.

The best part of Daytona, however, was getting to know Doug and Pat on Talisman.  They cruise at twenty knots so we can’t keep up, but they were docked at our marina when we reached St. Augustine, which gave us the chance to host them—as our first guests—last evening.

But before we hosted Doug and Pat, of course, we had to get to St. Augie.  The tricky part was at the Matanzas inlet, allegedly the shallowest stretch of the Florida ICW.

Last time through we tucked in behind Clark and Evelyn on Sunset Delight, close enough that we could stay in their wake but far enough back to avoid a collision if they happened to stop suddenly on a hidden shoal.  This time we were on our own, but never saw less than about nine feet under us.

What we did see, sort of, was a shark.

Which reminded us of the bear we photographed on the shoreline a few legs back.  Somewhere a little girl has learned a valuable lesson:  “I told you if you kept biting your brother I would put Miss Fuzzy in the rock pile.”

Yup, lots of wildlife along the ICW.  Dana bagged her first roseate spoonbill, which may be even more odd than a giant pink stuffed animal or a shark on a golf cart.

We spent a good deal of time doing touristy stuff last time, and memorialized much of it in our post.   So this time we mostly just did chores and stayed out of the rain, although Doug was able to work in a drone flight and two three-mile round trip hikes to Home Depot in sweltering heat.  Because it’s fundamentally impossible to get everything you need for a project on just one trip to Home Depot.  Even if you make a list.

To round out the animal theme of this post, here’s the marina cat.

Fraud Alert!

Not too much exciting about Stuart this time around, so we’ll jump straightaway to our Monday departure.   Seventeen- to twenty-knot winds, but otherwise absolutely gorgeous.

Know what else is gorgeous?  An aft-facing camera, that’s what.  Unless we were piloting Misty Pearl from the flybridge,  we had a pretty limited view of the sportfish boats zooming up from behind, waiting for the worst possible time to throw a huge wake at us.  Now at least we can see the bastards coming.

Dana and Oscar seem to prefer the pilothouse lounging area.  It’s worth pointing out that if they had been in position a few days ago, Doug probably wouldn’t have driven us into that drainage ditch.  So it’s probably fair to just go ahead and blame them.

One of the many things we forgot about since we last came through here is that inlets suck.  And blow.  No really, inlets suck and blow.  Inlets allow tidal water to come in (flood current) and go out (ebb current).  Depending on the direction and location of ICW travel, you either get sucked or blown.  Which sucks.  And blows.

Anyway, easy trip up to Vero Beach, where we met up with Steal Away—a Looping sailboat docked behind us in Clewiston, and Talisman—a Looping Targa 48 that lost its burgee to the sea a few hours earlier.  Nice folks.  Not much else happened.  We have no idea how Chris and Heather are doing, or whether the wedding they advertised on the restroom doors two years ago even took place.  But we wish them well.

We also wish well to River Runner.  Hopefully he doesn’t encounter any eight-inch waves.

Yesterday was another easy day up to Melbourne.  The only tricky bit was when we passed Green 65.  Someone recently posted a warning on the AGLCA forum about shoaling in the channel.  Yup, there was shoaling in the channel, but we snuck through.

It’s always fascinating to see neighborhoods on islands accessible only by boat.  Grant Farm Island, for example, is one of those.

Supposedly some rich dude was going to put a resort here, but didn’t.  Now it’s just a bunch of old people, because according to the article we read, young people move away when they discover sex.

The startling part of the day came after we docked at Melbourne.  Melbourne claims to be the birthplace of Florida because Ponce de Leon landed here.  Our last trip through here we commented on old Ponce and on St. Augustine’s liberal use of his name for marketing purposes.  But since then, to quote The Dude, “certain things have come to light.”*  Some map collectors and archeologist types have determined that Europeans had mapped some of Florida well before all that Fountain of Youth nonsense.  In fact, they have proffered evidence that John Cabot—whose eponymous trail gave Doug numerous opportunities to annoy Dana with stops to drone—was here first.  The de Leon stuff is a sham.  Yup, from Augustine (St.) to Zook (Ron), Florida is just a hotbed of liars and cheats.**   But we love Melbourne, which may have the best breakfast joint in the state.

