In North Lake Worth
26:50.23N, 080:03.19W North Lake Worth
After a few days in Peck Lake getting ‘waked’ by fast sport fishing boats blasting to and from St Lucie inlet for their day’s fishing it was time for the final leg of our ICW trip before our Bahamas crossing hopefully early next week. Between Peck Lack and Lake Worth there are six bridges spanning the waterway, none of which are high enough to pass under. They all have to open to allow you through. Of the six, the first three are on request. That is you close up on the bridge, hail the bridge tender on 09 and politely ask if he could kindly stop the traffic and open his spans for you and anyone else that happens to be with you. These are relaxed miles between the bridges – go as fast or slow as you like, it doesn’t matter. The last three however prove to be more of an issue for the yachties as they are regulated to open at set times. For example, the Indiantown Bridge opens on the hour and half hour. After that the Donald Ross Bridge opens also on the hour and half hour. There are 3 miles between the two meaning that a constant 6 knots is required if you are to reach the Donald Ross for the next opening half an hour after passing through the Indiantown Bridge. If all goes to plan it’s a good lick at max speed to make the cut on the next half hour opening. Get caught up with the slower yachts not capable of making six knots and it becomes a race against time. Add twenty knots of headwind and an adverse current and those engines are flat out with the sterns squatting deep in the water. Miss the bridge – they don’t keep the spans raised for long or else the drivers up top will use their horns, and you are in for almost half an hour of needing to keep the boat in position close to the bridge with current and wind doing their best to ensure you are on those controls for the whole time. Add the wake of fast power boats able to go under the bridge at anytime and the heart rate starts to increase. It’s certainly not a good time to lose an engine.
We finally made North Lake Worth in the middle of the afternoon and anchored into a stiff southerly breeze of fifteen plus knots. Deciding to transfer the Bahamas tracks and waypoints onto the plotter ready for the off next week the flash card reader decided that ten years of working was more than enough and not only could we not retrieve any archived routing information from a different flashcard but that the actual navigation for south Florida and the Bahamas chip is also no longer being read by the plotter. The only potential fix looks to be to send it to Raymarine although we suspect that this outmoded piece of hardware is unlikely to be much welcomed into their technical department with any glee when they are wanting to sell nice new touch screen devices. But all is not lost as we have other strings to our bow and provided the laptop keeps working we have mapping (Open CPN) below and of course the paper chartbooks and four GPS’s so we’ll be OK. But it won’t be the same.