Sunday/Monday, Jan 20/21st
We transited 35 miles to Peck Lake. It was a leisurely motor ride arriving at dusk, we motored close to the sandy beach surrounded by green trees and lowered the anchor just after sunset. We were in the company of several other boaters but everyone was down below for the night. This was a very quiet and protected anchorage and the gentle breeze was very enjoyable. As we settled down with our evening cocktail we enjoyed listening to the rythmetic, thundering waves hitting the beach just 200 yards over the trees from our bow. We planned to visit the beach at first light before departing…which allowed us to get this pretty sunrise shot.
Within seconds the gentle breeze subsided and as we went on deck we discovered we were surrounded by Nosee’ms! They were so bad, they were swarming the boat. It was all we could do to lift anchor and motor away! The beach could wait for another day. Unfortunately many of those pesky gnats worked their way through our screens into the cockpit and down below. We soon discovered we’d acquired quite a few bites through the night and were plagued with them for several days. Once underway we opened all the hatches with the hope that the wind would carry them away! We were swatting those pests the rest of the day and the next morning!
As we motored south the timing of the Bascule Bridge openings became a strategic part of our navigation plan. What’s the challenge? Each bridge works on a different opening schedule, and is spaced at varying distances from one another. Some bridges open on the hour and half hour, others on the quarter after and quarter of the hour, some open on demand and still others are fixed bridges typically 65′ tall depending on the water level and require no opening. If we don’t time the opening correctly by adjusting our speed, we miss the opening and sometimes have to wait a half hour, thus delaying our arrival time or forcing us to adjust our destination target. We learned the hard way that even if a bridge is scheduled to open on the half hour, it won’t open unless you ask the Bridge Tender to open it! So we call ahead for each bridge and sometimes are moving at near maximum motor speed (a whopping 7.5 kts) so as not to miss an opening! Our experience with bridges on the ICW thus far has been pretty uneventful but ahead of us the frequency of bridges in our path is about to increase exponentially! From Vero to Peck Lake we travelled under 6 bridges, from Peck to Lantana we travelled under 11 bridges. By the time we reach Fort Lauderdale we’ll travel through another 18 bridges! That’s why many boaters travel outside via the ocean…. But thus far the weather has not been with us and strong winds and high surf are scheduled for the next week, so to keep moving, we’re staying inside!
As we arrived in the N Palm Beach area Adrien call a fellow boating friend, Clayton, from Warwick, RI, who has a winter residence in a high rise overlooking the ICW. As we motored by his condo we heard a loud whistle and we saw Clayton on the banks waving! He ran down 11 flight of stairs to meet us and take a photo of Dolphin passing by. We agreed to get together in the next few days since we’d be staying in the area.
The day had turned cloudy and shortly thereafter we found ourselves in the middle of a heavy rain shower. It was hard to see out the isen glass to oncoming traffic. We both realized that this was the first time it has rained since we left Brunswick in early January and first time on our journey that we were traveling in the rain.
“And the clouds parted, the sun shined down on the pearly gates of heaven, and the heavenly choir started to sing,
Alleluia!!! Alleluia, Alleluia!!!” …. And in walked Sister Mary Rose Alma. And the last nun, Sister Mary Andrea, knew all the easy questions were gone!
Continuing 10 miles further south, and under a few more bridges we arrived at the Loggerhead Marina in Lantana at 16:45. We were greated by Alex and his helper who helped us tie off and get settled. We checked in with the Dock Master, and Alex gave a tour of the facility. You’ll see from the pictures it was lovely. The pool, showers, saunas, jacuzzi, and fitness center and club/meeting/billiard rooms are part of a high end condo complex and top notch!
We pulled in bow first to our designated slip but soon found out we were too far from the electrical outlet to hook up! The slip next to us was empty so the CAptain decided to unfasten the dock lines and manually move and wiggle Dolphin between the concrete dock and the wood pilings. We had to lift the Dinghy (on davits) over the electrical boxes to get her to squeeze by! Leave it to Adrien to pull that off!
Tuesday-Friday, Jan 22-24th
Dolphin rested here while we left to join the Kings for three nights in Delray Beach. Adrien has known the Kings since the mid 80’s. Bob a former retired boss from Raytheon, and Sandy his lovely wife are affectionately referred to as our ‘surrogate parents’ ! They have invited us to join them at their winter home in years past and this year entertained us and helped us provision for our Bahamian Trip! Adrien enjoyed a few rounds of golf with Bob; and, Sandy arranged for my much needed pedicure! We enjoyed Happy Hours promptly at 16:00, delicious meals, lots of laughs and the excellent chauffeur services all around the area as we gathered a carload of supplies!
Friday-Saturday, Jan 25-26th
Back to Dolphin on Friday, we enlisted the help of the Deck hands and their golf cart to transport our provisions from the car to the boat. It took a full 4 hours to find a place for everything! After unpacking we connected with Clayton and met he and his wife Robin at 18:00 for a delicious dinner at Maison Carlos, a quaint French restaurant on the outskirts of West Palm. The cheese soufflé was out of this world!!!
We were up and off the dock at 7:45 on Saturday morning to motor 10 miles north back to Lake Worth to position ourselves for the much anticipated crossing to the Bahamas! By now we have bridge openings “down pat”, and we perfectly timed the 4 we needed and arrived by mid morning and anchored near “Rapsody in Blue”‘ friends we met in Brunswick.