WEBSTER – Indian Ranch will soon be the new home of the Indian Princess, an authentic paddle boat which local businessman Christopher Robert has operated in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, for the past year.
The Indian Princess had its final sunset cruise on the Gulf of Mexico on April 18, and started its journey north to Webster Lake on the 28th. The boat’s top speed is six knots, so it will take a month for it to travel from Fort Myers Beach through the Caloosahatchee River, across Lake Okechobee, to the Atlantic Ocean and on to Norwich, Connecticut. From there the boat will hauled over land on Rt. 395 to Webster.
Paddle wheelers were popular on America’s rivers in the 1800s, and the 75-foot long Indian Princess is an authentic replica of those old steamships, paddle driven, but with a diesel engine instead of wood burning boilers.
Mr. Robert said he will offer sightseeing and history tours of Webster Lake to individuals and groups, including seniors and students.
Mr. Robert had initially planned to bring the paddle wheel boat to Webster Lake in 2011. However, some Lake residents had concerns about safety and noise and attempted to stop him by bringing citizen’s petitions to the town meeting to impose certain restrictions, including the hours that the boat would be able to operate. The attorney general’s office disapproved those warrant articles last year.
There are no town bylaws that prohibit the boat from being launched in Webster Lake.