Through the Middle of Florida

Our boat neighbor, Glen, has a passion for boats. He buys boats in need of some TLC, lives on them in the marina while he’s fixing them up, sells them, and starts all over again.

Recently, he bought a damaged Hunter 454 in Jacksonville. And while he’s perfectly capable of bringing it back to St. Pete by himself, the trip can be lonely. So, we were lucky enough to get invited to be crew. He even gave us the master stateroom! You rock, Glen!!!

We drove to Stuart, FL where we met him, went to the grocery store, and took off early the next morning for the trek across Lake Okeechobee. Sailing across a lake? Through the middle of the state? “How is that possible” you might ask. Well, you can go a lot more places on a sail boat if you take that stick down.

And that’s exactly what Glen did. Without the mast, we were able to sail through the locks and across the lake. But we never expected it to be so cold. We didn’t bring much in the way of warm clothes. In fact, we didn’t bring many clothes at all. So we wore all of them, all the time. We made a stop overnight at Roland Martin Marina in Clewiston. Cool place, good food, great music, and the nicest servers. The only negative were the damn mosquitoes! They suck, literally.

But we survived thanks to the boat’s AC. Nice and cool. The next day was a long one. We sailed through the final locks and spent the night in Ft. Myers. I’d never spent much time there. It has a cute downtown, and we found an awesome pizza place. And yes, they had gluten free pizza. I was so happy!

We left again at daybreak. Venice Beach was a long way away. The autopilot worked just fine, but I like hand steering through the Intercostal Waterway. It’s good practice. Talk about practice – I don’t ever drive Wind Therapy in marinas. Except that one time at Just Catamarans when Laurent stood right by me making sure I wouldn’t hit anything. But Glen is a great teach, patient, calm, so knowledgeable, and very empowering. I was behind the wheel as we approached the Crow’s Nest Marina.

“Why don’t you take her to the dock?” Glen asked.


“Why not?”

I’ve never docked a monohull before.”

“You can do it. I have faith in you.”

OMG – I guess I’ll dock this puppy. And so I did. Glen gave me a few directions, which I followed to the T, literally to the T-dock! (Big smile!!!)

On my way to the showers, I stared back at my docking job. I did good. After a 5-mile hike to downtown and back, we had a great dinner at the marina restaurant. They have the BEST house-made potato chips. I even got an order to go. Jeff balked at me for ordering them, but he certainly wanted some when I heated them up the next day.

Our final day brought us back to St. Pete. It was a lovely trip. Now, it’s time to do laundry.

November 2021