Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Melbourne, Florida: A Lock and Bridges

Intermezzo is anchored in Palm Harbor, a small cove off the Intracoastal Waterway just south of Melbourne, Florida.

We started the day off topping the fuel tanks off with diesel. We only burned 28 gallons the whole way from Hilton Head thanks to good winds for our coastal passage. 

From the fuel dock we headed west on the Canaveral Barge Canal, through a bascule bridge (drawbridge), then a lock, then another bascule bridge. The canal beyond the lock is quite nice, a narrow channel running through mangroves.  We saw a manatee rise to the surface to take a big breath of air before sinking down to resume grazing on aquatic plants.

We turned left when we exited the canal and headed south on the Indian River, a broad expanse of shallow water with a narrow dredged channel down the middle of it.  We had to pass under half a dozen fixed bridges along the way.  All purportedly had 65 feet of vertical clearance but notes on the chart indicated that one bridge, the Pineda Causeway bridge only had 63.5 feet clearance even when the air draft board reads 65 feet. That's as low a bridge as I'm willing to try passing under, so I was a bit nervous about making it through.

When we arrived at the Pineda bridge, the air draft board showed 65 feet clearance. I approached the bridge slowly, coming to a near stop to inch the top of the mast up to the soffit of the bridge. There was plenty of clearance, at least a foot above the VHF antenna, which is about 64 feet above the water. So, the air draft boards are pretty accurate, the comments on the chart, not so much, and my trepidation turned out to be for naught.

The day was sunny and warm, touching 80 degrees with a cooling headwind. The sky was almost white, with patches of the lightest blue. The water was coca-cola brown next to the boat, grey-blue beyond. I drove the boat in a a t-shirt, shorts and barefoot. Nice!

We continued southward until the sun began to set. I turned into towards Palm Harbor and felt my way over its narrow entrance, the water depth getting as shallow as 4.1 feet. Any less and Intermezzo's keels would have touched the bottom.

We're in a nice little anchorage, very protected and calm, The only negative is traffic noise from a road along the shore. Hopefully it subsides during the night.

Flock of white pelicans on the bank of the Canaveral Lock

The Canaveral Barge Canal

Sailing in shorts and barefoot. Yay!