Every year between the holidays of Christmas and New Years we plan to go cruising. We generally have time off or a reduced amount of work due to the holidays so we like to head somewhere like Cayo Costa or Keewaydin. This year, with red tide in the area along the coast, we decided to head up the Caloosahatchee River to one of our favorite winter destinations, Franklin Lock and Dam.
To make our trip there seem not so long, we made an overnight stop and anchored near Merwin Key where we were treated to an amazing sunset while we grilled our dinner.
The next day, we had a gorgeous, flat calm trip up the river and through the locks. We had reserved slip #8, our favorite one on the end. At the time, there were only 2 other boats and we enjoyed the quiet calm of the tip of the peninsula where the docks are located.
As the New Year holiday neared, more boats arrived and we ended up having to move to another slip since the #8 slip was reserved already for that weekend. We had a couple of large boats squeeze in next to us in our new slip. The Franklin Lock & Dam website states a limit of 44 feet for the docks, however, there were definitely some boats that were larger. Everyone was very friendly and we made it work and put bumps out on boat sides in case we rubbed against each other.
This was probably the busiest we've seen the lock docks. Normally, there are only about 4 boats max in the 8 slips. We figured the holiday was why it was more crowded. Still, we enjoyed our time and even had visits from Randy's dad, Johnny, and Corey.
We even met new friends, Capt. Ron (yes, lots of one-liners from the movie ensued) and his wife Phebe who were there on their 34' Cabo Rico sailboat. Ron and Phebe spend their winters on the sailboat usually cruising the Bahamas but with Covid-19 they decided to stay in the U.S. and explore Florida's west coast. We had happy hour drinks and traded information about cruising the west coast of Florida (for them) and cruising the Bahamas (for us). They even stayed a couple weeks at the Fort Myers Beach mooring field after Franklin Locks where we met up with them again.
While we didn't get to anchor out as much as we prefer but it was nice to get away from the marina and enjoy the quiet of the camp grounds and plugin to the docks at the locks.