LaBelle Bridge

We spent a peaceful night anchored near the canal entrance. Despite the fact that we could hear the constant hum of the nearby power plant throughout the night, we still managed to get s peaceful night of sleep.

SInce we had only a little over 20 miles to motor today, we weren’t in a hurry to leave before we had coffee and breakfast with a few hours to lounge around. 

Franklin Lock

We motored our way to the Franklin Lock and Dam. After checking the schedule we discovered that due to construction by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers, the Lock would be closed until 4 pm, instead of the hourly on-demand schedule. 

Instead of using one of the Dolphins to tie off to, we anchored to wait on the opening. We were able to enjoy a great lunch and mixed drinks relaxing in cockpit while we waited. 

Caloosahatchee River

Once the Lock-master radioed us to give us a clearing we pulled anchor and headed into the Lock. Although we have been through a few locks, they were still a bit intimidating to me. 

Once inside, the gates lock and you wait inside the chamber for the water to either rise or lower as the opposing gates open. You have to have your bumpers ready to keep the boat from hitting the concrete while you are tied to the side. The Franklin Lock was a trouble-free experience despite my concerns. 

We made our way in through the narrow waterway and under the Alva Bascule Bridge. Since the drawbridge clearance is only 21 feet, we needed it raised to pass through. The bridge master was quick to get it up as soon as we radioed.

LaBelle City Dock

We made it to Labella before dark to find an empty slip at the LaBelle City Dock. We tied up to the dock and took an evening walk to check out the area. The people in this sleepy little town were so courteous. We decided to stay a few days here to enjoy the area and finish changing the boat status from state registered to documented.

During the day construction workers stayed busy pouring concrete to rebuild the sidewalks. While it was a bit noisy through the day, it was great to see them upgrading the dock area for cruisers visiting the area. 

Since we were so close to the library we were able to gain wifi access from the boat. This was a plus. We Provisioned at a nearby grocery store purchasing lots of fruit and vegetables and was close enough to walk back without requesting an Uber. 

We also met another Hunter sailboat owner that had just purchased his sailboat. He had both his mainsail and jib for sale at a great deal! They were both in almost new condition and even matched our boat, black trim. While both sails were about a foot oversized, we knew a few locations up the East coast that could do seam work to resize them.  

We even found a new U.S Flag to fly from the stern and got the home port lettering on both sides of the boat to abide by US Coast Guard Documented regulations now that it is documented. 

We had no current schedule with nothing but time so enjoyed our mini break in LaBelle until we were ready to cross Lake Okeechobee.  

“Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn what state I may be in, therein to be content”.

~Helen Keller