This time, we zoomed right past Cocoa Beach without even a photo from the ICW.  Cocoa Beach is famous as the home of Major Tony Nelson and that magical scamp Jeannie (not to be confused with our Looper friends on Magic Jeanne).   On a tangentially related note, years ago Doug had a brush with greatness when he spent quality time in a Phoenix bar chatting with Major Roger Healy.  “Hi Bob” indeed.

Tonight we’re in Titusville.  Our first time here.  Our initial observation is that The Tuxedo Bomb at Pier 220 really is the bomb.   Doug’s seen way too many YouTube videos of birds attacking drones to take a chance, but the osprey guarding the marina from atop a sailboat mast took a break which allowed a very quick flight shortly before sunset.

Tonight, game two of the Women’s College World Series.  Tomorrow, Daytona Beach, where the statute of limitations should protect us from repercussions from any spring-break indiscretions that one or more of us may or may not have in his or her past.

On a final note, here are some pelicans.

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* The Big Lebowski—one of the great art films of our time—opens with “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds” in the background.  Doug knows all the movie lines but failed to recall the soundtrack in time to reference it in our post introducing Tumbleweed.  Obviously quite mortifying for Doug.  Dana doesn’t really seem to care.

**Football season is around the corner.  Expect those liars and cheats in Gainesville to be near the top of the SEC East again, while the Volunteers—paragons of integrity and virtue—languish behind.  It’s not a coincidence people.

We probably almost made it to Swamp Witch Hattie’s shack*

Once upon a time in this blog we commented on Lauderdale’s bogus claim to be—or to once have been—a fort.  Fort Myers, on the other hand, is legit.  At least as legit as a base intended for use in the eradication of those pesky Seminoles can be.

Slightly more recently, Tom Edison was cruising around the coast of Florida and decided to buy some land for a winter retreat.  Then a lightbulb popped on in his head and he decided to invest time and energy into cultivating rubber trees to help the War effort.  Or maybe to help prevent unwanted teenage pregnancies.  Then he and his buddy Hank Ford set up some research facilities and built opulent homes in Fort Myers, which is why today there’s a Marina at Edison Ford.  We didn’t dock there though.

For our first cruise in Tumbleweed, we left the Marina at Rick and Mary’s House, anticipating a nice short shakedown ride.

Through the residential canal was no problem—unless the shrill alarm warning of dropping voltage constitutes a problem.  Either way, a quick call to Rick solved it.  We’ll figure out this boat at some point.

Before Dana could organize lines, a storm decided to hit us.

Apparently it hadn’t rained for months before we arrived, but now it’s a daily occurrence.   Just our luck.  Anyway, with the unexpected wind blowing the unexpected rain into us, we pulled into Legacy Harbour eight miles from where we started.

Fortunately, Legacy Harbour was just far enough to ensure that most everything still works and to set us up for Clewiston, but also just close enough that Chris the Boat Guy From Heaven could stop by to finish up some dinghy cradle repairs after the rain stopped.  Perfect.

Friday morning, we left Legacy at dawn.  Dawn is early no matter the time, but we have places to be.  Plus, it’s not quite as bad when you’re boating.

Until we started Looping we had no idea that the southern third of Florida is an island, just like we previously weren’t aware that Cape Cod is an island.  But they are.  Which comes in handy when one starts in Fort Myers and needs to get out of Florida quickly because boat insurance companies are unreasonably skittish about Florida hurricanes.

Mostly the first part of the Okeechobee waterway was an easy cruise along the Caloosahatchee River, with only a few locks and bridges but lots of cypress trees.

We only identified ourself as Misty Pearl once, which we think is pretty good.

Because the W.P. Franklin Lock—named for Walter P. aka “The Father of The Okeechobee”— was our first lock in Tumbleweed, we submit a commemorative photo:

Yes, we still haven’t figured out how we’re going to stow all our lines.

Anyway, after the last lock of the day we started passing dozens of eyeballs.

We’ve heard someplace that the distance between an alligator’s eyes and nose somehow allows a calculation of how big it is.  We don’t know the exact formula, but by our rudimentary math these guys were at least fifty feet long.  At least they’re not tree-climbers like their cousins at the Alabama River Cutoff.

