66. On to Riviera Beach, FL

A relatively hard day. A definitely tiring day. Have I said before that boating is hard tiring work? Today was only 42 nm but it took nearly 7 hours. Didn’t do an actual count but had to pass under at least 20-25 bridges today and 1/2- 2/3 had less clearance than the 21.5’ I need. That means they need to lift for me. They are for the most part “timed” for a specific non specified speed. Some bridges open on the half hour and on the hour while others open on the 1/4 and 3/4 hours and there was one that open every twenty minutes and the lowest one, a 10’ clearance if I remember, opened on demand. But you have to call the bridge operator and request an opening or it may not happen. So the exercise is to check the charts for the next bridge for which you will need an opening, then calculate how far away it is from your current position, check the charts to see it’s opening schedule and then you can calculate what your average speed needs to be in order to arrive at bridge opening time.

Problem is you can’t count on boat traffic that might slow you down. The ICW is quite narrow and the channel can be even more narrow. A boat in fron of you out ‘for a Sunday drive’ with oncoming traffic may mean you can’t pass. You are stuck. Then there are the slow No Wake zones past marinas, slow manatee zones, bridges you can clear but the zone before and after is “idle speed”. For probably a half dozen openings I had a ‘pack’ of sailboats about mile behind and strung out another half mile. So I’d arrive ‘on time’ for an opening but the sailboats would be late and the bridge operator seeing 4 boats coming a mile away would decide to wait on opening till the first arrived. So now if the next bridge is 1/2 hour away, you’ve only got 25 minutes to get there. That would be fine if the next bridge operator was also a soft touch but odds are it is a bridge operator Mussolini trained. It is a real PITA to miss an opening and have to hold position in front of a bridge for a half hour. Likewise it’s a pain to hurry and arrive 10 minutes early and have to hold in place for 10 minutes. Best to have your between bridge plan calculated accurately and executed well. When trying to make time, it’s a little stressful as is holding your position in the wind and current. It nice now that the worst is behind as there are fewer bridge crossings from the mainland to the barrier islands as populations diminish.

This video is really slow but shows a fairly typical scene north of Ft Lauderdale
This private marina is on the south side of the ocean inlet in Riviera Beach. It is full. Note that the white hulled yacht at the end of the video is actually in the ICW and is rafted off an even bigger yacht that is at the dock.

Also note the marina I am in is immediately north of the same inlet and it is a municipal marina. None of these pictured yachts could squeeze into the municipal marina even with a shoehorn.
The private marina is so full that this poor fellow had to anchor out with all the sailboats that don’t want to pay marina fees. Guessing its slip fee in a marina would be about $1,000 per night plus electricity and water at a substantial rate.
Made the reservation by phone this morning and 10 minutes later this photo and message was texted to me showing the channel marker at the marina entrance and directions to my assigned slip. It’s nice since it tells me in advance that if I stern into the slip, the finger pier will be on the starboard side and therefore the primary tie will be a starboard tie. Their message also included an advisory that the ICW current runs thru the marina (no breakwalls). That gives me a chance before entering the confines of a strange marina to stand off at slow to no speed to see how the current will affect my docking. I think I remember two other marinas that had their act together like this. Marlin Bay and I think one in GA. Then there were marinas like Bill Bird in Miami that didn’t have even one staffer who could tell which side the finger piers were on or actually, in their case, tried to put a 15’ beam boat in a 14’ wide slip.
Step off the docks at Riviera Beach onto a nice shopping promenade. This picture was taken on the South in mid-December. Today, due to corona virus restrictions, it’s pretty much closed.
One of the things I like to watch are reflections. In Ft Lauderdale, in particular, there are many modern home with acres of plate glass windows facing the ICW. Here you can see the reflection of Last Resort passing by.

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2 thoughts on “66. On to Riviera Beach, FL”

  1. Adventures of Captain Al and Crew…
    Most enjoyable reading… for the most part. You tend to lose me with the mechanical writings.


    1. Sorry about the mechanical stuff – but it’s a boat and there are lots of systems. What can I say. I try to explain stuff so that even a old non mechanical person like me might be able to understand


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