The St. Lucie Lock is the first lock out of five you must go through when you cross Lake Okeechobee to get to Florida's western side. The water rises about 8 feet in this lock. To make the water rise the lock master just cracks the lock gates a little bit. The water comes in. Your boat rises. You drive out. Seems pretty simple, huh? The lines are even provided for you. All you have to do is keep pulling in and tightening them up as your boat rises. Well it would be that easy if the beast weighed less than 125,000 pounds! I pulled the stern line as hard as I could and still couldn't keep Valkyrie against the wall with the force of the water and the wind. Seriously my arms felt like I had just spent an hour with a personal trainer at the gym. Finally Don took pity on me and came to the rear and used our thrusters to move the stern in closer so I could tighten up on the line. Now to sign up for a gym membership!!!
Just found these pictures of all the Navy ships in Norfolk. It is amazing how close you are when you motor past them and how many ships are docked here. Of course they have a floating fence and a patrol boat keeping our military vessels safe. I love the name of the hospital ship, Comfort. It is my favorite.
"No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea."
While we were offshore on the way from Fernandino Beach, Florida to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, the dolphin came to play in our bow wake MANY times. Here are a few pictures to tease you. You KNOW I shot lots of video!!! It's a comin' soon!
While iguanas live all over the Bahamas, some islands are more noted for them. These were at Bitter Guana Cay. When we first walked up to check out the sign, at least 5 iguans came RUNNING out to greet us. Clearly they expected food, which we did not have with us. Let me tell you having 5+ of these creatures barreling towards you expecting food you don't have does more than just give you pause. It makes you run backwards FAST! Not only did I do the backwards dance, but so did everyone else on the beach. These are not cute little curly tail lizards. They are seriously hungry dragon looking speed demons. After we caught our breath and they realized we didn't have any food, things settled down. We realized that the iguanas, while they were running straight towards us, would only come so close before stopping on a dime. If you moved closer to them, they took off in the other direction. That was a relief!
I filmed the video using my underwater camera, which is the one to the left. There is no screen on the back, so you can't see what you are videoing. I just held it up and tried to aim it. Please forgive the shots that aren't centered. It's a little jumpy and there is no sound, but it does give you a nice view of the iguanas.
We made this video to show you what it looks like offshore in GREAT weather! The map below shows where we were.
While heading up the waterway just before the Haulover Bridge Canal, something caught our eye.
I jumped up and grabbed the binoculars. It was indeed a pink bird. The only pink birds I know of are flamingoes. And I have never seen them in the wild, only in a zoo. So just what kind of bird was this???
Turns out they were Roseate Spoonbills!! And not just one or two that had secretly escaped from a zoo. There were lots of them on two tiny islands!! At first I thought they were flamingoes, a common Florida tourist mistake. In fact I wrote that they were flamingoes. Guess that puts me in the total Florida Tourist category. But thanks to a comment you can read below, I learned something new today!!!
Every time we walked on the beach we saw shoes. Never a pair of shoes leading you to believe that someone walked off and forgot them. These were lone shoes that had washed ashore....baby shoes, kid shoes, men's shoes, women's shoes....some fairly intact, some only the sole. The thing is many of them did not look like shoes anyone would have worn on the beach. These pics were taken on the same beach on Long Island and were all within 50 feet of each other.
So just how do all these shoes get washed up on the beach? Do that many folks come there, take their shoes off and then forget them? Do they get blown off the decks of mega yachts traveling at high speeds? Do that many people throw their worn out shoes in the ocean instead of the trash? Did a Rack Room container full of shoes get washed off a ship? Is there some country on the other side of the Atlantic ocean that throws them into the water as an offering to the shoe Goddess? These important questions are what keep me up at night! ha ha! Still, I do wonder just how they get there. Got any ideas????
...You can take a picture of your anchor and chain while standing on the boat in 10 feet of water. It also helps that the water in the Bahamas is so crystal clear. No I didn't cheat and take these pictures with my underwater camera! They were taking while standing on the boat looking over....
the STERN! Not the usual place to see you anchor!!! The current was swinging the boat around and taking it's nice sweet time. With no wind to push the beast or to even make ripples on the surface of the water, it was easy to spot the anchor at the back of the boat beside the dinghy!
Blue holes are a fairly unique thing to see. They are places where the depth drops suddenly. The dramatic increase in the depth makes the water very blue.
Dean’s Blue Hole is located in a town named, Dean, on Long Island. Actually town is not the right word. Dean is more like a small section on the Queen’s Highway without any stores, businesses, or even a gas station. If it weren’t for the sign, you wouldn’t even realize it was there. Its claim to fame is its blue hole, which at 663 feet, is the deepest in the entire world.
The best part of this particular blue hole is that the cliff surrounding it extends for about 100 yards and protects it from the ocean. That means there is never a swell or even waves to deal with. You can come and swim almost any time except during a strong outgoing tide. Then it creates a whirlpool effect that can suck you down under the water. Three people who died here are memorialized with these statues.
This picture gives you a view of what the cliff protecting the hole looks like.
Notice the dramatic color change. As you can see it is only a few feet from the sand to the big drop off. The drop is so steep, you have to put on all your snorkel gear while you are sitting in the sand and then crawl or walk like a duck to the deep part.
The white structure in the center is a diving platform that has several lines leading to the bottom. I am not sure how they were able to secure the lines on the bottom. Going down 663 feet with dive gear is not possible, so I have to wonder how did they do it??? Every year they hold a free diving competition here. They say it is easy to dive down because the air compresses in your lungs as you go deeper making you sink quickly. The tricky part is the fight to get back up. You have to kick hard to force yourself back up while your lungs are screaming for air.
We snorkeled the area. There is about a 30 foot drop off that rings the deep hole. The fish like to swim in the shallower water as there are a few corals growing here. If you look back at the first picture, it is easy to see. The water over the 30 foot drop is a lighter color. We took that picture before we snorkeled. After this drop , it drops again straaaaight down. No way to touch the bottom here!