Tues. Nov. 30,2010 (Week 9, Day 57): Destination: Vero Beach (Mile 951.7) to Hobe Sound (Mile 1000) Departure: 0815 hrs. Arrival: 1610 hrs. Mileage: 48.3 SM Weather: wicked S & SSE winds & rain throughtout the night, at dawn a little more calm but rain continued on & off, partly sunny & partly cloudy with dark nasty clouds at times Winds: strong & gusty S & SSE winds 10-25K during night, S winds at dawn & during daytime as we motored along with the wind dead on the nose steadily increased 10K-->12K-->15-18K consistently.
Out of bed at 0615hrs. Unpleasant weather & winds predicted for next few days with a cold front approaching on Wed. eve & Thurs. when we listened to NOAA; do we leave or do we stay? At 0730 hrs. decision made to move on. Bill from ‘Momento Mori’ assisted us with our departure with ease. We passed by ‘Twomorrows’ who were staying today & Wed. but we will stay in contact & meet up in a few days. It is the midway point between the upper & lower sections of the Indian River (120 mi. in all) after Vero Beach Bridge. It was a straight stretch X 13 mi. to Fort Pierce, at which point the Indian River appears wide but actually the channel is narrow with shoals on each side; often many birds are seen walking on these shoals. About 1400 hrs. we were fighting the current (low tide) & crossing St. Lucie Inlet (Mile 987-990). Here is the intersection of the ICW, St. Lucie River & Mile 0 on the Okeechobee Waterway (inland passage from Florida east coast to Lake Okeechobee to west coast), therefore called “Crossroads”. This is also the beginning of the “Gold Coast” of Florida---Spanish Armada left Havana, Cuba bond for Spain carrying 14 million gold coins; on July 30, 1715 most of the fleet was lost as well as their gold coins when they were hit by a strong hurricane that threw them on reefs. South winds still honking about 15-18K as we passed Lake Peck (Mile 992.2) with several boats already at anchorage. On through Hobe Sound Bridge (Mile 995.9—bascule) to Hobe Sound hoping the wind will settle down & we can get some protection by tucking into the western shore. At anchor time the S winds were blowing 13-14K, blue skies & fluffy clouds; we turned west just before R44 & anchored in 8-9 ft. water with 100 ft. chain out. I called & talked to Mom & heard very briefly about her 3 week trip. Boat showers for the 2 of us. After sunset the winds & rain suddenly erupted & just as fast they came, they would be done; these waves of wind & rain happened all evening long; hatches & ports closed, then opened, then closed. Supper= pork chops, cob of corn shared & fresh vegetable medley stir fry. The night was still warm& muggy & surprisingly calm.
Wed. Dec. 1, 2010 (Week 9, Day 58): Happy Birthday Tina! Happy Travels in China, Brenda! Destination: Hobe Sound (Mile 1000) to Lantana (Mile 1031.1) Departure : 0745 hrs. Arrival: 1440 hrs. Mileage: 31.1 SM Weather: warm 71F, flat calm water on waking, sunny with few white clouds in am although T-storms predicted with the approach of the cold front; at anchor time the temp dropped & sky was grey Winds: S 5-10K but expected to go SW to NW; late am gusty W winds & at anchor time winds vassillated NNW to N.
We woke at 0630 hrs. to surprising calm waters. Anchor & chain came up clean. We had a series of 11 bridges to open today; some open on request while others are restricted to specific hours-->half hour or 1/4 after or 1/4 to the hour, thus timing was necessary to be time efficient. This also was the reason for a longer mileage day yesterday & less planned today. TIP: departure from this location best at ½ hrs. ie 0730 hrs. in order to make restricted opening of 3rd bridge, Indiantown Bridge (Mile 1006). After the PGA Bridge (Mile 1012) Graeme noticed the tachometer not working. We seemed to have wasted a lot of time not thinking we would make a bridge opening therefore slow down & arrive late for one opening & too early for the next--- poor time management. #2 Problem: electrical handheld remote windlass control did not work when the time came to anchor just SW of Lantana Bridge; I lowered the anchor manually via the windlass--- depth= 8.3 ft. & 80 ft. of chain. #3 Problem: on anchoring I noticed a large bolt on the lower bow roller sticking out & on removing the bolt, which simply needed to screw in, & the lower bow roller Graeme unaware of the bushing inside the roller & dropped it in the drink. #4 Problem: domestic batteries once again not charging. Time to problem solve: (1) turned engine off then turned it back on & tach now working; (2) checked the manual & the connections of the handheld; (3) Graeme checked the batteries & alternator (?combiner problem) & their connections & suddenly batteries charging; (4) a Graeme brainwave--- now that the domestic batteries are charging he checked the handheld remote & now working; yeh! Some info to keep in mind. At suppertime phoned Lee but had to leave a message, then phoned the Morrows--- will leave Vero on Fri. Lee shortly phoned back & explained that they were unable to receive us till Sat.; Tina having an Ikea party--- no problem. We should have called when we were still in Vero. Supper= ham & pineapple, potatoes/rice & fresh beans. Internet for a short time, then reading then bed at 2200 hrs. NNW winds consistently blew around 10K all eve & night; skies cleared.
