Sailfish Point’s Seawall “in the Sea”… St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

The seawall at Sailfish Point  right next to the ocean. 7-26-15. (Photo Ed Lippisch)
The seawall at Sailfish Point’s Dunes Condominium is right next to the ocean. St Lucie Inlet lies beyond this point by about a quarter-mile. 7-26-15. (Photo Ed Lippisch)

Yesterday afternoon, Ed and I had hoped to walk our dogs, Bo and Baron, to the St Lucie Inlet, but were cut off by an incoming tide and a Sailfish Point’s seawall. Having grown up  in Martin County, it is amazing to see such changes “right before my 50-year-old eyes…”

Of course when I was a kid there was no Sailfish Point development, no seawall, no apparent sea level rise, just the beach sun-flowered sand dunes and Bathtub Beach changing daily to the winds of time with the remnants of James Rand’s “Seminole Shores” development crumbling…

Today Sailfish Point is here. Its 625 homes are some of the most exclusive in the county. Built in the 1980’s it was developed by Mobile Oil Corporation. The area brings tremendous tax revenue to everyone and to every school in Martin County…if it washed into the sea there would be issues for all.
Sailfish Point: (http://www.sailfishpoint.com/martin-county/)

It must be noted that the St Lucie Inlet itself is responsible for some of this erosion…the inlet was opened permanently in 1892 by pioneers led by Captain Henry Sewall of Sewall’s Point. Naturally the inlet would open and close with tides and time. Opening the inlet permanently now defines our county, and we would not give it up;  but as all things in life: there are both positives and negatives to every action.

Today the waters of the ocean are encroaching….and time seems to be speeding up.

Building on barrier islands is not particularly long-term in that barrier islands are meant by nature to turn over on themselves like a conveyor belt. On the other hand, I have been to the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach and their seawall is right up to the historic hotel and has been for years….We stave off the ocean as long as we can. Much of Florida east coast is built on barrier islands…

What does the Bible say? “The wise man built his house upon a rock…”

Anyway….today I wanted to share Ed and my walk as it is symbolic of our times.

Google map showing Hutchinson Island with Sailfish Point south next to St Lucie Inlet. East is Atlantic Ocean and west is the Indian River Lagoon and Sewall's Point.
Google map showing Hutchinson Island showing St Lucie Inlet. Sailfish Point immediately north of inlet. East is Atlantic Ocean and west is the Indian River Lagoon and Sewall’s Point and St Lucie River.

Other than the surreal seawall and encroaching sea….there were many sea turtle nests, marked by the Fish and Wildlife Commission. Many turtles had laid their eggs right up against the seawall! Many of them! I counted at least 50 just in our short walk. Good for the turtles but it seems many nest are doomed to wash away… For thousands of years these turtles have returned to the beaches of their birth to lay eggs. Now many of them literally come up “against a wall.”

Turtle nest right up the seawall at Sailfish Point. 7-26-15.(Photo JTL)
Turtle nest right up the seawall at Sailfish Point. 7-26-15.(Photo JTL)
Turtle nest close to SP's seawall. (JTL)
Turtle nest close to SP’s seawall. (JTL)
Sea turtle nest. (JTL)
Sea turtle nest. (JTL)

I must mention that the people of Sailfish Point are also “up against a wall,” as they have to worry about their homes falling into the sea….Here one sees a sea wall repair taking place. I don’t think the sea wall is that old in the first place.

Home at Sailfish Point undergoing seawall repair. 7-16-15. (Photo JTL)
Home at Sailfish Point undergoing seawall repair. 7-26-15. (Photo JTL)
Ed looks inside sea wall being repaired. (Photo JTL)
Ed looks inside sea wall being repaired. (Photo JTL)

The most intense erosion seems to be the north area of Sailfish Point, closest to Bathtub Beach….and it is summer. This should be the time the ocean, sands and tides are most forgiving. Winter waves are much more brutal, unless there is a hurricane of course….

