Our first Locks

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We’re locking upward. That waterfall can be 10 feet or more high, and don’t forget water is entering furiously below the waterline as well.

One place where Captain Bill was needed was locking. The canals connecting Lake Okeechobee with the Florida coasts had three locks to step up to the lake and three more to step back down. It’s best done with one person at the controls and two people handling the lines, one at the bow and one at the stern. I’m hoping Sue and I can work together well enough to eventually do this on our own. Sue will take the bow, while I will pilot into position and then run down to the sundeck to handle stern lines.

It’s important to tie securely to the walls of the locks because of turbulence when the gates open to let water into or out of the lock. This is especially important when locking upward. Water coming at you is more turbulent than when going away. You can prove this with air by standing close in front of a fan in the middle of a room. Now stand the same distance in back of the fan. You’ll feel a lot more in front, where the air is coming toward you.

The turbulence can swing a boat around and crash it into the opposite lock wall or other boats. The front and the back of the boat has to be secured, so it’s a lot easier if there is a deckhand at each end. See a video of the above lock here.

We will probably have only one or two more locks as we navigate the Atlantic intracoastal this year, but we’ll have a lot of them, at least 145, on the loop next year. Maybe by then we will work together on this like a well oiled machine. Even so having deckhands, I mean guests, along when locking can be really nice.

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