June 22 Vero Beach to Indiantown

We seem to wake up around the same time every day even without the alarm clock.  We took Auggie for a long walk today because we have a long day ahead of us.  Last night the winds calmed off and it was a beautiful night–glassy, calm waters with a glowing sky.

This morning the wind was dead calm, allowing the sun to produce reflections in the water.  Beautiful!

We left Vero Beach at 8:15 and made our way north.  Our destination today is Indiantown on the St. Lucie Canal with one lock to pass through.  Near Ft. Pierce, we came upon some rain clouds.  Sections of clouds were dropping rain, but not on us….yet.

As we headed farther south, we ran into the rain.  The wind in the storm kicked up some 2′ waves.  We slowed down as visibility became more difficult.

The radar showed the rainstorms forming on the coast and slowly moving north.  It looked like we might be in the rain for awhile. Time to turn on the windshield wipers and the radar.

Good thing we did!  Another boat was coming from the other direction and visibility was poor.  The heavy rain knocked down the waves.  Luckily, we were able to fall in behind another boat and let him lead the way.  Eventually, the rain lightened up and we could pass him. 

There was a break in the clouds approaching Stuart and blue sky appeared for a moment. 

That was only Phase I of the rain today.  The radar showed that Phase II was up ahead.  Ten minutes later, we started the whole wind–waves–rain thing again. 

The first phase lasted about 20 minutes.  Phase II lasted about 10.  When the rain hit, we slowed to a snail’s pace.  Visibility was non-existent.  In the middle of the pouring rain, Bob noticed the aft bilge light was on.  Once the rain let up, we went out back to open the hatch in the floor to check on the pump.  Sure enough!  The pump wasn’t working.  (If you remember, we already replaced the switch on the bilge pump in St. Augustine.)  Before the switch was replaced in St. Augustine, the pump was running non-stop for an undetermined amount of time, so it must have finally worn itself out.  With all the rain today that drained into the bilge, it must have finally given up.  (A bilge pump pumps water overboard that may collect in the bottom of the boat from the rain or other leaks.  It’s a safety feature that prevents the boat from filling up with water and sinking.)  The original pump in still in the boat, so it’s old and will be replaced.  It’s not something that prevents us from continuing on our trip, but Bob will keep an eye on it.  The sun came out as we approached the St. Lucie Inlet near Stuart.  Boats were transiting the inlet without any problems. 

There was one more little cell of rain ahead of us, but if we’re lucky it would be gone before we get there.  In Stuart, we had an occasional stray shower.  Once we entered into the South Fork of the St. Lucie River, we were engulfed by green algae that’s been in the news.

Nutrient-rich water from the sugar cane fields was released from Lake Okeechobee causing an algae bloom.  Leave it to the engineers to screw it up.  We made our way down the St. Lucie River to the lock and arrived at 12:25.  There was already water coming out of the lock, so the lock master must have been emptying it to drop the water level. 

We entered the lock and the gates were almost closed when they started to open again for a small boat that arrived late.  We waited for him to get into the lock and the gates finally closed.

We rose 14 feet in 30 minutes and were on our way at 1:00.

From the St. Lucie Lock, it’s about 15 miles to Indiantown–our final destination for the night.  There was green algae carpeting the water from Stuart to Indiantown today–some places worse than others.

These horses were enjoying the water on a very steamy day.

Farther down, these cows were cooling off in the water.  They all stampeded up the bank of the river as our boat wake hit the shore.

Just before Indiantown, we came around the turn and discovered that the railroad bridge was down.  We called the bridge operator and he was kind enough to open the bridge before the train got there. That saved us some wait time. 

There was green algae carpeting the water from Stuart to Indiantown today–some places worse than others.  We never saw any of the algae bloom on the way north a week ago.

We pulled into Indiantown at 2:00 and tied up at the gas dock just inside the opening for the night. 

As we were tying up, we heard thunder in the distance, so I quickly took Auggie for a walk and Bob got the boat covered up in case of rain. Indiantown has a nice area where people can gather.

The rain never came and the sun finally came out.  We relaxed after our 6 hour ride today with a cocktail and Auggie took a long-needed nap.  That dog has the life! 

Bob cooked chicken on the grill and we made our plans for tomorrow.  If the weather looks good, we’ll plan to cross Lake Okeechobee tomorrow.  We walked Auggie in the boatyard and took a look at all the boats that were there for summer storage.  We were all tired from a long day on the water and would get a good night’s sleep tonight.

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