Swing bridges and draw bridges opened for us.
No time to write until now. We are on an anchor ball for the night in a harbor just before the Old Roosevelt bridge near Port St. Lucie, FL. We have reached the east coast! It’s been a great trip so far down to Ft Myers and into the western Okeechobee canal with 3 locks along the way. We stayed overnight in Sarasota, Ft Myers and a marina just before the lake. Today we crossed the lake and the eastern canal with 3 more locks to where we are now. Below is one of the many porpoises we saw and the western canal when we started out as well as the western canal when we started out early today. You can enlarge any picture by touching or clicking on it.
Our boat underwent an extensive refit just north of Sarasota, FL so we left on our first trip from there. We have to keep on the move each day because we are being chased out of Florida by the tax man and our insurance company. We stop each evening at a different anchorage or marina.
If you buy a boat in Florida you don’t have to pay sales tax for 180 days if the boat is being worked on there. Our refit ended up taking about 6 months, so when it was finally done we had to move quickly. In addition it was already June. Boats with my insurance have to be out of Florida during hurricane season which goes from June 1 to November 1 each year. I was able to get an extension from the insurance company, but they still want us out before the end of June.
Our only boating experience was a 19’ runabout and two personal watercraft that we owned on Lake Coeur d’Alene years ago. Piloting a larger boat on the eastern waterways is different. There are few state or federal requirements to do this as long as we don’t take along paying passengers. If we are stopped some states and Canada ask for a card. The only cards most states issue, including our state of Texas, is one showing you have completed a boat safety course which can be done online. So I took that course and have the card to prove it. It concerned driving, docking and trailering small boats and watercraft.
While the government does not care, it turns out my insurance company is deeply concerned. They required us to hire a professional captain for the first week to show us how to do things. Bill Slattum accompanied us from just north of Sarasota, FL down to Ft Myers, through the Okeechobee canals and lake to Port St Lucie on the east coast where we are now. He’ll stay on as we go up the Florida coast until we cross the border and dock in Brunswick GA.
Bill is great to have along and we would have hired him whether the insurance company required it or not. We have a lot to learn. Bill does not drive much. He watches as we do the work and gives advice as needed.