Key Biscayne to Lake Worth, Florida

Rather than double back around the west end of Key Biscayne to head out for Fort Lauderdale, we went north on Biscayne Bay to the Rickenbacker Causeway Bridge, past downtown Miami and out Dodge Cut to Government Cut. The currents against us were pretty strong through Dodge Cut and especially out Government Cut, at one point only allowing us 3 to 4 MPH over the ground. But once outside, we made the turn north and the current became a non issue. The winds were very light out of the west so again we motor sailed the 20 some miles to Port Everglades. There was lots of boat traffic, even as early in the morning as we departed. We watched the storms over the mainland as we moved north but that is where they stayed for a change. Running outside here saves a lot of time waiting for bridges to open and there are many between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. Once we arrived at Port Everglades the entry channel was full of boats of all shapes and sizes running full speed in and out of the inlet. They keep you rolling quite a bit until you get well inside to the turning basin. This is a commercial port so you might see ships of any size as well as the ever present cruise ships.

The 17th Street Bridge over the waterway opens every half hour and we were about 4 minutes late. We could not believe it when the bridge tender reminded us we were a bit late but opened for us anyway. We are not used to bridge tenders in Florida being this helpful. The waterway was teeming with boats from small runabouts to very large luxury yachts. This is the land of the mega-yacht and they lined the docks along this stretch. Our destination was Lake Sylvia right off the waterway next to Bahia Mar Marina. The entrance is a little tricky and you must hug the shoreline near Bahia Mar to get in. Once inside, the small lake is surrounded by very upscale, expensive homes. This is just a stopping place since there are no facilities ashore or any place to land a dinghy. But we did find several local boats already anchored here by the time we arrived. This is the July 4th holiday and everyone is out on the water. As usual the weather was threatening all afternoon but eventually all we had was a light steady rain until about 10 PM. But that did not cancel the fireworks and we were treated to a great 4th of July display. We had views from several venues and although it only lasted about an hour it was pretty good. Even before the show wound down the local boats started to pack up and leave, probably because of the rain. Finally we had the lake to ourselves with the exception of a couple of other cruising boats.
The next morning the forecast called for even more rain and storms than normal, if you can believe that. So we reluctantly decided to proceed north inside on the ICW from Fort Lauderdale to West Palm Beach. That means a total of 20 bridges to transit in the 40 miles we needed to go. Most of the bridges have restricted times for transit. We use our chart plotter to pace ourselves for all of these bridges rather than try to guess if we will arrive on time. By placing a mark at each bridge we can let the plotter calculate what out ETA will be and adjust our speed accordingly so we can arrive just before the scheduled opening. This is very helpful in situations where there is a lot of congestion or strong currents. For the first half of the day we made pretty good time arriving at each bridge near the scheduled opening and forcing us to make good time to catch the next bridge. It did not hurt that we had a good current running with us most of the day either. But the afternoon slowed us down since someone in their infinite wisdom timed the bridges so slower boats could not possibly make the next opening and would have to decrease speed over time. And of course we had the afternoon storms begin showing up on our radar by 1 PM. We did try our best to keep north of them but the bridge schedules kept us at a very slow pace. All along this entire stretch we had to deal with inconsiderate, unskilled and simply totally clueless boat operators. All it really takes to own a boat is the money to purchase it and it seems common sense and good seamanship is not a requirement or even a desired characteristic.
Once in the Lake Worth area, we were free of bridges and had several options for anchoring for the night. Most are nothing more than a wide spot in the waterway and subject to boat wakes. We picked a spot opposite the Rybovich Spencer mega yacht repair yard since we knew it had decent depths and there was plenty of room. Several years back we received great service albeit at a great cost at that yard. We anchored near a small sailboat, a houseboat and a very large tug that we were surprised to see just anchored there. We arrived at approximately 3:30 PM, then a very strange thing happen around 5:30 or 6 PM. The sun came out and the rain clouds just kind of drifted away. I suppose the universe decided we had enough for right now. It was pleasant with a nice offshore breeze and lower, drier temps and humidity. For the rest of the evening we did not even need to run the cabin fans for a change. The currents here are strong and switch directions with the tides since this is close to the inlet but the holding for the anchor is very good. There are a lot of boats on moorings, most private, what ever that means, just a bit further to the north. This is another of those permanent live-aboard communities. We planned another inside run for the following day to Stuart to meet up with our friends that let us borrow their slip in Marathon.
We noticed a little trick the weather forecasters on the local TV stations do and we thought it might be interesting to those following our progress or coming to Florida at some point on a boat. Lets say today is Sunday and the forecasters will tell us that soon the storms will subside and become less frequent in intensity and less often. So that should happen on Tuesday according to their information. On Monday they will tell us in two days the same thing will happen which now means not until Wednesday. On Tuesday, they again tell us, “in two days” we will see less storms making that happen on Thursday and so on. Those two days really never arrive. This goes on day after day and we have found it to be laughable if it were not for the fact that we really need decent information to plan our next days move. I suppose this is done for the benefit of the tourist bureau so perhaps folks won’t pack up and go home early. Just an interesting side note to add to the lack of correct weather information.


  1. Hey Chuck,

    Do you have numbers you are willing to share for that anchorage near the rybovich yard??

  2. Eric, Our anchorage lat and long are 26.49.55N and 080.02.43W. As usual, use at your own risk. Have fun. Chuck


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