15 bridge openings later…

20120117-204151.jpgAfter five days on a mooring at the Sunset Marina and Anchorage at Stuart, with the forecast of an unseasonably cold weekend and gusty north winds, we decided to release our lines from the mooring ball and move on. We managed to get our sails on while at the mooring and finally feel like a real sailboat again. We enjoyed daily showers with hot water no matter what time of day (Indiantown tends to run out of hot water) and had a working outboard motor again (thanks to Virgil at Stuart). Might as well get on with a bit of the cruising life.

Normally, I am not a superstitious person. However, I took note that we were departing on Friday the 13th. With all the issues we’ve had, it did give me pause. However, as we motored through the marked channel taking us toward the St. Lucie Inlet entrance, I saw a ray leap across the water in front of us. That’s a first for me! And then just outside Peck Lake along the ICW, we had two dolphins swim past us, heading in the opposite direction. These had to be good omens, and I began to relax a bit about the date.

We anchored in Hobe Sound for the night. The guidebooks say that those of us transiting on the ICW get a rare look at how the rich and famous live. I’m not sure about that, but there sure are a lot of mansions with manicured lawns and docks on that spit of land that separate the ICW from the Atlantic Ocean. It is a very exclusive area on the east side of the ICW, and wild with no development (though we could hear vehicles on a road hidden from view) on the west side.

Saturday morning we were underway early to make it to the anchorage at Lake Worth in time for kick-off of the first playoff game that day. It was a long, cold motorboat ride with bridges to manage. Bridges aren’t that big of a deal, really, but they do slow you down. There are still a few bridges that will open on demand, but most are restricted, opening on the hour and half hour. Boats need to time their arrival near the time of a bridge opening. This is less an issue for the powerboats as they go much faster than sailboats. On the other hand, speeds are restricted in many areas of the ICW due to manatee.

We anchored at Lake Worth for two nights. It was a cold and very breezy weekend, not one that found a lot of boaters on the water. We shared the anchorage with quite a number of boats heading to the Bahamas. Many boaters planning to go to the Bahamas sit at Lake Worth for a favorable weather window, as the Gulf Stream comes within about 10 miles of the coast here. Northerlies kick up large waves in the Gulf Stream and can make for a very uncomfortable crossing, so boaters wait for the southerlies. Unfortunately, waiting for a weather window can take some time.

After a very windy night, we hauled up our anchor first thing on Monday morning to make the motorboat ride down “the ditch” to Lighthouse Point, where we have friends who own a home with a dock. We made decent time: 15 bridge openings, and we still arrived at their dock just after high tide. Nice. It felt so good to shut down the engine!

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As much as I look forward to getting outside and seeing how this boat sails with her “new” main, it really was an interesting motor down the ICW. The wind was such that we wouldn’t have wanted to “be outside” on the ocean anyway, even though we would have been hugging the coast. We were in much better shape on the (mostly) protected waters of the ICW. But oh my, how many wealthy people there are in this part of southern Florida. It is difficult for me to fathom. I thought I had seen fancy 100-foot yachts while we were living in Newport, RI in the late 80’s. The yachts I had grown accustomed to seeing had nothing on those I saw berthed along the way around the Palm Beaches. Oh my. And some of the homes? I just cannot imagine. They really were something out of “lives of the rich and famous.” I’ll take my little boat, thank you very much!20120117-204240.jpg

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