The Kindness of Strangers

We launched the boat on Friday the 26th. but the work didn’t stop there.  The Marina left us in front of the lift for Saturday.  We kept busy with more cleaning and the final stowage issues so we could be ready for rolling in the waves again.

While we were busy cleaning we had a visitor,

He followed Janet along the side of the boat as she was cleaning windows, she figured he was waiting for her to fall off so she could be his “Chick Filet” for lunch. She stayed on board.

That day we took a test run down the canal to check things out. Nauti ran well with no vibrations and no leaks!

It just felt good to be on the Flybridge sailing again.

The next morning we left for our first cruise of the “Second Half Loop”

About an hour and a half later we were in and out of the Port Mayaca Lock and entering Lake Okeechobee.  It really was like riding a bike. We fell back into our routines and handled the lock like pro’s.

I always wondered why Lake “O” wasn’t more popular being A huge fresh water Lake in the middle of tourist country. Until we started across and the water looked like mud.  The fires that dropped all that ash on Nautoncall could be seen for miles out on the lake.
At Clewston we took a hard right and entered the “Rim Route” canal. I had heard from a boater at Indiantown that the Rim route was dredged and in great shape. Between Clewston and Moorehaven there were some pretty big dredgers working on something. It looked like they were digging on the other side of the berm to me but I couldn’t find anyone who knew what was going on. The canal was anywhere from 8 to 20′ deep and was plenty wide to meet other boats.

One more lock at Moore Haven, where we dropped another 4.5 ft. Then another 12 miles or so and we landed in the tiny community of Turkey Creek.

That brings us to the kindness of strangers thing. We met Jimmie and Laura when we were in Glover Bight in Cape Coral in Feb. of 2020. We just happened to be in the same anchorage waiting out some weather. After a scary evening on the hook as a cold front rolled through, we met them and had them over for games in the evening.  We have kept in touch and were trying to meet up when we started moving again. Unfortunately, because our repairs took so long, they had departed for their trip to the Keys. Fortunately, it open up their slip and they were kind enough to let us use it for a few days to finish up some painting.  It was the perfect spot for us, a nice steady dock to tie up to get some work done.  We met the neighbours for 4 O’clock beers, they are all people like us interested in boating and avoiding the snow. They even invited us to their annual rendezvous in Moore Haven. 

The morning after we arrived I went to start the engine to heat up some water for cleaning, all I got was a click when I engaged the starter.

After a few phone calls and a little investigation and it was determined that the starter needed to come out and be taken to Ft Myers to either be rebuilt or replaced. When I asked Jimmie and Laura’s next-door neighbour Mike about finding a rental or Uber he said, “Or you could just take my truck”. 

Many times during our first “Half Loop” we received help from strangers and the Second half is proving to be the same. I don’t want to let their kindness go unappreciated.

So I would like to Thank Dan and Ashley, Darrell and Tangee, Jimmie and Laura, Mike the neighbour and all who have helped us get Nautoncall back to cruising again.

Don McCulloch
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