Great Loop: Riding out the storm on Hutchison Island

Day 17-19: February 3-5, 2023

Storms come in many forms. Upon returning from our side trip to Iowa I’d say there were two storms on the horizon. One emotional and the other the Mother Nature type.

One cool thing about the loop and traveling is you get to see people that you haven’t seen in forever. When we were back in Iowa my old friend Sarah reached out and said she saw we were near West Palm from our blog posts. It worked out that we could do dinner the night after returning. It was great fun catching up.

On the morning of February 3rd, we knew we were on the clock for a weather window to get up the coast. The forecast showed it getting nasty in the afternoon and it was going to last for multiple days. Therefore, we decided to book a marina up by Stuart.

We did a quick dinghy trip over to Peanut Island. It was a great walk around and good to stretch the legs and get back to our morning walking.

Upon returning to the boat, we pulled anchor and decided to hit the nearby fuel barge. Fuel there was $4.99 a gallon, which is a significant savings over the nearby marinas charging $6 plus. While we didn’t need a full tank, it’s always good to get fuel cheaper when you can. Plus, the fuel barge crew were super friendly and tolerated our lively banter.

Being in close proximity to one of the inlets, we decided to go on the “outside” to the ocean instead of the intracoastal. It allowed for a quicker trip with no slow zones. Probably saved us an hour or so on the day. And the timing worked out perfectly. The wind started picking up just as we were docking and if we’d been any longer, we would have been in a full thunderstorm, which was bad. We took the shuttle over to the Atlantic side just in time to watch the hotel employees chasing umbrellas down the beach. One got airborne at least 30 feet and was gone. Since we missed beach time, we opted for the hot tub back at the marina hotel along with some beverages.

We spent the next two days riding out the thunderstorms that rolled thru. It wasn’t the typical Florida storm where it moved in and out in a short time. It was a lingering storm. At one point we walked to get lunch and came back with sopping wet shoes and pants. The rain jackets worked.

Tonia, Mayli, and I checked out the Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center. It’s a small, mostly outdoor, aquarium and activity center that has some cool animals to see. They have three resident sea turtles that are in captivity only because they can’t make it in the wild. It was cool to see them swimming around the lagoon. There are also many ocean fish in there to gander at. We were there at feeding time so got to feed string rays and watch the staff feed the game fish. It was a fun to pet the sting rays, some of which were super docile. 😉

Ok, you’ve read this whole thing and I didn’t mention anything about emotional storms. Sometimes those go behind the scenes. Since our trip to Iowa, Tonia and I have been a bit bummed out. Probably a little understandable with the overload from the last week. This is a perfect time for Jimmy Buffet’s lyric “Breathe in, breathe out, move on.”

Day 17 Trip Details:
Palm Beach Shores, US to Martin County, US
Time: 4 h 57 m (09:02 to 14:00)
Distance: 32.42 nm

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