We left before sunrise this morning (Monday) for the final leg of our trip, a short 12-mile row from the W.P. Franklin Lock to the beach in front of our hotel. Once more the prediction was for brisk winds from the NNW (again, a headwind!) so we figured an early start and finish would give us the best chance to avoid the stronger breezes. We arrived at the W.P. Franklin Lock Recreational Area just before the sun peaked over the eastern horizon, unloaded, rigged, and pushed off at 7:55 AM.
As we approached the City of Fort Myers the river widened considerably and we stayed in the marked navigation channel. The homes along the route were spectacular as were the private motor yachts and sailboats. One lonely manatee was our only significant wildlife sighting although gliding pelicans accompanied us along our route throughout the morning.
Nevertheless, we arrived unscathed at the beach, and popped the celebratory champagne to mark the conclusion of our trek – 87 miles in total. Spirits were high and many congratulatory high fives were exchanged among the crews. Our Port-A-Bote, christened the S.S. Origami, functioned beautifully throughout our tour across Florida – a perfect launch for the trip!