Yeah, not much posting lately and zero pics. What a stupid blogger.
We arrived in Stuart, Florida, on Friday, May 13. Did one uncomfortable 51-mile day offshore from Ft. Lauderdale to West Palm Beach, pounding thru head-seas with a frisky Gulf Stream current shoving us right into the tall chop. Lots of water on deck. Lots of discomfort in cockpit.
So then we decided to try the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). We entered at West Palm Beach/Lake Worth Inlet, and spent the night at anchor in Lake Worth itself. Not a bad place; sort of felt like El Mogote in La Paz on the Baja Peninsula, except with fancier houses all around. Next day (the 13th) we drove north up the ICW from Lake Worth to Stuart. 26 miles. With a succession of 8 bridges to hail and request an opening. Lots of waiting. Lots of power boats everywhere disobeying basic nautical rules. Lots of slow driving thru very shallow water - at times, our 6' keel had only 2' of water under it -- and that's in the middle of the dredged ICW channel.
Left the ICW at St. Lucie Inlet, turned westerly up the St. Lucie River aiming for Sunset Bay Marina in Stuart. Water got thinner. Only touched bottom once but almost touched bottom several more times trying to feel our way in by depth sounder alone. Seems that in these parts, the silting-in and lack of dredging has caused the charts (and thus the electronic chart plotters) to become badly out of date. One needs recent, local knowledge to travel 'round here and we ain't got it. Punch line: we later learned that due to lack of rain, the river's running 4 feet lower than normal. No wonder there's no longer a navigable channel.
That said, Sunset Bay Marina has deep enough water, and everything about it is very, very nice. We're here thru the end of June, to spend large dollars getting all kinds of well-deserved repairs and upgrades to The Fox after 10 years of sailing, 8 years of full-time living aboard & 4-1/2 years of full-time cruising. Such as: revised rigging, revised staysail, repaired main sail; refurbished wind generator; all new interior mattresses & upholstery; repaired and cleaned carpets; new cockpit cushions. And a lot more besides. I'll tell y'all all about it. Eventually.