March 2, 2014
We left Oleta State Park after an enjoyable overnight visit. We pulled in here and dropped anchor pretty early this day for a couple of reasons. First it was Sunday and the boat traffic was seriously congested, compounded by 2nd) we were getting ready to pass Haulover Inlet during peak tidal flow and for this inlet in particular, that is bad timing. It is best to pass inlets at slack tide and preferably without all the crazy weekend boaters. So we pulled off the ICW momentarily while checking the charts and found by going around the island directly to our west, we could slip easily into the Oleta State Park for the night hoping that Monday morning would find the boat traffic to be less congested and we could time the our passage to proper tide. We were fortunate to find a good spot to drop anchor among all the weekenders, we fired up the grill for dinner and launched the kayak for paddling. It was a nice evening.
Moving north our next stop was John U. Lloyd State Park for a workshop scheduled for the 8th. There was a nice park right on the beach within walking distance and we had a nice day at the beach after the workshop.
Continuing on north, we next cruised into Lettuce Lake in Boynton Beach where our next workshop was scheduled for the 15th at Boynton Beach Harbor Marina. We proceeded north again on Sunday the 16th stopping in West Palm Beach where the town was preparing for their annual Boat Show.
We were preparing to leave West Palm Beach when an actuator malfunctioned and Carter had to install a replacement before moving on.
We were almost to the St. Lucie Inlet and as I stated before, we have learned to pass inlets at slack tide and use the current to our advantage. Since we arrived a couple hours early we decided to pull off at St. Lucie Inlet Preserve and State Park as they have a nice dock. Although our Lowrance chart plotter clearly showed 5' of water all around the dock, it failed us again! About 100' short of the dock we ran aground. Since the tide was going out rapidly at that point, we were quickly stuck on the hard sandy bottom and forced to stay in this spot until the tide rolled back in that evening at 9:00 pm. We made use of the time by getting in the Whaler to take soundings of the area to be prepared to move into a spot for the night. By 9:30 that night we were safely anchored close, but not too close to the ICW for an early morning departure past the inlet into Manatee Pocket where Carter found a prop shop to fix the prop on the whaler which had been damaged on an oyster bed a few days earlier. We went up a little canal and while I stayed with Radar and the Whaler, Carter took a mile long hike to the prop shop where the guy fixed it on the spot. With 30 minutes to kill and a Super Walmart right next door, he was also able to get some important provisioning done, TP, batteries, and a quart of oil for Honda.
We got back just in time to make the tides at Stuart Inlet to continue up the St. Lucie River and a scheduled press conference with Rethink Energy Florida the next day. We even had a space at the city dock at Stuart City Hall where we got to tie up to shore overnight for the second time in 5 months.
That was a very nice nice dock but with a northerly exposure, and unfortunately the winds whipping from the northeast had us bucking against the dock all night long. But the next day right after the press conference was actually over an Kim Ross was taking me to the grocery store for a few provisions we needed, CBS Channel 12 News showed up and Carter was on his own for the media relations. But they did a super nice story on the Archimedes that we were very happy with!
That evening we moved over to Sunrise Marina just around the corner for one more workshop scheduled for the 22nd.
Just as a side note, we were tied to docks more in the past month than we have on this entire trip. We normally drop the hook in anchorages or behind a spoils island just off the ICW.
It's time for this season to come to an end because as Captain Carter likes to say, "the Arc may run on nothing but sunshine but our finances do not". It's time to go back to work in Tennessee and refill the coffers so we can return this fall for the final leg of the Little Cruise Aid for a Sustainable Florida.