We finally tore ourselves away from Stuart on Wednesday and headed down the ICW towards West Palm Beach. The boat traffic at the crossroads of the St. Lucie River and the ICW was pretty busy that day and I hugged the starboard side of the channel a little too much. Although Mary T was still within the markers, we hit the bottom. We tried to bounce off as there were plenty of wakes from passing boats, but to no avail. So, we called Towboat US and were told that they were just minutes away. We got pulled off quickly and were again on our way.
We anchored near the Palm Beach Sailing Club which offers a dinghy tie-up for a nominal fee. After a beer at the bar, we called friends, Lou and Jane, who are renting a house in the town of Lake Worth. They took us to the main part of West Palm Beach for dinner and later shopping in the most discreet supermarket we’ve ever seen. It’s located on Palm Beach Island and so, caters to the very well to-do. There must be strict zoning codes limiting signage as one has to look hard to see that this was indeed a Publix food store.
The next day we went out the inlet and headed to Fort Lauderdale. While the wind was just barely favorable, it was not quite strong enough to get us to the Port Everglades inlet by daylight. Thus, it was a day of motor sailing.
Our timing for the 17th St. causeway bridge was a little off and we missed the 3:30 pm opening. As we circled, I called in to ask for a 4pm opening. The bridge tender told me to read the height board at the base of the bridge and that we should be able to fit under without an opening. I told him the board said 56 feet and we are 57 feet tall. He insisted we had the room to make it without an opening. I quickly recalled a similar situation aboard my old boat, Flicka, while cruising up the New Jersey ICW. At that time, the bridge tender said that he believed we would fit under without an opening. I said I didn’t think so and wanted him to open that $%&*@# bridge. He then said he’d have to report it as an unauthorized opening and would report me to the Coast Guard. I had no idea they could do that. Anyway, this time I figured that the 17th St. bridge tender had a pretty good view of us and must see all sorts of boats everyday. So, I acquiesced. We approached very slowly and aimed right for the middle where the bridge is highest. Both of us thought we heard a ping but, lo and behold, we fit under without trouble. The tender said he thought we had about ten feet to spare. I really doubt that. Morgans’ masts are supposed to be about 55 feet off the water. Add antennas and that’s why we figure on 57′. We’ll be sure to re-measure ours.
The city run Las Olas moorings were all occupied so we anchored in Lake Sylvia. We’re looking forward to Amy’s sister, Leslie and bro-in-law, Kevin’s arrival later today. Then we’ll paint the town red (whatever that means.)