Friday, May 3, 2013

Locked Up St Lucie

...Radeen the Island Spirit Lockmaster.....
After the RAINS finally stopped in Stuart, Fl (Tue, Wed, Thur) we were able to move on to the St. Lucie Lock and access the St. Lucie Canal, where were were lifted up 14 feet in preparation for crossing Lake Okeechobee. But first the rains. It rained, and we had thunderstorms and we waited, because we did not want to get into a narrow waterway, and then have to deal with a storm, or hail, or high winds with no place to anchor or dock. So, we simply enjoyed Stuart, Florida, and had a nice relaxing time. We were delighted to be found by John and Honey, previous owners of our IP 27 Cinnamon. Through them, we were lucky to meet John and Julie, owners of the famed IP 485 Island Chariot. We had a great time meeting and connecting with other IP owners and their friends. They all seem to enjoy their self-described status - Stuck in Stuart!  It IS a great town!

Here is a great photo of the rain as it is finally leaving the area and the sun is setting out our galley porthole...

As we progressed into the canal, we came upon a new bridge being built over the waterway.
 Look at the scale of this crane and the workers on the bridge surface!

Next we had the joy of crossing UNDER I-95, you know, the crazy interstate that runs the entire East Coast of USA. We have driven this many times to Florida,
but it is far better to drive UNDER it on your boat.

Here is the view looking up at I-95 from the St. Lucie Canal. Very cool!

Welcome to the Army Corp of Engineering project, the St. Lucie Lock. In this photo, you are looking into the lock and those far doors are holding back the entire canal which is 14 higher. 

Once inside the lock chamber, the lockmaster tosses his lines down from above while you hold your boat up against the lock wall. Your own fenders are in place to keep you off the lock wall and from taking any damage as the water rushes in. 


 Radeen is such a great boating girl. Here she is as we prepare to exit the St. Lucie Lock.

All locks have signs listing the distances to the next point of interest. We are headed to the Port Mayaca Lock which will take us into Lake Okeechobee and across to Clewiston.

There are plenty of cows along the canal. They are usually above you as the sides of the canal are raised with a slight berm.

The Railroads are big in Florida! This swing railroad bridge had to open for us to pass by. After passing the bridge, is rotated back into position so trains can cross the canal.

Tight fit between a railroad bridge because the bridges have to be strong to support a fully loaded train so the spans are kept small. This railroad swing bridge is similar to the one we pass in Cape May, NJ. 

The greatest challenge of the Okeechobee Waterway is the Port Mayaca Railroad Lift Bridge, with a published clearance of 49 ft. Today, it is 49.35 ft. Monday it was 50.99 ft, but there has been a lot of rain since then. The final study of our masthead looks like this:  Our yacht is reported to have a 48 foot mast height off the water. That is real close. But then we have added items to the top of the mast. wind machine, a TV antenna and a tall, but flexible VHF antenna.We are still good to go! Here is our latest masthead summary....

--------------------THE LATEST BRIDGE REPORT-------------------
U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville District
Lake Okeechobee and Navigation Depth Report

Data Ending 2400 hours 02 MAY 2013    

Today's Lake Okeechobee Stage =  13.53 (Feet-NGVD29)

Today's Route 1 Navigational Depth ≈  7.47 Feet
Today's Route 2 Navigational Depth ≈   5.67 Feet

Bridge Clearance = 49.35 Feet
S-308 Tailwater Elevation = 14.15   (Feet-NGVD29)   
Report Generated 03MAY2013 @ 15:38  ** Preliminary Data - Subject to Revision **
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
so....
Today, we are docked at Indiantown Marina, about 9 miles before this Railroad bridge. We plan to get under this bridge tomorrow AM and cross Lake Okeechobee. If we have to heel the boat over, then we will hang the 185 lb AB dinghy and motor off a halyard to lean the boat over a little bit.....some how....some way....we will get under this and onto Lake Okeechobee.....

5 comments:

David Hornbach said...

If it gets too close I have heard that you can arrange with Indiantown Marina (Captain Billy)to load 7 or 8 water barrels on out port deck and fill them with water, heeling you 20 or so degrees. The cost was reported to be about $180.

Ruby Begonia said...

Seems like you might want to disconnect the antenna and anemometer from the top of the mast there bucko.
I've seen people tape dry branches to the top of the mast so they can hear the crunch that would have been their antenna otherwise..

Roger Family Sailing Adventures said...

Cool trip! We used to summer our boat at Indiantown. It was our "home" while we prepared or decommissioned. Tell them at the office that Blue Pearl says hi!

Joe and Michele said...

Wow! You both have quite an itinerary! We're just trying to head north and can''t get a window. We're praying for an offshore passage to skip Georgia. Are you going to head back to the Chesapeake or are you hauling in Florida?

Han said...

I live and sail on St John in the Caribbean. Although they say St John sailing is some of the best I have always wanted to sail up to Florida. Am I crazy? Ever since my instructor for my captain's license would tell stories about the "ICW" pronounced I C dubya by him. Also parents live in Florida. Some day I will get up there thanks for posts. I guess I will have to measure the exact height of my mast!