Up early on day three of our trip south. It is another gorgeous day. Our destination is Palm Beach Gardens. After a quick bowl of cereal and a cup of coffee, we start the engines, untie the lines and point Magic Carpet south out of the marina.
The intracoastal is still fairly wide on this stretch as we head towards Ft. Pierce. The boat traffic is limited because we are traveling on a weekday. The dolphin were incredible today. At the risk of dolphin overload, I’m attaching several photos we took. We actually took MANY more, but this will give you an idea of what a great morning we had!
We could tell when we were approaching Ft. Pierce Inlet. There was a distinct color difference in the water. Here’s a photo I took to try to show that as well as a shot of the inlet looking out to the Atlantic Ocean.
South of Ft. Pierce, on the eastern shore of the intracoastal, we pass by Hutchinson Island and Jensen Beach before reaching the St. Lucie Inlet. The St. Lucie River meets the intracoastal right at the inlet. All the different waterways meeting makes for some strange currents and traffic patterns as you have boats approaching from lots of directions. When it became apparent that two larger boats coming from the St. Lucie River were going to meet up with us as we passed by the inlet, Captain Jim radio’d them to ask their speed and where they were heading. Regardless of who should have the right of way, it is always a good plan to communicate. We backed off a little on our speed and let them get ahead of us since they were wanting to maintain about 15-20 knots and we were doing about 9.
Speaking of the St. Lucie River, did you know that you can get from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico by boat without having to go around the tip of Florida? The St. Lucie River/St. Lucie Canal will take you all the way west to Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s largest lake (and the second largest freshwater lake in the US). On the western shore of Lake Okeechobee, the Caloosahatchee River connects all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, ending near Sanibel Island. It is called the Okeechobee Waterway. A series of 5 locks get boats through the 152 mile long route. The waterway averages about 8 feet deep and anywhere from 80 to 100 feet wide. The lake can get shallow depending on the season so boats with a draft of more than 4 or 5 feet are cautioned.
Well maybe on a future trip we will try the Okeechobee Waterway, but today we continue south. Right after the St. Lucie Inlet, the intracoastal waterway narrows considerably. I found it a lot more conducive to sightseeing. Whether we were in an area of beautiful homes or where there was nothing but vegetation along the shorelines, you could clearly see both sides.
As we move further south, the homes get larger and the landscaping is more tropical.
In Jupiter, the intracoastal takes a jog west as you pass Jupiter Inlet. After passing under U.S. 1, the waterway turns south again. Right here the Loxahatchee River heads west. I’m guessing there is some pretty pricey real estate all along the shores of that river and its tributaries. Just for the heck of it I looked up famous people who have called Jupiter Island home. According to Wikipedia, Jupiter Island has the highest per capita income of any place in the country. Celine Dion, Country music singer Alan Jackson, Olivia Newton-John, Burt Reynolds, Michael Jordan, and lots of pro golfers including Greg Norman and Tiger Woods have all called the island home at one point or another. And Kid Rock bought a house there a few years ago. Good thing we didn’t know that when we passed by. Captain Jim knows he would have had to keep me from jumping in and swimming to shore so I could see if I could find his house!!
After enjoying more of the beautiful shoreline and homes along this stretch, we finally made it to our destination for the night, Loggerhead Marina in Palm Beach Gardens. It is a quaint marina with exceptional service! The dockhands who met us as we entered our slip were nicely dressed in khaki shorts and white shirts with epaulets…what a nice touch! They were courteous and professional too.
There was a gorgeous boat next to us and a beautifully-restored yacht with lots of teak across from us. We spent a little time settling in and then took a walk. After dinner on board, we spent some time looking at charts for the next day’s trip. We needed to coordinate when we left in order to time some bridge openings. You’d never know Capt. Jim was a retired engineer…he typed out a detailed spreadsheet of each bridge, the height at maximum clearance, when the scheduled openings were, a column that estimated the time we should arrive at the bridge, and a blank column for me to write down when we actually arrived. I would make fun of him except it did come in very handy and he was pretty dead on with the timing. One more blog from me tomorrow to finish up my take on our trip.