ICW Waterway: Hobe Sound-->Jupiter Sound-->Jupiter Inlet to the E-->Loxahatchee River--> Lake Worth Creek
Thurs. Dec. 2, 2010 (Week 9, Day 59): Destination: (Mile 1031.1) to Lake Boca Raton (Mile 1047.8) Departure: 1130 hrs. Arrival: 1510 hrs. Mileage: 16.7 SM Weather: bright, sunny, no clouds in blue sky, a cool 54F (low) 70F (high) but comfortable Winds: N at 8-13K
No hurry to get up, no hurry to leave as Lee & Tina’s destination must wait till Sat. & not today; that was poor planning on my part as I should have called the Williams from Vero Beach for a convenient arrival date. A boat shower, breakfast & then Graeme took me to shore at 0900 hrs. to walk to the library (only 3 blocks west, on right side of road beside the P.O.). Unfortunately the library was not open till 1000 hrs., I could not connect to the internet from outside & once inside the library did not have WiFi (can you imagine, especially in this day & age & in Florida of all places!) I used their computer to contact my family & finally complete my nursing registration online. With less than 3 mins. till pickup time, I ran back to the floating dinghy dock for 1030 hrs. where Graeme was waiting . In the literature there is an 18 hour limit to anchoring here. The dinghy motor was up on it’s position on the pull pit, we were ready to go but discovered the domestic batteries not charging again, therefore the anchor windlass won’t work; Graeme turned engine off, checked all connections, turned engine on & batteries now charging---let’s go. We up anchored with the handheld & were ready to tackle more bridge openings, only 6 today. Lake Worth ends just north of Boynton Beach-Ocean Ave. Bridge (Mile 1035). The ICW is now a canal with concrete bulkheads on each side. We met ‘Artful Dodger’ & ‘Firecrest’ waiting at Atlantic Ave. for an opening; we travelled with them through the next 3 bridges, anchoring in a small anchorage at Lake Boca Raton (turned E north of G65 & running along the shoreline to anchor in the NE section; depth=8.3 ft. & 80 ft. chain. The 2 other boats milled around a bit till they anchored along the E shore; Pat did touch on a knoll on the edge approaching the center, a real no no. Pat, Karin & Dave came over for a social& we sited a manatee about 20 ft. to port. Supper= beef stir fry with rice. Internet with booster on & off; journal writing & reading. Evening & night was clear & calm, stars, sliver moon & N winds 8-10K decreasing to 5-8K. Bedtime 2230 hrs.
Fri. Dec. 3, 2010, (Week 9, Day 60): Destination: Lake Boca Raton (Mile 1047.8) to Lake Sylvia (Mile 1064.5) Departure: 0745 hrs. Arrival: 1130 hrs. Mileage: 16.3 SM Weather: sunny, blue skies & comfortable dry temp Winds: light & N
Slept through till 0615 hrs. & discovered that the domestic batteries not charging again. Breakfast, quick look & check with the voltmeter at the battery bank-->unsuccessful. Up anchored anyways by manually operating the windlass-->very tough especially until the anchor broke bottom. Now for the next series of bridge openings (9). We saw 3 manatees on port between the Camino Real & Hillsboro Blvd. Bridges, & caught up to ‘Artful’ & ‘Firecrest’ at the Atlantic Blvd. Bridge. After the last of the bridges for today, Las Olas, it was imperative to keep to the east shore on entering Lake Sylvia; large sailboat well over to starboard of us hit hard. Also there is a shoal about 6 ft. one must pass over hugging the east shore then turn immediately WSW into 10 ft. depth. There was already a few boats; we were glad we left early because by sunset the anchorage was jam packed. Pat came over ASAP & inspected the battery bank etc. & within ½ hrs. discovered a relay on the domestic battery malfunctioning. He proceeded to show Graeme how to bypass if required in the future. We ran the engine & the domestic batteries were charging; we need to find a few relays. With dinghy we motored under the low canal bridge, ducking our bodies low into the dinghy, crossed the ICW & up a channel to a park & dinghy dock beside the police station & then had a long walk to 15th & west to A1A or Hwy. 1 & 24th to a West Marine, Verizon, an automotive store, 2 marina places-->no relay. It was approaching sunset so time to head back to the boat. The tide was rising & so we took the 3rd canal north of the previous canal we had taken after crossing the ICW; this time we really had to duck down flat in the dinghy. An early supper (1800 hrs.)= sausage, potatoes & fresh beans. Pat dinghies over & invited us over to his boat to show & install my external hard drive & then a free wind/current program (Open CPN2) + very lovely photos of NFLD & his boat. It was way past everyone’s bedtime before be headed back home. Beautiful calm, clear night with stars, city lights, imparticular the Hyatt-->external elevator outlined in blue lights, circular pattern of lights around the perimeter & a candle pattern of lights with a flickering red flame.
