West Palm Beach
13 May 2012
Left Vero Beach on Friday am (May 11th), flying the jib w/a 15-20knt breeze. Beautiful under sail, but the ICW became soooo narrow and serpentine that we rolled the sail in and took watches at the helm. We reached what is known as “The Crossroads”…St. Lucie Inlet, St Lucie River, and the beginning of the Okeechobee Waterway. As soon as we crossed the Inlet, you could not have convinced me I was not in the Caribbean!!...the water was crystal clear and blue!! We proceeded into Manatee Pocket, and stayed for 2-days at the Stuart Corinthian Yacht Club. “Corinthian” has historically been associated w/sailing…but we were the ONLY sailboat there! Club very friendly, spotless bathroom and shower, no laundry facilities and VERY quiet. Jim’s cousin Susan and Aunt Dot took us to dinner Friday night at FINZ…great seafood on the water!! Jim and I biked Sat am…went to Chapman’s School of Seamanship…but no one around. Caught in rain…and back to boat. Susan picked us up to do a few errands (you DO need a sunscreen over your Bimini/dodger here…so we got just what we needed in the garden section of Lowes)…and then on to tour. We visited Hobe Sound…it is a quiet county which keeps a low profile…and a great deal of the land is National Wildlife Refuge…all sorts of wildlife including wild hogs!! We visited Jupiter Island…the playground of the “rich and famous”…Tiger Woods, Celine Dion, etc, etc…beaches beautiful on the Atlantic side w/outcropping of limestone called “Blowing Rocks.”…the sea breaks against the rocks and sprays saltwater up to 50ft into the air. We proceeded to visit Jupiter Inlet…the wind over tide made for VERY rough comings and goings for boats!! The lighthouse was built in 1850; and, once completed the lens was stolen…supposedly Confederate raiders hid the Fresnel lens as an attempt to confuse blockading Union ships! At the end of the Civil War, the lighthouse keeper conveniently found the lens, buried in Jupiter Creek!
We left Port Salerno Sun am (May 13th) and headed via the ICW to Palm Beach. Along the ICW, south of Indiantown Road Bridge, the ICW extends into a collection of natural-looking canals and oxbows. “Admiral’s Cove” is a gated community which boasts private luxury waterfront homes, with such residents as Tom Cruise!!
This whole section of the ICW…from Port Salerno to Palm Beach…has 7-bridges (3 open on request and 4 are restricted)…what an arduous job coming thru that section!! Some of the bridge opening times we just couldn’t make…and had to try and hold our course in current for 20minutes!! Also, Jim and I both became keenly aware of the different “manners” of boaters south of Vero Beach…there is NO slowing down for a sailboat to avoid a wake!! It is VERY difficult to hold course in the very narrow sections of the ICW when boaters are creating wakes!!
Arrived and anchored in Palm Beach…south of Peanut Island. As soon as we turned to starboard toward Peanut Island, I felt like I was at the Newport Jazz Festival!! What a combination of boaters anchored/rafted to party!! Tiny Peanut Island, a dredge island in the middle of the waterway, found itself at the center of the Cuban Missile Crisis!! Before the crisis, the island was created w/dredging spoils and housed a small CG station. In 1961, the US Navy Seabees arrived to covertly build an underground emergency fallout shelter for President Kennedy and his family. The site was so secret, many of his closest advisers didn’t even know of its’ existence. During the Missile Crisis, the President and his family could be quickly moved from their nearby vacation home in the event of a nuclear catastrophe!!
We plan to pull up anchor in the early am…as we need to be in Ft Lauderdale by Wed (one of the few timelines we have!!). We are unsure whether we will go out the West Palm Inlet to the ocean, back in at Ft Lauderdale…or go thru the excruciatingly painful opening of 28 bridges thru the ICW down to Ft Lauderdale!!!!! Weather will be the determining factor…stay tuned….