Peck Lake, through which the Intra Coastal Waterway passes, was one of our favourite anchorages so far. Though we spent the first three hours there lodged firmly in a sticky mudbank until the tide rose, things improved significantly from then on with another wonderful sunset, families of manatee moseying along the channel and great schools of fish chopping up the water in a frenzy of silver fins and tails. A short dinghy ride across to a long thin strip of sand named Jupiter Island puts you right on an apparently endless white Atlantic Beach. Better yet, it was actually warm enough to go for a swim! It was all so pleasant we decided to spend another day there, using the dinghy to explore the various canals and mangrove-lined streams that feed into the lake. This proved to be a real surprise: what looked from the water like a wilderness in fact hid marinas, private clubs, a park with a busy boat ramp and many of the other trappings of civilisation. At the ramp we met the chap pictured below. He was launching this pedal-powered craft, with a sail, which he said was especially designed for those getting on in years but still wanting to keep active and enjoy the water. I don’t know how old he was, but he looked amazingly fit – and what’s more, he had pedalled the boat to Florida from the Bahamas!
On the next leg of the journey we started to experience the ‘bridge problem’ that the southern section of the ICW is infamous for. One bascule bridge after another, some of them opening ‘on demand’, but others on a schedule which often meant trying to stay put waiting in a busy channel with a strong headwind and a current taking us right where we didn’t want to go. The bridge tenders, however, were unfailingly friendly and helpful, contrary to some of the stories we had heard. It was a relief to pass through the last bridge and make our way into the north-eastern corner of Lake Worth – the bit that is outside North Palm Beach boundaries and therefore does not incur an anchoring charge. Not surprisingly, there were twenty or so yachts anchored here and none across the border! There is probably more to Lake Worth, but the bit we saw just seemed to be a lot of condos and malls with all the usual franchise restaurants and stores. We stocked up on groceries and had a pleasant evening with our neighbours Bob and Andrea aboard their lovely Island Packet. Next up, a thirty-five mile ocean passage to Fort Lauderdale, thus avoiding twenty-one bridges!