Sat. Dec. 4, 2010 (Week 9, Day 61): Destination: Lake Sylvia (Mile 1064.5) to Mandarin Isle, South Fork new River (Mile 1068)-->Tina & Lee’s Departure: 1040 hrs. Arrival: 1220 hrs. Mileage: 3.5 SM Weather: warm & sunny, blue skies, T=74F Winds: nothing to speak of-->N
Up at 0700 hrs. Pat & company had already left for Miami (outside route) taking advantage of slack tide to easier get out of Port Everglades. Many boats in fact had moved on. Breakfast, boat shower, cleaning under a couple of floor board compartments & prep for beverage storage. A clean anchor when we up anchored. We slowly left Lake Sylvia hugging east shore again down to R12 & turning to R14. At the bifurcation on the New River, it is highly recommended to take marker ‘A’ to starboard when southbound. We continued south & west on the New River, meeting a few tourist boats & calling for the opening of a series of bridges through downtown Ft. Lauderdale. After Davey Blvd. Bridge we turned to port into the 5th canal= Mandarin Isle. There were many boats of various widths lining both sides of the canal. Lee met us & we rafted up to ‘In Sync’ (Endeavour 35). Lots of hugs, talk, snacks out on the patio on such a magnificent warm, sunny afternoon. We were introduced to Leelou, a 31/2 month Yorkshire Terrier--> how cute! Graeme did fuelling, Tina made bombay chicken with for supper while we chatted away; ice cream & alcohol+++ fruit medley for dessert. We saw fantastic photos of their June trip to the Exumas. A clear calm night & pleasantly cool. Bedtime about 2200 hrs.; slept well.
Sun. Dec. 5, 2010 (Week 9, Day 62): Destination: stay in Ft. Lauderdale at Tina & Lee’s Weather: sunny, warm & calm, but late pm cloudy Winds: calm am, W wind picked up significantly in pm but a calm evening
Slept till 0700 hrs. Tina had gone into work. After breakfast removed some meat from the freezer for prepping some meals ahead of time, garage maintenance + inventory, spoke to the Morrows. Lee kindly connected us up to the internet. Lee & Graeme went relay hunting & propane & diesel refilling shopping; unsuccessful with the relay & propane especially being a Sunday. I did emails, 3 loads of laundry & babysat Leelou. When Tina returned home from work we sat round kibitzing then took them out to dinner to ‘Bimini Boatyard’ as a thank you; certainly a lovely meal & a lovely evening. Lee drove around the tourist area close to Lake Sylvia which were nicely decorated for Christmas + an expensive home area close by. On returning home we had a nightcap& more chatting till 2130 hrs. then to bed. West wind had decreased & it remained calm with cloudy patches in the night sky. Lots still to do tomorrow with the arrival of the Hunts tomorrow evening.
Mon. Dec. 6, 2010 (Week 9, Day 63): Destination: stay in Ft. Lauderdale (Mile 1068) Weather: sunny & quite cool with a low of 50F last night & high today of 60F; overnight low 40’sF Winds: W & strong, probably 15-25K with gusts
Up at 0700 hrs. with a massive list of jobs to do today: Graeme-->relay, propane, wind gen blade removal (awaiting replacements; Laura-->prepare chicken marengo & pot of chili in am, haircut & shopping; I walked back to the house with a cart & backpack filled to the brim; I looked like a bag lady. Once home the shopping got put away, my hair washed, the V-berth prepared while the guys drove to Miami International Airport to pick up the Hunts. I prepared a tray of snacks awaiting Tina to come home from work & the rest of the gang. Tina prepared 4 different kinds of pizzas for supper. A evening of good food, lots of talk & laughs, lots of rum & wine & just a great time! It was very cool tonight-->heater; clear skies & stars.