Traveling up river
20 May 2020 | St Lucie River
We left Stuart with very mixed feelings today. If it weren't for hurricane season we would stay put on our sweet mooring. However the thought of staying aboard during a named storm is more daunting than the risk of Covid-19.
Rumor had it that the water was lower than normal and a trip to Indiantown on Monday to drop the car off confirmed those ruminations. There was considerable beach in the marina basin. Scott stopped by the office to confirm our haul and to inquire for a dock space today. We had originally planned on spending the night at the docks by the St Lucie lock. Our reservation was canceled because they decided against opening the park. It was originally scheduled to open on the 18th but has been pushed out to the 1st of June. Fortunately for us the rush to Indiantown has slowed considerably and they had room for us on the face dock.
We decided to unload as much gear as possible last week to get our water line up as much as possible because of the skinny water. We took the life raft to the condo, a considerable amount of weight, about 80 pounds. And a good amount of canned provisions were removed along with a plethora of other bits and bots. When we completed the purge we actually raised the line a couple of inches. We also were pumped out yesterday and so the holding tank is empty. In a rare move Scott has decided we will tow the dingy to keep that weight off the bow. We did take the motor off and mounted it on the rail.
We had also been warned that the normally low spot just before the Palm City bridge was bumped by an Island Packet that had left earlier in the month. High tide today was at 10:24 so we timed our departure to coincide with a rising tide as we passed through that area. We dropped the lines at 09:30 and began our trek up the river. We saw 6.5 ft of water as we passed over the low spot. We were at a +0.9 on the tide table when we passed not a lot of water for nearly high tide. Traversing at low tide would have been dicey.
We arrived at the lock a bit after 10:00 and were told that we would need to wait for the lock to lower to our level. The lock is being limited to two boats that must be 50 feet apart to lock through. The lock keeper wasn't sure if both of the power boats that were ahead of us were locking through or not, We would have to wait to see if we could lock through or wait for another cycle. As it turned out the one power boat was just fishing and we were able to go through with the other power boat. The lock keepers have been instructed to do zero contact locking so we had to grab the lines from the wall of the lock as opposed to having them tossed to us. After chiding the captain for our slow entry the lock keeper warned us that the turbulence might push us back and that I should pull up on the bow line. I much prefer going down as opposed to up in a lock. We were raised the 14 feet that would bring us level with the St Lucie canal and after about 45 minutes we were on our way.
The remainder of the trip was quiet and uneventful. The water level was noticeably lower than what we have experienced in the past. The railroad bridge at Indiantown was in the open position and after confirming with the bridge tender that it was safe to pass we glided by it.
The entrance to the marina was a bit disconcerting. We had been instructed that the deepest water was right up the middle and to tie up to the face dock just past the sailboat that was already there. The depth guage was reading 3.5 when we came in but we didn't hit, silt? , or whatever in the water? Not sure, by all intents we should have been hard aground at that reading. Gary gator was sunning himself on the new beach on the starboard side as we came in. We got to the dock without any real problems although we did bump one of the pilings with our anchor. The total trip took just over 5 hours, not bad1
Once tied off we hooked up the electric and pulled out our fans. It was hot and very little breeze was to be had. I tidied up the boat and stowed our gear while Scott got us set with the office and prepped to bring the dingy up on the bow. She came up surprisingly well and we secured her to the bow for her summer rest.
The car was already packed full of gear and what remaining space was left soon full. We spent the remainder of the day getting Light Reach ready for her haul out. We had sundowners in the cockpit and dinner down below and were in bed by cruisers midnight.
The picture was taken as we came up the river,not the sandy beach.