We left Fort Meyers last Friday morning in tandem with Bill and Meredith in fog. Our first lock on the Okechobee Waterway was within minutes of departure. Since it had been close to 15 years since Mac and I had done any locks so we had to refresh our skills. It came back to us pretty quickly as we settled into the Franklin Lock and grabbed the lines.
Our weekend in Moore Haven was interesting. The Moore Haven Marina is relatively new and not on the cruising guide. We learned of it from fellow cruisers we picked up along the way. We give it a five star rating for friendliness for sure! They had at least 6 town folks to help us get docked on Friday afternoon. Captain Robert runs the place. He moved a big catamaran to squeeze the three of us trawlers into his straight-line dockage. We were the last to arrive so Mac had to thread the needle by placing Pelican in the tight middle slip. He was a champ at the helm. By cocktail time we were secure with power on.
We got to actually meet and shake hands with our new traveling companions Kip and Insel from the New Freedom. They were a stones throw away on the hook with us in Fort Meyers and caught up with us and C Time as we got into the Franklin Lock. They are traveling to Maine for the summer as are Bill and Meredith.
It was steak night at the local Eagles Club just up the street so we supported the locals and had a great steak with them. June, our server, was a wealth of local knowledge, but trust me there is not much local…!
Saturday morning the men had their briefing as to the plan to either stay or move across the lake today. Weather is fine but predicted to blow up a little after 3. The other two guys decided to go on. Mike opted to stay back. Captain Robert and his merry men had told us the night before as they helped us get settled in that they were having a pig roast at the marina on Saturday and we were certainly invited to join in. They had Mac with the offer of pork products! He wasn’t going anywhere.
The boat needed a good cleaning after several long cruising days so we got busy and spent most of the morning scrubbing inside and out. By noon the air was thick with the smell of barbecue and we were glad we remained behind. It turns out, not only was there roast pig but crawfish, shrimp, clams, corn, potatoes, casseroles and salads galore. Don’t forget the cold beer! It was the best $10 meal we could have bought in all of Florida and served by the friendliest, kindest folks in the state too. This is June, our server from the Eagles Club. We saw her all weekend everywhere we went. Small town…!
Moore Haven is tiny so Sunday Morning we opted to walk to the Catholic Church which was less than two miles away for their 8 o’clock mass. We ran out of sidewalk after mile one and talked ourselves out of the stroll on the shoulder of the highway with a large correctional facility looming on the horizon. Bless me Father…! An about face took us into the Dollar General where we grabbed a couple of bags of groceries and went back to the boat. Some local Methodists had told us at the pig roast that we would be welcome at their 9 o’clock service so we set back out on foot to find their church. Not being too familiar with walking by GPS we turned the wrong way and arrived at 9:05 to find the door locked since the service had begun. Oh well! We tried!
Sunday afternoon was a perfect dingy day and we explored all the coves and inlets that surround the OCWW (Okeechobee Water Way) in this area. Beautiful foliage, mossy oaks, and blooming trees were flanked by crusty rundown motor homes that clearly have not motored in decades. You would never guess that the glamour of West Palm Beach was just over the lake and levee a few miles. This is a Florida we have never seen. We love it’s simplicity and it’s folkiness. We ended the day back drinking beer with Capt Robert, June, Jimbo and the gang at the marina again! I have dubbed Moore Haven: Neely on water. Mac is in heaven!!