April 26th: Through the Hurricane Gate

Watch Out for those Deadly Water Hyacinths!!!

Watch Out for those Deadly Water Hyacinths!!!

We left La Belle at 9 AM. We were going to leave earlier, but the city of La Belle has decided that their bridge should not open from 7 to 9 AM due to their “rush hour”. Of course their “rush hour” is nothing you or I would consider as heavy traffic. What a shelter life they live in La Belle.

The trip was again fairly uneventful – well almost. We were waylaid by a large bed of Water Hyacinths in the More Haven lock. It was big enough to have a birds nesting in the middle, and make our boat want to steer right into a wall as we left (no we didn’t hit). Then as we traversed the Rim Route to Clewiston (these towns are fairly small dots on your atlas) two 45+ power boats thought we would enjoy surfing in the narrow canal. Never before have we had a power boat wake so big we took water over the bow. Finally, we were circling outside the Clewiston hurricane gate entrance (more about this below) just like the harbor master had asked on the marine radio. But two friendly power boaters dodged past us to proceed on in to the docks. They were sure the harbormaster did not mean for them to wait as he docked other boats. Such a friendly group, you just have to laugh at them.

Oh yes – what is a hurricane gate? Well in September of 1928 the category-5 Okeechobee Hurricane (not as creative with their hurricane names back then) killed at least 2,500 people in Southern Florida when it blew the water right out of Lake-O along the Eastern shore. Today they have a very high dike, and a very high hurricane gate which looks like a very strong waterway lock to protect the people. I think it is part of the American spirit to fight back when we feel we’ve been attacked. That is unless a gun was involved.

On a good note, the local people and all those crazy bass fishermen seemed to be very nice people. AND we ordered wings and beers at the Tiki Hut. It was Happy Hour – you get two beers for $1.86. You just can’t stay unhappy for very long around here.

Tomorrow we’re headed across Lake-O for Indian Town. Hey, they’ve got some really good pizza there!

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