Wednesday, November 22, 2023

11/22 St. Lucie Lock & Dam, Stuart, FL

This is some detail of the lock and dam that is adjacent to the St. Lucie South Campground.  Watching the boats come in and out of the lock is part of what makes this a fun campground.  You just never know what you will see next.  

The purpose of this lock and the four other locks along the Okeechobee Waterway is to control the level of Lake Okeechobee.  Way back about 100 years ago, Lake Okeechobee was raised about 20 feet when a tall dyke was built around it in order for it to hold more water for agricultural purposes.  The rivers into and out of the lake also provide fishing and other recreational opportunities.  The locks are open from 7 am to 5 pm, though the last lockage trip begins at 4:30 pm.  If your boat misses the last opening, you will have to wait in the river or find a place to tie up until the next morning.  

The nicest thing about this lock is that, at least during most times it is operating, you can walk right up to the lock and watch boats entering and exiting.  In addition, as long as the western end gates are closed, you can walk and even stand directly on the lock gates!  It is a pretty big lock and occasionally has to handle large barges and tugboats.

The western end gate is closed, but it will soon open to let water enter from the higher level so some waiting small boats can enter.

It does not take long for the level to rise a full 13'.

The gates are opening.

Boats tie up loosely to one of the sides, as directed by the lock operator.  They have to tie up loosely so that the ropes can be adjusted as the water level changes. 

The far gates open and the boats leave.

Another boat is coming in. 

Later in the day, two larger boats came to go through the locks.  This one may not look very big, but it is 92' long and is for sale for $8,149,000.  It has 6 staterooms, each with its own full bathroom, and crews quarters in the rear.  You can get a better idea of how big it is by looking at the crew member standing on the bow.   It is a 2015 Viking 92 and is called "High Cotton."  

If you happen to have a few million $$ extra and are interested, check out the photos of the interior on this site:   (Click on the Gallery of photos on the right side of the opening page.)  If you get bored with the luxurious interior photos, check out the engines on slides 57 - 78.

The yacht behind it is only 60' long, but has only 3 cabins for owners and guests, plus crews quarters.  Cost is less than $2 mil, however, so it is much more affordable.

On their way....

Later in the day yesterday, I saw a tugboat pushing an older boat.  They were tied together with steel cable. 

I'm sure there will be more boats this weekend, so I might add to this posting if there is anything interesting. 

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