Saturday, December 29, 2012

Down The "Gold Coast" to Boca Raton

We left Indiantown at 7:00 am. We got a good price on fuel between there and Stuart, FL at American Custom Boat Works, so we filled HMR pretty close to capacity (500 gallons - yes, it hurts every time).  We were only a little below half capacity but fuel is very expensive (50 cents to a dollar a gallon more!) where we are headed so this should get us down the coast, then back up north for our visit with Rhonda's family in Jacksonville.  I have mixed emotions and enthusiasm for running this part of Florida - once you leave Stuart southbound, it's absolutely nuts and crazy with development, opulent homes, and boats everywhere.  It is impressive and fun to see at first because of the magnificence of some of the homes and all the hype but after a while it just wears on me and it is some of the most tiring boating you can do in my opinion. However, we have 2 priorities for heading this way - we lived in Boca Raton from 1987 to 1990 when I worked at the West Palm Beach approach control and tower facility, so we have lots of memories in this area.  Also, an unexpected surprise is that our younger son, Scott, is flying the folks he works for to Miami after the New Year and will be there for several days, so an opportunity to visit with him is always good for us parents.

So, here's the transition from the solace of the Okeechobee Waterway.....

..... to the hype and craziness of the "Gold Coast" which wikipedia defines as "a reference to the wealth and ritzy lifestyle said to characterize the area from Stuart to Miami."

What are some more signs you are in south Florida at the end of December?

Yes, that is the bottom you are looking at in 12 feet of water.

Lots of golf courses

And apparently the new craze is paddleboards.  They were everywhere.

A turtle....

......crossing the street in the middle of this subdivision in Jupiter close to where we rented a slip at Jonathan's Landing.  We rode our bikes to Publix for some groceries - I had a real "need" for a grilled hamburger that evening.

And while I didn't get a pic of one, I have learned a new term - "infinity pool."  A decent percentage of the homes here have them.  I don't want one but they are pretty.

It's hard to make much more progress in a day than about 50 miles.  First of course because we are slow.  And then there are these things called bridges.  We need 17' 6" to clear them and most of them don't meet our needs!  Most of them have scheduled openings on the hour and half-hour, quarter-after and 3/4-after, every 20 minutes, on request, etc etc.  For example, in the 50-mile run we made yesterday, there were 17 bridges and 10 were too low for us.  Here's one of them.

And here are four of us waiting to get through.  The bridge tenders are pretty strict about adhering to the scheduled opening/closing times.  You may be close, but if you are not there and ready when it opens, you have to wait for the next appointed time.

It is pretty fascinating that these 4 hydraulic cylinders can raise that much weight.

And it's funny when, right in the middle of all the opulence and splendor of the newer homes and condos, there are still a few holdouts.

And there are some very pretty sights mixed in here and there.

I have to admit, the landscaping and attention to detail is absolutely stunning and I do enjoy seeing all of the beauty, design, and creativity of that.

And, I had quite a few reminders of my work there at the airport.  With the prevailing easterly winds and the runway layout at PBI airport, 95% of the traffic departs over Donald Trump's place, the ICW, the beach, and then turns NW-bound on the Palm Beach One departure.  Oh well, that's even changed now - called the MIXAE-One Departure apparently.

I guess I didn't realize that right in the middle of all this, West Palm Beach actually has some significant shipping business also, utilizing the Lakeworth inlet from the Atlantic.  It almost felt weird - it just didn't fit with everything else.

And we never saw the Goodyear blimp on the Okeechobee either, but it was in the area all day yesterday.

We are happy to have that 100 miles behind us now from Indiantown to here (even though there's still more to come in Ft. Lauderdale and Miami) and we are looking forward to our visits and memory lane stuff coming up in Boca starting with friends visiting today and church/more friends tomorrow.  We are actually in Pompano Beach just south of Boca at Sands Harbor with about all we could need in easy walking distance, including the beach 3 blocks away.

We had a nice clam chowder and shrimp tapas dinner (whatever tapas is) at the Riverside Grille about 100 feet from the boat yesterday evening and Rhonda wanted one last Christmas tree pic so here it is.

I expect it will be crazy around here for New Years Eve so we'll probably sit tight right here until after that, then continue our trek southbound to see Scott.  I hear his girlfriend Rachel may be joining us also, so we are looking forward to seeing her again as well.  Hey, Facebook says they are "in a relationship" so it must be serious!  We hope so.  Are you reading this Scott?   

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