Blue Turtle Cruising

Post Thanksgiving trip to W.P. Franklin Lock and Dam

Since we had an extra day with the Thanksgiving holiday, we decided to cruise out to Franklin Lock and Dam this past weekend. We’ve made this trip several times in the past and usually it’s once cooler weather arrives. We love visiting here because it is a different landscape from the beaches we frequent all summer and also because of the unique spot the boat slips are located. With only 8 slips that have electric and water, the boating camp area is usually not too crowded. Typically there is only 1-2 other boats while we are there and that makes it nice to have the peninsula with gazebo and fire pit pretty much to ourselves.  It’s also a great area for kids not only because we build camp fires at night but also because there is plenty of room to run and play or ride bikes. This year, we brought Corey’s friend Sam along so he would have someone to hang out with.

Captain Corey and First Mate Sam back us out of our slip at Salty Sams
The boys navigate the Caloosahatchee River

Our cruise there was a slow one (at one point we were going 4 knots) but we eventually made good time. We locked through without any issues and docked Blue Turtle before happy hour. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Gordon and Caleb from s/v Ariel with whom we met the previous year here. They helped us tie up and we made plans to catch up over the camp fire that evening.

Approaching the lock
Entering the lock
Sam and Randy help hold the lines while the water rises a foot and a half
The peninsula and boat docks
Blue Turtle in her favorite slip
Relaxing and enjoying happy hour
Corey and Sam staying warm by the camp fire

The next morning the boys roamed the camp ground and then took the dinghy out for a spin. Meanwhile, Randy and I did a little organizing and cleaning out our onboard dock boxes while we awaited the arrival of Randy’s dad, Johnny and his wife April. They drove down from Punta Gorda to visit and stay the night that evening. After lunch, we sat out under the large oak tree and enjoyed the amazing weather we had. As newbie RV’ers, Johnny and April walked around the camp ground checking out the various RVs and chatting with the campers.

The boys take the dinghy out for a ride
Relaxing under the big oak tree
Randy and Sophie have it really “ruff”
View down the river
Blue Turtle at the dock
View of the boating area camp grounds
Calm and peaceful river view
The huge oak tree that shades the whole area with pavilion on the right
Calm fresh river water and lily pads
The Franklin Locks boat docks
Our fire pit and view of the dam

As we were enjoying happy hour cocktails the boys decided to go for a dinghy ride up the river. Randy had warned them that the dinghy tank was running low on fuel and that we had more to replace it but they seemed to think they would be ok. As the sun began to set and dusk began, Randy started getting a little nervous that that the boys hadn’t returned. With Johnny tending the grill on land and I prepping some veggies for dinner in the galley, Randy made the executive decision to fire up Blue Turtle and head out to locate the boys. Gordon hopped aboard to assist and I continued to cook under generator power. We headed up the river just as it was getting dark and we spotted the dinghy on plane headed toward us and then it died. The boys seemed pretty happy that we had come to rescue them and it turned out that their issue wasn’t necessarily being low on fuel. Their issue with the dinghy was that the fuel line was connected all the way and the vent was closed. This was what had delayed them from getting back to camp before dark. Gordon helped to hook up the dinghy to Blue Turtle and we towed them back to camp. It made for great camp fire stories later that evening while we roasted marshmallows for s’more’s.

The boys taking April for a dinghy ride
Miss Lucy (Johnny & April’s pup) on the boat docks
Lucy posing for the camera
Beautiful sunset as we cruise out to rescue the boys
Corey paddling the dinghy as we get close
Gordon ties up the dinghy to tow behind Blue Turtle
The boys enjoy the tow back to camp
Telling stories, checking snapchat and eating s’mores by the camp fire
April and Johnny and a pooped Sophie stay warm by the camp fire

Sunday morning after breakfast, it was time to say goodbye to April and Johnny and head home on Blue Turtle. Corey pulled us out of the slip and navigated toward the lock. Once the lock master gave us the go ahead, Corey pulled into the lock while Randy and Sam handled the lines. Gordan and Caleb managed to slip into the lock behind us on Ariel. Once we locked through Captain Randy took the helm and headed down the river toward home.

The boys on the bridge as we approach the lock
Captain Corey steers Blue Turtle into the lock
Randy and Sam handle the lines
Corey and Sam pose for a shot in the lock
Randy holds the line and looks back at Ariel
Caleb assists with the lines on Ariel
The lock opens to release us and send us on our way home
Leaving the lock and dam after a great weekend

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