Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Few More Days Northward on the Florida ICW

Hello all-
Despite going the "wrong way," we are making progress. A day's travel by cruising tugboat equals about an hour's drive by car, so by most standards our progress is slow.

Here is what we like... red markers on one side, green markers on the other, with a clear & easy channel in between. This is the IntraCoastal Waterway channel in the Indian River just north of Fort Pierce FL.

From the Okeechobee Waterway along the St. Lucie River, we entered the Indian River. This is really more of a sound or bay. It runs over 100 miles north to south, past Fort Pierce, Melbourne, and passes west of Cape Canaveral. North of Titusville there is a 1 mile canal connecting to the next inland bay or sound, romantically named Mosquito Lagoon.

Here is what we don't like... shallow water & sand bars! As always, never drive your boat where birds are standing.
We have seen a lot of dolphins (porpoises), but not been able to get any good pictures of them.

We thought this was the shuttle going up, but it wasn't. The U.S. space program is one of our most incredible national accomplishments, but nowadays a rocket launch is ho-hum to most people.

Either this cruiser wanted to scrub his hull, or he did not fare so well anchoring near the islands.

These island are all "spoil banks," which means they are piles of sand, mud, & rock dredged from the channel. Without dredging, the coastal sounds & estuaries would not be deep enough for practical navigation. And the islands are kind of cool! (link to GoogleMap)

Like much of the southern U.S. coast, Florida has a chain of sandy barrier islands between the open Atlantic and the mainland. These provide nice sheltered waters and a great aquatic environment... although the nation averages about 40% of the original wetlands remaining (link). Some states have lost more than 90% but Florida has kept about half.

Here's is Hank going ashore on his personal spoil bank island for an early morning walk. Some of the tree stumps are driftwood, while others grew there and have been undercut by erosion.

Florida's east coast is more developed than the west, and for most of the ICW we are within sight of waterfront houses, parks, & hi-rises. Boat traffic is pretty heavy, especially on the weekends.

This is the Haulover Canal, between the Indian River and Mosquito Lagoon. This photo w
as taken on a drizzly day with a chilly nor'easter blowing 20+ mph.

There have actually been two Haulover Canals, and the place was called "the haulover" long before there was a canal! (link to local history site)

The Winnie W. spent several days at the New Smyrna Beach City Marina, a great stop.... more details later!

Best wishes- Doug & Kathie

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Happy (pick your favorite event)! Congrats on your successful cruise and keep up the good work.

Armond from "Kerry Deare"