Just as the the water became thick with eyeballs, Dana went below for something that probably was important.  Doug—at the helm—started jabbering on the phone about something that almost certainly wasn’t important.  This all occurred simultaneously with us reaching the exact spot where the canal makes a fairly sharp starboard turn.  We sailed right on past.  If there had been trees and such, of course, Doug likely would’ve seen them.  But someone had the temerity to place what looks like the continuation of the canal straight ahead.  So we kept going straight ahead.

Things started getting darker.  The walls of swampy trees started closing in.  The water started getting thinner.  WTF is going on?  Ohhhh, we missed the turn.  Turns out this little canal-looking-thingy isn’t a canal at all.  It’s an unmaintained, non-navigable drainage ditch.  The Waterway Guide warning (referencing the danger from the other direction) was a bit late:

Thank goodness Tumbleweed isn’t a twenty-knot boat.  At eight knots, we still managed to get about a half-mile deep before the foolishness of Dana going below became obvious.  Well what the hell do we do now?

Luckily, Doug’s years of clean living finally paid off.  We found a spot about fifty-five feet wide, somehow sloooowly spun our fifty-foot length around without hitting boulders or stumps or mud, and snuck back out hoping nobody had seen us.  It would’ve been quite the ignominious end to our boating life if Dana had been eaten by fifty-foot alligators while slogging through the swamp on foot seeking help, leaving Doug to explain to authorities why he bravely stayed back at the boat to take care of Oscar and the wine bottles until help arrived.  Getting careless at the end of a long day in unfamiliar waters is such a newbie mistake that we half expected to find Kim Russo on the dock at Roland Martin Marina waiting to repossess our gold burgees.

Speaking of Roland Martin—the bass fisherman—he may be a BassMaster Hall-of-Famer, but he’s no Bill Dance.  Nobody but nobody rocks the Power T like Bill Dance, although Doug still bought a shirt.

Speaking of Roland Martin—the marina—we loved the joint.  Well, we loved it after getting tied up safely.  Not so much before that.  It started when a ne’er-do-well boat that will remain nameless (Island Dreamer) beat us to the Moore Haven Lock by just enough to make us wait a cycle, which allowed her to claim the primo spot on the long dock that runs along a very narrow side-canal.  Although he didn’t point fingers, Sam blithely informed us that our spot was now way on down that long dock, past a bunch of other boats.  And since the water is low, there’s no place to turn around at the far end.  So we’d have to turn around at the front end and go in reverse down that narrow side-canal, past all those other boats, then wedge in in front of a sailboat.  “Oh,” he added in a tone that to us seemed unnecessarily cavalier, “Stay away from the rocks on the other side.  They extend out underwater and aren’t forgiving.”  Obviously neither Island Dreamer nor Sam cared a whit that (1) we don’t know this boat very well yet and (2) we were still reeling from our near-death visit to a part of Okeechobee that even Rick and Mary haven’t dared to see.  But the Tiki Bar was outstanding and Doug got the drone up and down before the downpour to photo-document things for posterity.

Up and out this morning after yet another unexpected shower.  Lake Okeechobee—supposedly the largest freshwater lake in the country not named Lake Michigan—was the proverbial piece of cake.

Once past the Port Mayaca Lock, it was smooth sailing.  No drama at all today.  Which of course made us think of our friends Jeff and Ann (and Fred and Zack and Enzo) on No Drama, cruising off the coast of Maine.

The highlight may have been passing  the place where we enjoyed dinner, drinks, and music with Jack and Jo of Trust Your Cape, Loopers related to Mallory’s college roommate.  Of course, we forgot to look for their house until it was too late, so maybe the highlight was just thinking about them.

We made it back to Sunset Bay in Stuart, finally put some stuff away, and ate a delicious dinner.   Crazy that we left Scottsdale barely a week ago, but we’re already ready to stop cruising for a day so we’ll stay here until at least Monday despite the fixed dock.

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*For anyone over sixty who needs a nostalgia throwback, here’s a link the Jim Stafford classic:  Swamp Witch Hattie.