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Mainship 400 Crossing Lake Okeechobee

Captain Chris Yacht Services
Mainship 400 Crossing Lake Okeechobee
Say Goodbye to the rush and hurry of the coastline and hello to the country life as we head west toward Big Lake O.
Additional Images
Amazing how different the middle of Florida is from the coast lines. Check out these photos as we cross the Okeechobee Waterway with new owners of a beautiful Mainship 400.

We're not in the sandy beaches of the east coast anymore!

Scroll down past the video and ride along with us as we train this adventurous couple and traverse the Okeechobee though bridges, locks and a bit of fog too (listen for the fog horn in the video)! Don't forget to click on each photo to enlarge and read the caption with each photo to learn a bit more about crossing the Okeechobee Waterway from the east coast of Florida to the west coast of Florida- more than 170 miles.

Wild weather swings created terrific learning experiences which clarified why schedules should be tossed out with the trash. If it's gonna happen, it's gonna happen out there :-)

Fill 'er up before we cross the Big O - Lake Okeechobee! This Mainship 400 is a comfortable cruiser with four of us aboard for 5 days on this journey of a lifetime.
Captain Chris with Deb & Dan aboard DOUBLE D. Trip planning includes knowing as much about your vessel as you can before untying the lines. This last minute walk thru includes understanding sight lines for helmsman and deckhand.
Below deck checking fluids, every day, every trip. This can help you prevent problems by seeing things and what they SHOULD look like when working properly.
Preparing for leaving the dock. Don't forget the cable TV cord!
Fingerless gloves can save your skin, especially from splintered dock lines and later, from the barnacle encrusted lines of the locks- Not the St Lucie Lock tho! That lock master takes care to keep all lines from hanging in the water.
First time anchoring. Note the blue color which tells us we  only have 75 feet of line out. We need more to set the anchor at the proper scope for overnight in the north fork of the St. Lucie River.
Captain Chris shows the direction of the rode. note the red color on the anchor line which tells us that 125 feet are deployed. Perfect for our depth and expected wind this evening!
Dan is a happy boy...but who wouldn't be? This is the beginning of an incredible adventure! Whatchuwearin?? these bright yellow FIRST WATCH coats are also life jackets and terrific raincoats. They keep us toasty warm in temps down in the 40s.
First night at anchor living the dream.
The perfect figure eight validated the depths were as reported on the chart and the swing radius is tracked as we move with the wind and current through the night.
One of us is warmer as the Florida sun overcomes the northern fronts. One of us is decidedly NOT!
Our first lock raises us 14 feet as we head west toward Lake Okeechobee.
The Helmsman checks out fender placement before things get rumbly with the lake water pouring in. Notice the extra fender we placed on the roof overhang. All are standing on one side of the boat so you must protect anything that may contact the lock wall.
Port Mayaca only lifts us an additional 2-3 feet and out into the lake we go. We heard a TowBoatUS captain call the lock master to say he was locking eastbound so we expect to see him on the lake side of this lock.
Captain Pat in the red/gray TowBoatUS boat prepares to enter the Port Mayaca lock. Towing the white boat on his stern all the way from Clewiston heading to Stuart, he will secure his client to the hip of the tow boat to enter the lock safely.
What's on our RADAR? you know what the symbol to our starboard bow is on this chart plotter?
It's a wreck...and the symbol told us what to expect.
Nap time. All the gentle rocking from the southerly swells put someone to sleep.
As we head toward Clewiston the chart plotter shows how well the channel entrance is marked. Notice the pairs of reds and greens and the occasional lighted NAVaid.
RADAR confirms that what we expect to see is actually out there.
Our wake is proof that we stayed on a straight course following the well marked channel. Easy-peasy!
And a slight curve to keep us out of the marsh shows an added green buoy. Gulls follow us to the floodgates before they lose interest.
Roland & Maryann Martin's Marina in Clewiston is a welcome port after a successful Lake O crossing. Just don't dock too close to the band on a weekend!
A familiar landmark for visitors to Clewiston.
High tech weather reporting.
After a good night's rest we head back out through the flood gate then on toward Moore Haven.
These boats are headed east but you can see how roomy this part of the waterway is.
Next stop Moore Haven Lock.
Three locks on the west side of the lake gradually bring us back down almost 16 feet to sea level.
Don't forget the engine room checks each morning. Dan discovers a trend for needed equipment and puts together a bucket of tools for quick access everyday...something about where are my eye glasses?
Fog is settling in around us but we still have reasonable visibility.
As the fog quickly rolls in we decided to stay put for a while longer at Captiva Island.
Finally home! This twin engine, two stateroom trawler is ready for another adventure with a happy crew aboard. Ask Captain Chris how you can start your own boating adventure!

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