The other interesting anomaly Ed, Bo, and Baron and I experienced was the hundreds of sea hare mollusks that had washed up on shore. Ed Killer of TC Palm just wrote a great piece on these interesting, harmless creatures that scientists believe are washing ashore due to cold water upswells and algae shifts in the ocean–their swimming affected, they slow down and are carried to shore by the waves fated to dry out in the sun.

As Ed and I walked back I picked up as many as I could and threw them back into the ocean knowing that really I was only “buying them some time.” Chances are they will wash right back up on the shore. In the end, nature always wins. In time, we like the sea hares, will find this out , but until then it’s a great walk on the beach, isn’t it?

A sea rabbit that had washed ashore near Sailfish Point 7-26-15. (Photo Ed Lippisch)
One of hundreds of sea hare mollusks  that had washed ashore near Sailfish Point 7-26-15. (Photo Ed Lippisch)

Video of sea hare: (https://youtu.be/_Oa_xeM67p0)

Ed stands with Bo and Baron in front of the seawall at Sailfish Point looking towards the sea....(Photo JTL)
Ed stands with Bo and Baron in front of the seawall at Sailfish Point looking towards the sea….(Photo JTL)

 

Playing  fetch with Bo and Baron, (Photo JTL)
Playing fetch with Bo and Baron, (Photo JTL)
Jacqui and Ed, Bathtub Beach, Stuart, Florida. 2015.
Jacqui and Ed, near Bathtub Beach, Stuart, Florida. 2015. We had fun even though the beach is not what it used to be….

THIS ADDITION CAME IN FROM MY BROTHER TODD: AMAZING!

Jacqui–

Interesting blog post!

In the meantime I thought I would respond to your post with a rough video of Sailfish Point while eating my lunch…..

 

Here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TW8URTQG2o0&feature=youtu.be

(https://youtu.be/TW8URTQG2o0)
It is a movie of the following:
1. 1935 NOAA Chart – note the jetty already in place
2. 1940 Aerial
3. 1952 Aerial
4. 1968 Aerial – quick. I should have skipped it.
5. 1970 Aerial – note the old “Empire of the Ants” pier and the strange water slick to the south.
6. 1981 Aerial – showing the construction of Sailfish Point.

Look at these two screenshots of the beach just a few months apart late last year—-Todd Thurlow

Google image seawall is covered 8-12-14.
Google image seawall is covered 8-12-14.
Google image seawall is uncovered
Google image seawall is uncovered 12-2-14.

Sea Hares:(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aplysiomorpha)

Barrier Islands:(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barrier_island)

Human Causes of Coastal Erosion:(http://www.coastalwiki.org/wiki/Human_causes_of_coastal_erosion)

History of St Lucie Inlet jetty:(http://www.oceanscience.net/inletsonline/usa/doc/St._Lucie.htm)

8 thoughts on “Sailfish Point’s Seawall “in the Sea”… St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon

  1. There was a seawall.I had the same experience years ago.Someone told me they had built a seawall at Sailfish Point.I said that was impossible, we did not allow such seawalls.I went and looked.There it was.It seems that Rand built a seawall back when he dug the marina and built the pier.The fickle beach sand covered it up.Then, many many years later when everyone had forgotten it was there, the fickle beach sand uncovered it.I think it has been replaced since then, but there was a wall.You might check some of the old pictures Val Marten has.Maggy

    Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2015 12:38:12 +0000 To: mhurchalla@hotmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This video my brother just made to show how much Sailfish Point changes. Natural and man made. The inlet was first opened/altered in 1982 then later a jetty built in early 1900s. At one point in the aerial and historic map video Sailfish Point’s shoreline was back where the golf course is today! Then it “grows”….Crazy. The jetties cause the land to build up “accrete.” Homes at the shoreline could not have been built before as they would be literally in the ocean….
    Here it is: https://youtu.be/TW8URTQG2o0

    It is a movie of the following:
    1. 1935 NOAA Chart – note the jetty already in place
    2. 1940 Aerial
    3. 1952 Aerial
    4. 1968 Aerial – quick. I should have skipped it.
    5. 1970 Aerial – note the old “Empire of the Ants” pier and the strange water slick to the south.
    6. 1981 Aerial – showing the construction of Sailfish Point.

    Thank you Todd!

    Liked by 1 person

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