Ohana Sailing Adventure

The ICW – Or, Will the Mast Fit?

It’s been almost 2 months since we arrived back in the U.S.

We stayed in Fort Lauderdale until we cleared customs, and then we moved up the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to Fort Pierce, Florida, where Ohana was hauled out of the water for some work.

Traveling up the ICW was a very different experience than our previous passages on the boat. Protected from ocean swells, traveling along this waterway was much calmer overall.

But as with most things in life, the ICW came with new skills to learn, with the bridges (their heights and opening times), manatee zones, currents, and tides along this stretch of water posing new elements to keep track of. Part of the design philosophy that went into this boat, was to keep the mast short enough to be able to clear bridges on the ICW. We discovered, though, that although bridges may have a stated height of 65 feet, some have settled over time and are less than that.

So when we came to our first fixed bridge, we approached it with more than a little worry in our minds. Ted and the girls had taken the dinghy out the day before to check the height marker in the water, and we chose a time at low tide to give us the most room. We were still very thankful, though, when we passed under the bridge without taking off the VHF antenna, or the wind indicator, or anything more significant.

Once we settled into the difference in travel along the ICW, we all enjoyed the scenery, and the girls especially liked looking out for wildlife.

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