ICW Mile Marker 1084 – North Biscayne Bay

On Monday March 19, Cat Inn Around transits the Intracoastal Waterway from West Palm Beach (Mile Marker 1015) to Upper Biscayne Bay, Mile Marker 1084.

Cat Inn Around pulled anchor at 9:01 and passed under the Parker Bridge entering the waters of lake Worth. The ICW is now a ‘slow, no wake’ zone and we realize why last night’s anchorage was so uncomfortable; even the big cat was rock by boats ‘pushing the throttle down’ after finally passing miles of no wake zones. Just beyond the bridge are attractive peaceful anchorages. The channel makes a swing to the west as we round ‘Peanut Island’ and the Lake Worth Inlet (MM 1014). Now there are scores of vessels that can only be called ‘floating condominiums.’ In comparison, Cat Inn Around looks like a small tender. A bit further, there are lots of boats the just sitting in the channel or idling around. As we try to pick our way through we are accosted: “Why are you getting so close, man?” “We are heading south and you are in the middle of the channel!” “So are they, why you expecting me to move?” his Hispanic hiss as he begrudgingly moves closer to the docks to the west. Making a wide swing to the east we slide between him and another boat; biding the pendejo adios. We realize this is preparation for the West Palm Beach Boat Show this weekend. No one wanted to give an inch for fear another boat would take their ‘slot’ requiring an extra few minuets to get docked and set-up.

The ICW is now marked with opulent homes and luxurious mega-yachts parked at their docks. At Mile Marker 1021 we approach the Flagler Memorial Bridge with a vertical clearance of 17-feet that only opens at 15 and 45 past the hour. We request an opening and wait just outside the channel. After clearing the bridge we rush through the no-wake zone to reach the Royal Palm Bridge (MM 1022.6) that only opens on the hour and half-hour. Lake Worth becomes wide, picturesque and bejeweled with numerous small islands. The ICW channel is narrow and it is obvious there is little water outside of the channel. ‘Manatee Zone no wake’ markers are everywhere outside of the channel. At Mile Marker 1031 we approach the Lantana-Ocean Bridge a 13-foot vertical clearance that opens on the hour. We request an opening and idle for a while. Just four miles further we approach the Boynton Beach-Ocean Avenue Bridge (MM 1035). The bridge shows a 21-foot clearance and with no regard for my copilots white knuckles, we proceed ahead. The ICW is now a canal lined with concrete bulkheads and condos. No wake signs keep us crawling along at 7-knots. Soon we are approaching Delray Beach and the George Bush Boulevard Bridge (MM 1038.7) with a 9-foot vertical clearance. A sailboat ahead of us has already requested an opening, after a short delay we follow them through. Just a mile later, we approach the Atlantic Avenue Bridge (MM 1039.6) with a 12-foot clearance. We request and opening and there is no response. The bridge is scheduled to open at 15 and 45 minutes after the hour. We wait and she opens on schedule. At Mile Marker 1041 we approach the Linton Boulevard Bridge with a 27-foot clearance and easily pass under. About 4-miles further (MM 1045) we are approaching Boca Raton on Lake Boca Raton. We approach the Palmetto Park Bridge, 19-foot clearance, and we wait for the on the hour and the half-hour scheduled opening.

The ICW continues lined with concrete bulkhead with docks and boat lifts along both sides. Just 3-miles further is the Camino Real Bridge (MM 1048.2) with a 9-foot clearance. It actually opens 3-times per hour, at the hour, 20-minuets and 40-minuets past. After passing the bridge, we enter the Hillsboro River with numerous ‘no wake zone’ signs. We continue crawling at 7-knots. At Mile Marker 1054 we bear to the starboard, passing the Hillsboro Inlet to our port. The 136-foot tall lighthouse stands on the north side of the inlet, with a powerful beacon visible up to 28-miles offshore. Soon we approach twin bascule bridges, both with 15-foot clearance, (MM 1055 and MM 1056) which identify Pompano Beach. Between Mile Markers 1059 and 1064 we encounter three more bridges. We wait for one and pass under the next two. At Mile Marker 1064 we slip under the Las Olas Bridge, marking the southern boating mecca of Ft. Lauderdale.

In 2006 Cat Inn Around was featured in the Ft. Lauderdale boat show, in a slip just under the bridge. Passing the Bahia Mar resort Cat Inn Around feels at home. We are now in Ft. Lauderdale’s famous Miracle Mile (actually about two miles), lined with mega-yachts that defy description and spectacular estates. At Mile Marker 1065 we pass the Port Everglades Inlet. Clearing a tall cruise ship on our starboard we finally push our speed to 19-knots. All this no wake stuff is not good for a cat that wants to prowl. At Mile Marker 1070 we approach the Sheridan Street Bridge with a 22-foot clearance. We are back to our 7-knot crawl. We pass under the bridge leaving Dania Beach and then at Mile Marker 1072.2 pass under the Hollywood Boulevard Bridge with a 22-foot clearance. Next we pass under the Hallandale Beach Boulevard Bridge (MM 1074) with a 31-foot clearance; fortunately we did not have to wait again. Occasionally we catch a glimpse of the tall skyscrapers of the City of Miami looming in the distance. We pass under the 65-foot Golden Beach Bridge, (aka Northeast 192nd Street) entering Dumfounding Bay at Mile Marker 1076. Finally the ICW has some breadth again. Next we enter Biscayne Creek, passing under the Sunny Isles Bridge (MM 1078).

At Mile Marker 1080 we enter Upper Biscayne Bay. The water displays a kaleidoscope of turquoise hues, deeper blues marking the channels and light colors identifying the sand bars along the channel. After a couple of attempts to find an anchorage, our chart shows 8-foot deep water several yards out of the channel near the mouth of Indian Creek. At 5:36 PM we set a good anchor at Mile Marker 1084 having traveled 69-miles in 8½ hours. We settle in to a nice glass of wine and dinner hoping the jet-skis realize it is getting dark.

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