Saturday, February 27, 2010

Back in Stuart - had great time in Miami

We just wanted a little privacy - There we are anchored next to Tiger Wood's yacht in Lake Worth.  We had an eventful trip from our Boca anchorage with all the bridges, lots of wind and knowing a storm was on it's way.  The storm hit around 10 AM ( earlier than predicted ). With the first lightning bolt Don made me go below.  He stayed out in the pouring rain chugging us up the waterway and I did my best to keep track of the next bridge and how fast we should go to hit the openings on time and not have to wait 1/2 hour for the next opening. We called ahead and asked one bridge tender to wait for us - we were about a minute late - doesn't sound like a lot of time but the bridges will not open other than scheduled and will not hold a bridge for a slower boat. We caught a break due to the horrendous weather and she said keep on coming - all of sudden our engine dies - we were out of fuel on that tank - Don yelled for me to come up and steer the boat, he jumped down the companion way, unlocked the ladder, opened the engine door - switched tanks and after a few cranks (turn of the key ) the engine started - we were at the bridge - went through no problems - whew !  A little exciting.  We contemplated trying to get to Stuart but heard on the radio they had a huge localized storm cell ( it hailed ) so we pulled into Lake Worth.  We were trying to position ourselves for the strong winds that were coming Wed. night - we pulled as close to the docks and condos as we dared and to still be out of their way.  After the anchor was down I looked at the largest boat on the dock - immediately recognized the name ! Only the yacht hands were aboard and had fun watching them fish off the back of the boat.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Heading north

Woke up to fog this morning after strong winds and rain yesterday - we are off - hoping to make ti to Boca tonight - hope to be tucked in Lake Worth when the next big winds hit Thursday as another cold - yes - wow - what a surprise - a cold front moves through ! ~ Lake Boca Mile ~ 1047.8 - 16 opening bridges today - 7:15 to 3:00 PM - lots of boat traffic - F. Lauderdale was a zoo with tugs, ships, tourist boats and fishing boats and of course cruisers . Stay on your toes ! We just couldn't luck out and get teh weather to go outside - there was no wind at all and by the time we got to Ft Lauderdale it came up to about 7 but from the north.  NOOA worng again !  This cell card of mine is great but works like dial up - frustrating at times - I'll try one more time to post photo but I got to get off my feet - long day in the sun. (grrr - in Stuart i will have wifi - stay tuned

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Life in Miami Beach

~Miami Beach - we have our shorts on !~Saturday was a beautiful day and now it's Sunday - we woke up to 66 degrees in the boat - yeah ! Finally tough listening to the weather this isn't going to last.  So we will stay in the moment. We took the bus to South beach yesterday and swam in the gorgeous water - it was a little cool but felt great - the beach was very crowded - the tourists have been chomping at the bit for a warm day. Don's foot and ankle are not doing well and a lot of walking here has only aggravated it.  The bus here is just 25 cents each way making it very easy to get around. This has been the most fun anchorage we have been in.  We are right behind Sunset Islands just north of the Venetian causeway which is just north of the Port of Miami inlet at South beach.
We take our dingy 5 minutes down the canal. Tie up behind the dry cleaners - right across from the funeral parlor ( I feel like a hobo ) and walk one block west to the new Plublix grocery. So food has been easy from here. Another block is a public park where we can fill water jugs. The bus stops right at Pulblix.  For laundry - we walk south 4 blocks (it's on 15th st for you sailors )  - again - easy.  I love the walk down Lincoln Blvd which is pedestrian only - shops and cafes for 10 city blocks east - then cross Collins and cross Washington and voila there is the gorgeous white sand beach with aqua green water.
 Carl and laura on Ekotopia are here with and this morning we find ourselves - the 2 boats - alone in this gorgeous spot. it's amazing how close we are to everything but it is quiet here - our neighbors are all waterfront houses -  we found out yesterday that Martina Navratilova is one of our closest neighbors.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Miami Beach

Well maybe we have moved here for the winter ! beautiful sunny day - cool - 54 in the boat this morning but that sun is shining bright. had a wonderful dinner with Carl and Laura and their friends from Sweden last night. Don and I  made home made spaghetti sauce - perfect winter supper - took it their (bigger) boat so all 6 of us could dine together.  I just knew Laura would be excited that we can walk to the beach - so off we go ! 5:00 PM - We a re back from a lazy day at the beach - it never warmed up enough to swim but ti was pleasant - Carl, Laura and their guests took off for the south beach by foot tour and we just read ,tried to stay out of the wind and watched the northerners try to pretend it was a warm beach day.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Happy Birthday Dad !

My father is 91 years young today ! Happy Birthday Dad - I like this photo though it doesn't show my father's face because we were in Maine- the place I dare say perhaps my father loves the most - he was born in Brewer but I also love it because I think the only time my father didn't carry a camera was when he was sailing !Here's another photo from the same day. And now here are some photos Dad of Sorrento I borrowed for you to help you dream of spring and perhaps a trip to Maine !

