Coming across the mighty dam we’ll enter Hutchinson Island as the road veers north. In 1876 the government lifted along the entire Atlantic coast a network of shelters or houses to rescue the crew of stricken vessels of the surroundings, and so the Gilbert's Bar House of Refuge was born. Over time this service became the current coast guard and this particular spot was one of the responsible for monitoring skies and seas during the second World War, due to the possibility of an invasion by the Germans.
We’ll be on the famous A1A Florida Scenic Highway for about 19 miles, and from the beginning we will see on the left the eastern side of the lagoon and to the right, intermittently, the ocean often covered by large apartment buildings, hotels, spectacular mansions and nature reserves. The Florida Oceanographic Coastal Center welcomes us to the island with its 57 acres of mangroves and roads to travel among hammocks, swamps and creeks or coves such as Joe's Cove. Later, we’ll get to Seminole Shores and then Waveland.
We’ll then leave Martin county behind, entering Saint Lucie. For now we’ll advance a little to reach Nettles Island, a small community of recreational vehicles, trailers or caravans, created by the company Outdoor Resorts of America in the late 1960s.
We’ll drive through Herman Bay and several conveniently marked beaches and coves, and when we see broad canals with blue waters, several gravel roads that penetrate among the dense undergrowth on both sides of the road and large signs prohibiting trespassing, we’ll be approaching the Saint Lucie nuclear power plant.
The plant occupies about 25% of the land dedicated to the conservation of endangered sea turtles like the Loggerhead, the Green Sea Turtle and the Leatherbacks. At the other side of the Indian River is the Savannah State Preserve. Little by little we’ll be moving into Fort Pierce Beach, though for a few miles we’ll continue moving between protected natural areas such as Bear Point Cove and Blind Creek.
Later on we’ll see village houses with restaurants, hotels, marinas, shops and municipal parks along the beach. At the end of the island, the A1A turns left and is renamed Seaway Drive. In this case, we’ll follow it while having the Fort Pierce Inlet State Park on the other side and on the right the South Jetty Park.
This public space actually has a dock jutting out into the Atlantic and is frequented by amateur fishermen. Later, we will see the picturesque coast guard and then we’ll reach the Causeway Island which is also the home of the South Causeway Park, where we can find the Aquarium and the center of historical studies of Saint Lucie. From the top of the bridge the scenery is captivating. The coast of Fort Pierce, long sand lines and even shoals of moving fish can be seen below. Right here we will have completed the first half of our journey, though the trip to return will not be exactly the same.
In this second part we’ll return through the A1A south, but this time we’ll turn right to get to the Causeway Blvd immediately after crossing Martin county again. As we approach the bridge we’ll see numerous holes in the ground where we’ll find large crabs, very typical of these coastal areas. Across the titanic structure we’ll turn left by the Indian River Drive / CR 707 in Jensen Beach.
Read Patrick Dwyer’s A bike ride through Gatorland, a truly wild land