Cabbage Key Resort is a walk back into old time Florida. The old inn and the grounds take you back to a time when the rhythm of life was much slower. Jean and I tied up on Cabbage Key as a last-minute alternate due to losing light and the wind blowing 20 mph gusting to 25. Setting the anchor in Cayo Costa was proving impossible for us and becoming a dangerous position to be caught in with darkness fast approaching. Cabbage Key was close, and after a phone call we tied up 30 minutes later with the help of a young couple. In high winds, Makin Memories can be a handful for the two of us to tie up due to a significant amount of surface area she possesses. We stayed two days and enjoyed the peacefulness with long walks and reading. The food is outstanding, and every flat space is covered with signed dollar bills, some from famous people such as Randy Wayne Wright and Jimmy Buffet.
Leaving Cabbage Key, we cruised to Sanibel Island where we tied up at Sanibel Marina. Jean and I met up with family and enjoyed a unique dining out experience at the Bubble Room further out the island in Captiva. The Bubble Room is a fantastic blend of antique toys, mannequins, puppets, and clowns. It is a multi-level museum of old times serviced by a staff wearing boy scout uniforms. I was especially intrigued by a large model monocoque airplane hanging from the ceiling as you first walk in. The food was outstanding and definitely worth the trip.
Back at Sanibel Marina, we received our care package from home and said our goodbyes to family. Jean and I walked over to Grandma Dot’s and shared a sinfully good piece of chocolate cake.
From Sanibel, we cruised to Fort Myers and began our journey along the Caloosahatchee River and The Okeechobee Waterway. The Caloosa Indians used the river as a highway to reach deeper into their hunting grounds and trade with other tribes. The river is beautiful with plenty of room for two way traffic, and Jean and I enjoyed the peaceful cruise to our first lock through experience at Franklin. Locking through at Franklin was a pleasure with the helpful lock attendants giving instruction and advice for the future locks to come. We were the only boat in the lock and were in and out in twenty minutes.
La Belle was our destination, and we tied up at the La Belle City Wharf for two nights. You can stay three nights in a row but then must vacate for at least eight days until you can come back for the next three. La Belle is an old city in the midst of renovation and fun to visit. Jean and I enjoyed the Bridge Street Coffee & Tea shop where we warmed up on coffee and tea and had dinner at the Forrey Grill, a great little family restaurant also on Bridge Street. The folks at the library were accommodating and helpful with places to see and visit. We stopped by the Harold P. Curtis Honey company and learned about the many different types of bees and the resulting honey that they sell.
From the LaBelle City Wharf, we made our way along the river to Moore Haven. They provide a city dock just before the Moore Haven Lock that one can tie up to with power and water and facilities a short walk away. Moore Haven is a small town struggling to remain relevant. Our inverter died, and after hours of speaking to
installers and factory techs, we came to a place where we think it is an AC board that failed. The closest service dealer is in Ft. Lauderdale, so we will drop it off and have it back in working order next week…hopefully! More about the inverter later. The good part of this is we can still charge batteries while the engines are running and have power when connected to shore power, so all is not lost, just chilly lately. We learned that we could turn on the stove and it will warm up the cabin as quickly as a space heater does. The bonus was scrambled cheesy eggs for breakfast! We fueled in Clewiston at Roland Martins Marina (a must visit) and ready our selves for the trip across Lake Okeechobee, newly christened by us as the “Okee-cocoa Lake.” The lake looked seriously like Hersey’s chocolate milk; even the white caps were brown.
The crossing of the great chocolate milk lake was uneventful, and we entered the Port Mayaca Lock early afternoon. As the day wound down and we cruised along the waterway, we found parts that reminded us of the African Queen movie with Humphrey Bogart and elements that were reminiscent of the Heart of Darkness
written by Joseph Conrad. It was both beautiful and silent. We are currently tied up at River Forest Yachting alongside an immaculate and well-kept mooring with power and water for a reasonable price. The facilities are close by and keep clean as well. The folks here are friendly and accommodating. As the third week of this adventure begins, I have a bilge pump to replace and then a few additional small repairs to make. We will head to the last of our Okeechobee Waterway locks today and then head south to even warmer climes.