Monday, February 15, 2010

Visit from Sean and Joan

I'd love to be able to tell you Sean and Joan arrived and we went to the beach and sweated in the sun shine but we woke up yesterday to brisk cool winds and a temp of about 45 degrees.  None the less it was wonderful  to see my brother and sister in law  - given the came from Vermont they were happy enough just to be away.  We "did" the famous Coconut Grove Craft show with about 150,000 other people. What a scene - throngs of people en-mass flowing by the art booths. Very high end art - a few booths were so jammed packed you couldn't enter but many were completely empty as the crowd just slowly passed by.  Coconut Grove is funky - been a long time since I'd seen more than one head shop in a town - seems like the perfect place to come via Westfalia ! Actually we will be sailing down there later this week or next - we are going to move slow here for a few days no that our planned activities are over.  Dinner last night was wonderful at the Indian Creek Hotel - we didn't get to the hotel until about 6 - had a beer at the bar - that's when we remembered what a high holiday Valentines day is - they were full and white table clothed - the bartender was great and offered we could eat in the bar.  A little fancier than we had planned but delicious and it was a real treat to dine at a first class place - pizza is good and you can get really good pizza in Miami Beach but a nice lingering dinner is a lot fun with people you want to catch up with - Sean and Joan - thank you for the effort to detour to Miami Beach - we loved seeing you. And Sean thanks for all the driving - the traffic was heavy but we had a few sights along the way.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

We survived both the gale and the boat show!

Friday we decided to stay with the boat instead of going to the boat show - spent all day Saturday at the boat show  - some crazy stuff there.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Art & Sue ~ Trying to duck the storm that is a brewin'

We are fresh off a visi from Don's childhood bes friend Art and his wife Sue. They stayed at the Indian Creek Hotel in Miami for 2 nights while visiting us.  A really neat retro miami hotel if you know anyone looking to stay relatively cheap in Miami Beach - we'd recommend it.

We moved teh boat yesterday to get protection from the gale that is nearly upon us only to have to move it again early this morning. We awoke at 6:45 to hear our neighbor yelling to us - with no wind and the tide and current turning each boat a different way - we were too close to other boats.  Now the wind has come up - we are in our new anchorage in a canal and behind an island looking for maximum rotection. As I type the boat is being heeled by the wind, Don is talking to other boats who foolishly have come into the anchorage and are too close, 2 trawlers hooked together on one anchor. NOT a good idea with a gale.  Don and our neighbor already jumped on board a dragging boat - the wife was alone - the husband was a tthe boat show.  Most of us have decided not to leave our boats today due to the weather.

This adventure has only the rarest of dull moments - since we hit Miami there hasn't been one either on land or on the water !

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Now we're getting there !

~ mile 1079.7- Bakers Haulover Inlet - Oleta State Park - we are just outside of Miami on Superbowl Sunday and no way to watch the game. - we are in a pond just off the shore of theFlorida International University bay Vista Campus - very pretty here - we will head to Miami central today. This is another pond - nice green water - Don had to dive to clean the barnacles off our prop.  Lots of boats in here and very scenic. We will stop here for sure on our way back north. We once again thought we would go out the inlet - this one in Ft. lauderdale.  Wow ! As you approach the inlet things get very busy.  I had the binoculars out to look out to sea - didn't like at all what I was seeing - the wind this morning was already a lot stronger than all 3 of our research sources said it would be.  We could see the waves boiling out there so Don just stay in the ICW - I was busy with  he chart and trying to figure out the next bridge that would be in front of us.  Don suddenly said - "Marg - look up" Wow - wow -wow - they make these ships big ! This is really quite an experience navigating through these larger cities with all the pleasure and commercial traffic. Intimidating, exciting, nerve wracking and fun.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Ft. Ladeda

~ mile 1062.6- Coral Ridge yacht club, Ft Lauderdale ! Had a fun visit in Ft. Lauderdale - stayed one night in Sunrise Lake on the anchor and 2 nights at the Coral Ridge yacht Club with some of our closest friends on their 100 foot yachts !! That's the yacht club to the right - the pink building totally overshadowed by the yachts.  Friday night the wind blew about 25 knots all night - Don didn't sleep as is his job when we are on anchor and we are in a big blow - so we were tired and wishing to see our friends Ed and Brad who live in Ft. Lauderdale  - We also needed water and to have the toilet holding tanked  pumped. So we called the yacht club and asked them if they would allow us to tie up for 2 nights as we are also a member of a yacht club in Maine. They said yes so we had dockage for 1/2 the price we have found anywhere else in Ft. Lauderdale.  We were a little on the small side and just one of 2 sailboats in the whole place.  People were very nice and Tiller was happy for some shore time though it's so hard because we have to keep him tied all the time we are at the dock.  Saturday afternoon when Ed came to pick us up we couldn't believe how close were actually were to his house.  We would have loved to have stayed on the anchor in the free little pond next to the club but we would have not had any place to land our dingy as it was all private property around us. Don cooked us a fabulous shrimp dinner and once again wonderful to spend an evening with great friends. Dock time is also chore time.  WE cleaned the boat inside and out, hooked up our second anchor and much more.  Sunday morning we knabbed to strong guys because the way we pulled into the dock we really weren't sure we could get off without going into the boat next to us. I think you can see from the photo what I mean - it all went well and off to Miami.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I like my boats classic and my houses modern

~1062.6 Sun Rise Lake, Ft Lauderdale,FL - up at 6 again but plan was to continue inside passage to Ft. Lauderdale - 6 opening bridges - got through first one at 7:20 and arrived in Sunrise Lake around 10:40 - easy day except one bridge tender who didn't know southbound from northbound.  Usually the boats who have the current pushing them go through first - it's harder to control the boat than the ones going into the current.  She had 3 boats on the south side confused and 4 of us on the north side. Once again Don's boat handling got us out of some potential trouble as we powered up to go through and the motoryacht in front of us suddenly stopped as he realized the boats on the other side were coming through first.  It was great fun to see the houses along the way and joy that the water depths are deep all the way through.  So much of the ICW is tricky because of depths it was fun to not have that worry on our shoulders and enjoy the sites along the way.  There is no question the wealthy got a little out of control with the houses they built as they tore down modest ranch homes that used to line the waterway. I'm not sure what the next generation will do with all the square footage and how they will pay for it but it did make for an interesting day.  We were lucky as well that the weather was cool and partly cloudy- a week day so not a lot of boat traffic.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

On the move - not out to sea

~mile 1047.8 Lake Boca Raton, We left Stuart yesterday and got to Lake worth - we had to negotiate 7 opening bridges - a windy and cool day by Florida standards but it was a good one - good to be on the move again and there was not a lot of boat traffic.
Up this morning at 6 - it was windier than we thought it would be - back and forth trying to decide whether to go outside. We decided to do the bridges then we chatted with a larger sailboat who was also headed out to the ocean - he thought the predictions were good.  So off we went - We think it was around 8 AM when we went out the Lake Worth inlet - we could see him ahead of us and rolling and pitching. We kept going and were close to our right turn to stay close to shore and head south - the winds came up - the waves were around 5 ' and we were seeing 20 - 28 knots of wind.  Not for us as our weather sites told us that the winds would pick up over the day.  So around 9:15 we got to the first opening bridge of the day - 12 bridges later we are 29.4 miles farther south.  A long day - a lot of work but we were resigned to all the bridges and enjoyed the houses - Wow !!

The bridges are a lot of work - we are dealing with current, tide, other traffic - some bridges open on the hour or half hour , some open on signal. The bridges are from less than a mile to 4 miles apart so really tough to time. We occasionally had to wait 30 minutes at a bridge. Don did a great job of maneuvering the boat while waiting for the bridges - not easy - often we had to make a tight circle and head north again to not get to close to the bridge.  At the last bridge the current was unbelievable - the tide was going out and at the narrows of the bridge it was probably 3 knots.  There were large power boats waiting for the bridge to open  we tried to time it so we were right behind the large power vessel - the north bound boats pulled in to go through the bridge - normally the boats who have current pushing them go first - this made it extra tricky - a huge boat - 65 feet or so came north and as he did he left his wash under the bridge - waves going several directions. We had to power up so our engine was pushing us more than the current - to keep control - when the large boat got  out of the way we suddenly saw a party boat FULL of people - maybe 10 or 12 right in the middle under the bridge - we couldn't believe it. They didn't need an opening to get through - why they were there we have no clue - The boat was very low to the water. I ran up on the bow and yelled we couldn't stop - they pitched forward - the woman in the bow seat almost went overboard - she came all the way out of her seat. I was shouting at the driver to stay on the right side of the road so to speak - he was out of control and veered right into our path and across our bow - Don was in shock - he could see a collision just feet away and managed to pull our bow to port just enough that we missed them by a foot or less - we just couldn't believe it.  I was on the bow so could see the whole thing like a carnival ride - they swung to the left and to the right - pitched forward and sideways - they had taken on a huge amount of water - i have no clue how they did not capsize in our path - they followed us into the lake and stayed just a few feet behind - what part of this don't they get - by the time we turned the corner to look for our anchorage they were laughing. They have no clue how close they came to someone being very hurt.  Even though we are in a "ditch" we both are always on the alert - it's not easy moving a boat and in Florida we are dealing with more boat traffic than we have ever seen.  So it was a full day - off to Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow.