Friday, December 14, 2012

Week 11: Dec. 12-18, 2012 (Day 71-77)

Week 11:
Wed. Dec. 12, 2012—Day 71:
Destination:  Alice Town, North Bimini
Winds:  SE 12-15K in am, diminishing to about 10K in pm
Weather:  mostly cloudy in am, sunny & warm & most pleasant comfortable temps (breeze)            
We didn’t get Chris’ SSB broadcast at 0600 hrs. but his 0630 hrs.; our weather window has closed & a northern blow was to arrive near midnight Thurs. through Fri. & weakening Sat.  With the delay of our crossing from Florida we now do not have time to move from Bimini to an anchorage with enough northern protection.  We compared notes with our dock neighbours this am, Gail & Eric Grehan ‘Viking’s Dream’ (52 ft. Jefferson trawler) from Winnipeg, Man.  There is a possibility of gale force winds from the SW on Tues. Dec. 18.  We thought of leaving Bimini Sun., cross from North Rocks north of Bimini to the Great Bahamas Banks toward Great Bullock Harbour the 1st night, for an apparent calm night on the Banks, then hunker down Mon. night on the NE side of Great Harbour Cay for Tues. blow.  So I guess we have no choice but to stay here, therefore Graeme hooked up to electricity ($10.00/ day); good time to charge everything.  We will monitor Chris Parker, NOAA & if possible Weather Passage & Wind Alert.  Housekeeping duties filled the rest of the morning, then some internet soon after lunch as I was able to hook to the unsecured line from Sea Crest Hotel &/or WiFi in adjacent marina.  We walked to the south end of North Bimini.  It was low tide & some sea glass & old shells of different sizes washed up in the sand.  We walked along the upper/beach road along the west side of the island (Radio Beach) overlooking the Straits of Florida that we had just crossed yesterday towards the north to Bailey Town, then back the lower road on the east side.  That evening we watched fishermen from Sea Crest next door cutting, skinning, filleting & packaging their catches of the day, ie mahi mahi, wahoo, tuna.  The sky was a lovely colour at sunset.  We chatted to Gail & Eric till dark, learning about their background & family.  A well received shower after a late supper.  Internet connection was O.K. so I continued working till late.  The SE winds about 10K continued & the sky was clear with a considerable number of stars.  Christmas lights decorated some of the buildings.

Thurs. Dec. 13, 2012—Day 72:   
Destination:  Alice Town, Bimini
Winds:  S 5K in am, suddenly N mid afternoon gusting to 15-20K
Weather:  brilliant sun, blue skies & few fair weather white clouds & very warm; suddenly mid afternoon dark clouds from SW that seemed they would miss us, but also with a sudden change in wind direction & strength from the north, the clouds passed over the island & brought some rain

We were unable to get Chris at 0600 hrs. but a fair reception at 0630 hrs. & poor reception for the NOAA report.  After breakfast the canvass windows & the stainless got a soap & water bath.  ‘Viking’s Dream’ had to be moved into a slip across the dock from us; JR, a very knowledgeable skillful dock hand, directed the operation.  Shortly thereafter a 100 ft. fuel boat arrived taking up the full length of the fuel dock; the fueling went on for hours & the boat stayed dockside overnight.  Some internet till early pm then a walk to the hardware store for 2 small hose clamps, then to the beach for laying on the beach reading in the sun (low tide).  Suddenly at 1500 hrs. the wall of ominous black clouds descended quickly upon us with a equally sudden change in wind direction from SSW to W to N & strength as well (10-15-20K).  We briefly looked at Passage Weather & Wind Alert on the internet.  Spurts of fine misty rain then finally a good rain to wash some of the salt off the decks, but still warm as we sat in the cockpit watching the weather change, reading & even having supper for a change in the cockpit.  We both worked away at the internet as each took their turn taking a shower.  Cloudy at sundown & during the night with north winds blowing +/- 15K. 

Fri. Dec. 14, 2012—Day 73:
Destination:  Alice Town, Bimini
Winds:  N to NNE to NE 12-20K
Weather:  mostly sunny with a few clouds, much less humid 

Candy Cane Parade

The alarm rang for us to get up to listen to 0630 hrs. SSB weather, but Chris came in rather poorly today; don’t know if it was from interference because the fuel boat was still beside us.  It appeared that we are here till Sunday & also a change of plans necessary as per location for the next blow Tues. through Thurs.  A refreshing breeze today as I had a long powerwalk (nearly 1-1/2 hrs.) as far north of North Bimini as possible, through Bailey Town, Porgy Bay & Bimini Bay along the east shore road.  Here a new, high end, exclusive Bimini Bay Resort & Marina resides; it is still under construction with only a couple of small powerboats in the 300 slips.  My return route was via the upper west beach road.  High tide was till 1040 hrs. & it was rough out on the Straits of Florida with waves breaking & crashing on shore.  Some blog writing in order this morning.  After lunch just as we were about to start our walk, the Christian Academy's Candy Cane Parade passed; school children handed out candy cane to those of us bystanders.  We then walked to the close RBC Bank using the ATM, then to the beach for some reading on the sand, in the sun, watching & listening to the crashing waves; now low tide.  Happy Hour was on ‘Viking’s Dream’ (1999) starting with a tour of course; we firmed up plans on departure if weather conditions remain status quo. The hours zoomed by.  There was a brief rain shower while preparing supper.  Supper, shower & internet with Bahamian music in the background; after all it was a Friday night.  A dark night, clear skies with stars.

Sat. Dec. 15, 2012—Day 74:  
Destination:  Alice Town, N. Bimini
Winds:  ENE to E 10-15K
Weather:  mostly cloudy with short sunny periods, frequent rain showers in am; partly cloudy & sunny in pm

A fairly decent reception of Chris’ 0630 hrs. SSB broadcast; no great weather or chance for those waiting in Florida to cross to the Bahamas until later Sun. & Mon. eg ‘Moma Cal’ & ‘Kathrian’.  And for us, tomorrow looked O.K. to leave Bimini, but winds predicted to be east, right on the nose.  But we have to move as another system is coming Tues. pm., worse on Wed. with a possible move on Thurs.  The frequent morning rain showers helped clean more of the salt from the decks & window enclosure.  I shook the rug & mats & washed the floor, changed the bed linen (but who knows when I will have reasonable costing laundry facilities) & washed the walls etc. of the V-berth.  I worked away at some emails & composed our Christmas Letter to family & friends & sent it off, then studied Passage Weather & Wind Alert.  We found some discrepancy in the forecast for Tues. through Thurs.; according to the 2 mentioned sites all O.K. for those days, but 30K predicted starting noon Fri. Dec. 21.  We will need to reassess.  We ordered some cinnamon swirl bread with raisins from Nate of Charlie’s Bread & Bakery (Bailey Town just below the R.C. Church-$6.00) from the marina office & it was delivered while we walked to the liquor store & RBC ATM.  The marina was having problems with their generator that makes R/O water (reverse osmosis).  We walked for about 2 hours all the way to Bimini Bay Resort & Marina, passing a quartered off area before & after the police & admin. offices for the Children’s Christmas Party.  We walked all about checking out the facilities, bumping into Gail & Eric & stopping for a drink at the bar; expensive & still the place was empty despite being a weekend.  By the time we returned the marina had made about 10 gal. of R/O water for us, the amount Graeme thought would fill the tank; we squeezed 12 gal. out of the system ($7.20).  We were not sure what the next few days will bring.  Soup only for supper, checked Passage Weather & Wind Alert sites again, then showered.  A clear starry night sky. 

Sun. Dec. 16, 2012—Day 75:
Destination:  N. Bimini to Great Bahama Bank (25o29.079N/ 078o32.940W)
Departure:  0735 hrs.                           Arrival:  1615 hrs.                                 Distance:  56.74 NM
Winds:  S 10K --> ESE to E 8-18K-->E to SE 12-15K                               Seas:  1-2 ft. to 4 ft.
Weather:  clouds to the north, blue sky to the E; early pm clouds arrived from SE

N. Bimini Beach--Hoping to see more of this!
East winds picked up at bedtime last night, creating a choppy, rolling action of the boat as it was tied up at a north-south facing slip, which did settle down.  Near 0400 hrs. I woke to near calmness, then a sudden east gust & brief rain shower (small squall).  Breakfast was followed by a quick shower.  All things below were stashed away, we unplugged from shorepower & untied from the dock with Eric’s assistance.  We motored up the near unmarked channel we arrived by 6 days ago, against current (high tide = 1104 hrs.).  The knotmeter was not working, an indication we were in one place for too long; it was cleaned & functioning again.  We headed south past Turtle Rocks via the Straits of Florida (50 ft. depths) towards Triangle Rocks, then turned SSE onto the Great Bahama Bank (8-13 ft. depths)& it’s brilliant aqua coloured water.  The jenny was set but at times it was difficult keeping it working; we even moved the jenny lines inside the 2 port stays for a period of time.  Early afternoon the clouds increased from the SE & winds increased.  In the distance we could see ‘Viking’s Dream” behind us but gaining ground.  She was equipped with radar & all the bells & whistles, so was able to hail us & warn us of some rainstorm cells in the NE that passed us by.  There were some very interesting cloud formations today & I don’t know that we were going to be that lucky all night.  We anchored in the middle of nowhere it seemed in 15 ft. & 130 ft. chain; no land within sight, about 5 mi. west of Russell Light.  We had hoped to reach Russell Light & better yet the shoal just north of NW Shoal.  It was a lumpy night to say the least; the seas did not lay down but instead increased.  Grey clouds were all around except to the west; there was a clear band of sky just above the horizon & a beautiful sunset with red skies that illuminated the clouds above.  For a couple of days now I had been experiencing a non normal/ tenderness around my chipped tooth area --> ? inflammation; I took Ibuprofen + Gravol 50 mg. more so for sleep with these choppy seas & did sleep well.  The wind generator was turned on after the engine was switched off & it worked all night long.  The seas did calm down at some point.

Mon.  Dec. 17, 2012—Day 76:
Destination:  Great Bahama Bank to Frazer’s Hog Cay, Berry Islands (25o25.337N/ 77o50.134W)
Departure:  0730 hrs.                       Arrival:  1425 hrs.                                   Distance:  about 42 NM
Winds:  SSE 10Kà SE 5-12K                 Seas:  0-1ft.à 2ft. some 3 ft.
Weather:  partly sunny & cloudy am; brilliant sunshine in pm

At some point during the night the seas calmed.  We caught C.P. at 0630 hrs. during breakfast.  My tooth was about the same, but took Ibuprofen X2 + applied Sensodyne Toothpaste around the tooth; for this reason we have planned one night in Frazer’s Hog Cay, then to Nassau where it there would be more possibility for treatment.  We motorsailed with the jenny maintaining 5.7 – 6.0K on a close reach to beam reach.  No light, beacon or stick indicating Russell Light or NW Shoal.  We entered the NW Providence Channel by 1100 hrs.; such a different & calm, comfortable, pleasant experience than 2 yrs. ago.  We went from aqua coloured water to cobalt/ indigo blue.  The winds shifted a few degrees so we were able to sail more off the wind & with a bit more strength, although the seas increased a wee bit; a few slammers every once in a while.  Past Chubb Cay we entered the unmarked channel into Frazer’s Hog Cay against current but with good 9 ft.+ depths & picked up a mooring ball of the now bankrupt/out-of-business Berry Island Marina.  We checked the ball, all the lines & linkages & all seemed in good shape.  There was one other sailboat & ‘Viking’s Dream’ on mooring balls + 2 sailboats in slips of the marina.  I called & made reservations at Nassau Harbour Club Hotel & Marina  for tomorrow & asked for a recommendation for a dentist (Dr. Marlene Sawyer (242) 328-1726).  A nice sunset squeaked in & dropped behind Chubb Cay in a band of clear red sky just above the horizon to a line of overhead clouds that litterly gave us drops of rain.  Graeme & I both got an abundance of sun the last 2 days & needed a shower in the worst way.  A splendid night, dark, clear skies filled with stars+++ & a bowl shaped moon.   

Chubb & Frazer’s Hog Cays are part of the chain of 30 large islands = numerous small cays that make up the Berry Islands.  These islands lie on the NE edge of the Great Bahama Bank  & stretch about 30 mi. from Great Stirrup Cay to the north & Chubb Cay to the south.  They are bounded NE by the NW Providence Channel & south by the Tongue of the Ocean.  The west is shoal.  The Berry’s are known for their beautiful anchorages & excellent fishing.  The population is <1000, Great Harbour Cay is the largest island & most populated.
Tues. Dec. 18, 2012—Day 77:
Destination:  Frazer’s Hog Cay to Nassau, New Providence
Departure:  0715 hrs.                          Arrival:  1315 hrs.                                 Distance:  34 NM
Winds:  SW 10-14K
Weather:  mostly sunny, few cloudy periods & quite warm

Welcome to Nassau with Atlantis in background!

A calm, restful night & good reception for CP in the morning.  We said our goodbyes & thanks to Gail & Eric on our departure, as they were off to West Bay, then Highbourne Cay & Staniel Cay X 1 mon. (mostly Feb.) before heading to Georgetown for March.  We headed to Nassau hoping to see a dentist; also a good opportunity to do laundry & maybe purchase some fresh fruit & vegetables.  It was a beam reach; can’t ask for anything better than that!  We motorcruised along at 6.4- 6.9K under jenny alone.  As we were getting closer to Nassau we heard lots of transmissions of boats asking Nassau Harbour Control for permission to enter harbour.  Six miles out we asked & received our permission but slowed down to allow a large cruise ship entrance & ability to turn stern in.  I phoned the recommended dentist by the marina yesterday but not available (? accident) & was given the Dental Clinic  (Dr. Jill Sawyer) & number; the dentist was not in today & open tomorrow & all appointments full but could come in as a walk-in at 1000 hrs. & wait.  We were hailed by Merrill Mant (Ambition) from Montreal, whom we met on our first trip to the Bahamas in 2008-09.  He was moving from Rose Island to Nassau Harbour Club Marina, the same marina we have reservations.  Three Canadian boats arrived at the same time but the staff were quick & efficient in handling our arrivals.  A quick hello with Merrill & his new girlfriend Maryse, then we registered at the marina office & learnt of a dental office across the street in the Harbour Bay Shopping Center.  A shower, 3 loads of laundry washed & into 2 dryers, then to the shopping center complex.  We located the dentist office as described & they were so good in accommodating me for 0830 hrs. the next morning ($150.00 for consultation including xrays).  The laundry was not dry, so 2 more tokens purchased (Total= 3 washers+ 4 dryers X $3.00= $21.00!).  Merrill & Maryse brought a bottle of chilled champagne in celebration of our meeting; we chatted away catching up on news out in the cockpit & did not even pay any attention to the sunset.  We gathered the laundry before our very late supper.  A warm night, gentle breeze, mostly clear sky with stars & 1/3 moon. Oh, just as I was closing my computer down, a wonderful firework display came from Paradise Island.       

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Week 10: Dec. 5-11, 2012 (Day 64-70)

Week 10:
Wed. Dec. 5, 2012—Day 64:
Destination:  Fort Lauderdale, Cooley’s (Mile 1067)
Winds:  light & hard to detect the direction due to the tall buildings & funnel effect
Weather:  mostly cloudy early am with a small shower, then mostly sunny & warm, H= upper 70’s & L= upper 60’s

Jungle Queen

We were all busy beavers right after breakfast & a short powerwalk for me.  First order of the day the 3 guys helping each other pump out their heads extremely well.  I thoroughly washed the enclosure windows with soap & water; the deck, cockpit & transom were scrubbed & even the ICW yellow stain on the transom was eliminated with wood bleach (oxalic acid).  Graeme retied the #2 anchor, which I must have moved when cleaning the stainless a few days ago so the chain locker hatch did not open fully & he walked to BB&T bank + scrubbed all the cockpit cushions & paid for today’s stay in the pm.  Approaching noon Lee arrived with Christine, Mark, Logan (11 yrs. old) & Cole (9 yrs. old) Fiechter (‘Truansea’) from Idaho.  Lee helped them find their Hunter Legend 37 & bring it up to comfortable cruising condition.  They have similar plans to winter in the Bahamas & would like to cross with us.  There is a weather window for tomorrow & Fri. to move to South Beach, Miami.  Do we stay 1 more day or go?  I would like to stay just 1 more day to relax & cycle around Lauderdale for a few hours & oh, post week 9 with pics of my blog.   The rugs got a beating & vacuuming, the floors were vacuumed & the floor boards were lifted & wiped & vacuumed, even the edges of each floor board compartment with a toothbrush & vacuum.  It took less than 30 min. but Bill & I cycled to the Walgreens for him to buy ice.   Off for well needed showers before supper.  Terri & Bill hosted movie night after supper, “The Outlaws”—terrific.  A mostly cloudy night. 

Thurs. Dec. 6, 2012—Day 62:
Destination:  Fort Lauderdale, Cooley’s (Mile 1067)
Winds: light, ? southerly trend
Weather:  cloudy with sunny periods, then sunny with cloudy periods, warm, H= upper 70’s & L= 70

Surrounded with buildings like this on the New River
A number of mornings now whether at anchor or marina, I have enjoyed having my breakfast in my PJs in the cockpit.  I went off for a powerwalk X 1 hrs. east along Las Olas Blvd. then on my way home in & out, up & down streets until I was able to get on the Riverwalk.  Graeme called Mark & Christine Fiechter & made arrangements for tomorrow’s departure.  Lee arrived just as I had torn ½ the aft cabin & bed boards apart.  He & Graeme chatted away as I vacuumed, washed down the walls & storage area listening & once in a while adding comments to the conversation, then stored the wine boxes & warm weather clothes I hope not to have to use & some of the road maps under the bed boards, then rearranged the mattress & all the other crap “that must be there & easily accessible”.  Finally a great shower.  Terri & Bill returned after noon with their car rental.  Lee left to say goodbye to the Fiechters but will see all of us off tomorrow as we leave Fort Lauderdale via Port Everglades Inlet.  Five of us piled into the car rental  Bill chauffered  us to West Marine, Sailor Man & Boat Owners Warehouse, where I bought I fishing rod!  Then it was off to Target & ABC Liquors.  It was already 1615 hrs.; we rushed back to pay our extra day marina stay & Bill graciously drove Graeme to a nearby gas station to fill his diesel jerry cans X 3 after emptying them into the boat tank.  We had our get –together on ‘Twomorrows’; we planned our leave soon after 0900 hrs. in accordance with the bridge opening restrictions (closed 0730- 0900 & 1630-1800 hrs.).  A late supper & internet till late in the comfort station.  No moon as the quarter moon was only visible during the morning hours.  A mix of clear & partial cloudy skies.

Fri. Dec. 7, 2012—Day 66:
Destination:  Fort Lauderdale (1067) to Miami Beach, Venetian Causeway south of Belle Isle (Mile 1088.4)
Departure:  0910 hrs.                                 Arrival:  1600 hrs.                             Distance:  21.4 SM
Winds:  SE 6-12K
Weather:  sunny, clouds in the periphery & hot, H=80F & L= 70’s

Bye!  Bye!
We had our last land shower for a while, the last go at internet for ? who knows.  What a pleasant surprise; Lee arrived & helped us off the dock as we were saying goodbye to Terri & Bill.  With their car rental they will be driving home Dec. 16, meeting their new granddaughter who will be hopefully home from the hospital by then & return on the 28th to recommence their sail adventure.  The current seemed outbound but not a big factor after all when we backed out of the slip.  The restricted opening of the bridges were over at 0900 hrs. & now opened on request; it was an easy going as there was no traffic in the opposite direction.  From the New River into the ICW within the channel, heavily favouring the green side the keel hit & scrapped hard on the bottom. ? damage, checked the compartment where the keep bolts are located & all was dry. We met ‘Truansea’ north of the bridge as planned waiting for the 1000 hrs. opening of the 17th Ave. Bridge (bascule- 56 ft.) leading out to Port Everglades Inlet.  Lee drove to the marina & saw the 3 of us off, ‘Twomorrows’, ‘Truansea’ & ‘Sweet Chariot Too’.  We met a huge cargo ship at the mouth of the inlet & to port of the entrance was an obvious sailing race.  I think I have been in the protected waters too long; we had to reacquaint ourselves to the pitching up & slamming down action on the waves directly on our bow.  The 2-3 footers with a mix of whitecrested 4-6 footers made us feel like a miniscule cork bobbling along in a vast body of water.  The deck, dodger, windows of every direction were all drenched in salt water.  So much for the hours & hours of meticulous cleaning.  At first we headed further from shore to see if it was calmer, but not & in fact we hit the Gulf Stream, another factor against us & our boat speed was only 3.5K.  The Gulf Stream was < than 3 miles from shore.  Mark suggested we change our direction to toward the shore, out of the Stream & our boat speed increased (5.5K)- a good decision even with the waves crashing the port bow, leaving the shoreline of Lauderdale & travelling along the shoreline of Miami, lined with miles of skyscrapers.  We turned into Miami Government Cut, past Fisher & Lummus Islands & directed south of Dodge Island & the Port of Miami, away from the cruise ships, as the Main Channel was closed.  Then through the channel markers, turning to starboard, under the MacArthur Causeway (fixed-65 ft.), to starboard just before the Venetian Causeway, through some shallow water, past Flagler Memorial Monument Island to a suitable anchoring spot to the east avoiding a cable & pipeline area; we milled around for a bit locating that suitable spot as there already were enough boats anchored.  As we came into Government Cut the sky filled with threatening clouds that dissipated; we welcomed a good rain to clean off the salt from our once pristine boats.  As darkness approached, the lights of the city, many which include Christmas lights even on the cranes, light up the partially cloudy sky. 

Every kind of boat activity you can imagine in Port Everglades  Inlet

Sat. Dec. 8, 2012—Day 67:
Destination:  South Beach, Miami Beach (Mile 1088.4)
Winds:  didn’t pay any attention
Weather:  partly sunny & cloudy, hot & humid, H= 82F & L=74F

Collins Canal
Doing laundry outdoors on Collins Canal
‘Truansea’ decided to move down to No Name Harbor, Key Biscayne & likely cross to Bimini tomorrow; there seems to be a good & lengthy window with SE to ESE 9-14K winds till Wed.  On our way to shore at about 0930 hrs. we went & said our goodbyes to them.  Lynn’s meds finally arrived late yesterday at Cooley’s Landing Marina (Fort Lauderdale) & arrangements were organized that Terri & Bill would drive them down today, a 30 min. drive from Lauderdale, for the price of lunch at “Burgers & Brew”, corner of Bay St. & 18th Ave. at 1300 hrs.  We dinghied to Collins Canal which has a new wall on the northern side from below water up & a small but new dinghy dock across the street from the old Publix on Dade Blvd. (new spectacular Publix on Bay St.).  We walked along Dade Blvd. to Meridian, home of Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center & Holocaust Memorial to Miami Beach Convention Hall (Art/Basel Show), to the BB&T Bank (corner of 17th Ave. & Michigan), Lincoln Road Mall (pedestrians only), TD Bank (east end of mall at Washington), Botanical Gardens (Convention Center Dr. & Dade Blvd.) & then lunch meeting time.  Afterwards we wished Terri & Bill a Merry Christmas & Happy New Year & dinghied east the rest of the way up Collins Canal then north on Indian Creek to just past Arthur Godfrey Rd.  Indian Creek to the east runs parallel to Indian Creek Dr. (1way south) & Collins Ave. (2 way traffic), home of highrise hotels eg. Fountainbleau & apartments/condos & to the west, homes line the canal.  On our way home we stopped at old Publix, well stocked & busy today.  We dropped in on Lynn & Larry & watched the cruise ships leave & at dusk the colourful lights of the buildings in Miami (mainland).  I did some prepatory reading for passage across to the Bahamas & we checked in with NOAA weather on VHF; we hope the weather window remains good through Wed. as predicted.  A partly cloudy sky after a slightly orangey sunset through a break in heavy, rain threatening clouds to the west.

Sun. Dec. 9, 2012—Day 68:      
Destination:  Miami Beach (Mile 1088.4)
Winds: S 5-10K
Weather:  sunny with occasional cloudy period, hot & humid, H= 84F & L= 72

Iguanas+++ along Collins Canal & Indian Creek
It was quite warm during the night & already at sunrise, making one feel very lethargic.  At about 1000 hrs. we took the dinghy for a couple hours exploring Biscayne Waterway to Surprise Lake, then into Indian Creek & returning via Collins Canal tour we had done yesterday; it was hot.  We tied the dinghy up at the old Publix dock & walked along Meridian to Lincoln Rd. Mall, then east towards the TD Bank on Washington, as Graeme wanted to check  a discrepancy he noted on his transaction record from yesterday; the bank itself was open but the teller stated he would have to call Customer Service.  A couple of detours: (1) Tesla car store, totally electric car, $57,000 US; the young lady was very informative & also employed at Apple Store & answered some of Graeme’s questions & directed us to #2 detour, huge Kilwin’s ice cream cone each (lunch), (3) AT&T Store that do not sell unlocked MiFi, but did see the unit available from ($30.00) with no contract, just month to month plan at $50.00 for 5 GB.  We walked down Washington to 22nd Ave. & located the library, then along the walking path adjacent to the south side of Collins Canal to our dinghy.  Graeme phoned Scotiabank Customer Service & everything in order, but did recommend transactions via Bank of America (no user fee).  Prior to supper, we discussed plans, winds & weather for the next few days with Lynn & Larry.  It was decided to check NOAA in the am as well as Chris Parker at 0630 hrs., do our last land projects, then move down to Crandon Park for fuel in the pm & anchor in No Name Harbor.  0300 hrs. departure across to Bimini planned for Tues.  A lovely sunset behind the tall highrises & skyscrapers of the shoreline of Miami (mainland).  A mostly clear sky with a few clouds, stars.

Mon. Dec. 10, 2012—Day 69:
Destination:  Miami Beach (Mile 1088.4) to outside of Hurricane Harbor (Mile 1095)
Departure:  1350 hrs.                           Arrival:  1530 hrs.                                   Distance: 6.6 SM
Winds:  SE 10-12K
Weather:  partially sunny with dark clouds especially to west where a storm was quidkly advancing apparently up by West Palm Beach, hot & humid, H= 83F & L=70

Miami Proper
Last minute tasks were planned ASAP this am as we plan to cross in the wee hours of the morning.  Our weather window was diminishing with each passing day.  Larry listened to Chris Parker at 0630 hrs. re his report re the Bahamas weather.  We listened to NOAA & tried for Chris’ 0900 hrs. Florida report but nil.  We emptied 1 water jerry can & 1 diesel can into the boat tanks.  So our first trip to shore was to refill them & get rid of our garbage; water at the police marine dock & diesel at the Shell, just passed the 1st bridge on Collins Canal but before & opposite side of the canal from the Publix dock.  2nd trip was to the new Publix on Bay St.  We went & said our goodbyes to Larry, but Lynn was sleeping & gave them the small Christmas package we put together rather quickly.  As we were going our separate ways for a bit, I was unable to wish Larry a Merry Christmas as I choked up as I did not know how long “for a bit” might be.  Once the dinghy & motor were lifted & tied down, we up anchored & motored out to rejoin the ICW at R50 & G57.  Under the Richenbecker Bridge & Virginia Key, we passed Crandon Park Marina, run by the City of Miami, at the northern end of Key Biscayne.  We anchored past G3 on the south end of Key Biscayne up by shore before entering Hurricane Harbor anchorage; 15 ft. water & 100 ft. chain.  I tried to use my US cell (Tracfone) to make a reservation in Bimini but no service to the Bahamas; I phoned Larry re our arrival & requested he make our reservation to Bimini Blue Water Marina for us.  We dropped the dinghy & scooted to Hurricane Harbor Marina (private) but unable to sell us any fuel.  Onto Crandon Park Marina, a long distance made longer by having to clear the shallow water of West Point.  We got back just in time to light our anchor light & lift the dinghy & motor again, this time strapping it down for our crossing to the Bahamas.  Very unpleasant sky & clouds over the mainland.  I called Mom re our crossing tomorrow & also received a call from Maureen.  And wouldn’t you know it, I lost part of a tooth.  Partially clear & cloudy skies above, a few stars & bright lights from the shores of Miami, Dinner Key & Coral Gables on the mainland.  There was only 1 sailboat anchored with us; I wondered how many boats were inside the Hurricane Harbor anchorage or in No Name Harbor.  How many boats will be crossing when we leave at 0300 hrs.?

Tues. Dec. 11, 2012—Day 70:
Destination:  Hurricane Harbor (Mile 1095) to North Bimini, Bahamas
Departure:  0630 hrs.--> see below       Arrival:  1510 hrs.                             Distance:  50+ SM
Winds:  S 8-11K increased to 10-14K
Weather:  heavy rain clouds above us, clearer skies appeared to south & east, warm & muggy

No Name Harbor Lighthouse

Meet Auto Helm-- the best, easiest, non demanding  driver!
Bahamas at last!
A roller coaster ride of emotions!  Do we go or not?  We woke at the pre-planned time of 0200 hrs.; the wind generator was whirling away good.  Winds were SE-S.  NOAA weather alert repeatedly announced of high winds, lightning & thunder when we turned VHF 01 on.  Winds at Fowey Rock were registering 23K; lightning in the clouds all around us.  We decided to delay our departure.  We slept till 0400 hrs. but weather alert still in affect; winds at Fowey Rock decreased to 17K; calm at the anchorage but winds light & now from N to NW.  Confusing, NOT good direction now for a crossing; what gives?  Is the incoming tide having this affect?  
Delayed again; slept.  At 0500 hrs. no weather alert, no more lightning, calm, SSE direction to winds returned & light  & NOAA weather report was unchanged; the other sailboat anchored beside us was gone.  We tried Chris Parker (weather guru in this area + Bahamas) on our portable SSB at 0600 hrs. but nothing; I believe the batteries were too low.  A small breakfast & we decided to test the waters; if not favourable we would return.  We exited via the Florida Channel hugging the shore, pushing against a ½ to 1K current; sighted several boats in No Name Harbor.  Barely 2 NM from shore & we were already in the Gulf Stream.  The water temps were 80 to 84.7F; we were pushing a 2K current the entire time (Gulf Stream was to assist).  Winds were south at 12K when we set the jenny & cruised along at 6.2-6.9K on a broad reach & 7- 7.2K for the last 2 hours. when the winds increased to 10-14K; 2-4 ft. seas with an occasional bigger roller & increased the latter part of the route.  We were pointing higher than need be for our waypoint so were able to ease sails near the end.  Outside the channel we tried hailing the marina on both VHF 16 & 68 but heard no reply to switch to 71.  Cautiously & very slowly we entered the new R & G not numbered markers at low tide & seeing there were no other markers visually guided ourselves until R8 which also welcomed boaters to Alice Town, North Bimini.  We located the marina, hailed them but saw no one; a Canadian transient happened to come out his motor yacht & ran to get the 1 & only staff.  We chose the side & slip we wanted, into the wind, but made a very poor entrance.  Quarantine flag up, papers filled in, to Immigration first to the south of the marina (100 days then offered to call supervisor & received 160 days), then new Customs Office now located close to Bimini Big Game Resort & Yacht Club ($300.00).  We bought a Bahamian phone; $50.00 basic Samsung + $20.00 SIM card + $5.00 minutes card to activate the phone + $20.00 of additional minutes = $100.00.  We paid for a one night stay for now $1.00/ ft. ($36.00); water is $0.60/ gallon, electricity= $10.00/ day & WiFi= $10.00 for length of stay.  I first phoned Mom that we crossed successfully, thanking her for her prayers, then Larry who had moved to Crandon Park Marina into a slip ($0.65/ ft. with electricity, shower & laundry facilities, gas, diesel & pumpout + mooring field ? cost).  Lightning seen to the NW.  After supper a nice feeling shower.  We both were feeling very tired but need to wake early in the morning to hear Chris Parker at 0630 hrs. to make our next big decision as the weather is deteriorating in a day.      

Week 9: Nov. 30-Dec. 4, 2012 (Day 57-63)

Week 9:

Wed. Nov. 28, 2012—Day 57:

Destination:  Vero Beach (Mile 951.7) to Hobe Sound (Mile 999)

Departure:  0730 hrs.                            Arrival:  1445 hrs.                                    Distance: 47.3 SM

Winds:  N, directly from our stern, gradually increasing 8K to 15-20K

Weather:  light cloud cover but sun visible, warm, H= mid 70’s & L= lower 60’s; night sky variable cloudy & clear patches

A Result of Hurricane Sandy?
I can’t believe we spent a week in Vero; I enjoyed every minute of our stay.  ‘Second Option’ & ourselves slid off the mooring ball with ease.  ‘Twomorrows’ waited to see if Lynn’s meds arrived at noon; if so they may move to Ft. Pierce; if not, more phone calls & possibly re-ordering the meds & have them shipped to Cooley’s Marina in Fort Lauderdale.  We cleared the Ft. Pierce North Bridge (bascule-Mile 964.7 at about 0930 hrs.  The water suddenly became so clean & turquoise coloured.  Shortly thereafter we were hailed by Merrill (Ambition) whom we had met 5 yrs. ago; they were approaching Vero & pressing on trying to get to Stuart X 3-5 days to reprovision, for parts & meeting friends.  It was a falling high tide about noontime as we approached St. Lucie Inlet at 7.5K; down to 5.5K past the inlet along the St. Lucie State Park.  A sailboat was on shore on the west side of the ICW across from Peck Lake with a shredded jenny.   I started cleaning & polishing the stainless but didn’t get very far as we had to request an opening of the Hobe Sound Bridge (bascule-Mile 995.9) & shortly were anchoring between R38 & R40.  The north winds had piped up to 15-20K, pushing us against the current & whitecaps; this was not an ideal anchorage for this wind direction.  We put down 100 ft. chain in 8 ft. water.  There were some pretty nasty looking black clouds to the NE of us quickly moving south.  We talked to Terri & Bill once they had anchored & learnt that Lynn’s meds arrived; hurray!  They will meet us in Lake Worth tomorrow.  We have only short distances to travel for the next few days but nevertheless planned an 0730 hrs. start in order to hopefully maximize tomorrow’s 6 bridge openings.  I made reservations for Cooley’s Marina, part of the Fort Lauderdale Municipal Marinas for Dec. 3 & 4.  The winds remained variable as did the sky with full clouds that swiftly moved on alternating with clear patches when the full moon was visible.

Someone has my money here in Vero!
Thurs. Nov. 29, 2012—Day 58:
Destination:  Hobe Sound (Mile 999) to Lake Worth (Mile 1018.4)
Departure:  0725 hrs.                                 Arrival:  1220 hrs.                                     Distance: 19.4 SM
Winds:  E to NE 12-20K, whitecaps in wide open waters
Weather:  mainly sunny with some clouds both white & grey during the day, brief rain showers late pm, clouds evening & night

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
A warm night, kicking off the duvet & many layers of bed linen & near 80F temp forecasted for today.  We started our trek toward the 1st of 6 bascule bridge openings located just past Jupiter Inlet.  Despite repeated dredging Jupiter Inlet is in constant flux & not recommended as a safe passage route.  We turned west past the red brick Jupiter Lighthouse perched on a hilltop.  Since 1860 it’s French lens gazes to the east.  We passed through the 1st & 2nd bridges by 0830 hrs. into the lower Loxahatcee River for a short distance, turning south on the Lake Worth Creek, making the 0900 hrs. opening of the Indiantown Road Bridge.  We were too early for it’s opening, then at the time of opening too far away by about 2-3 mins.; the bridge tender was verbally annoyed.  This loss of time cost us as we were 1-2 min. late for the Donald Ross Bridge; also it didn’t help when the bridge tender opened the bridge 1 min. early.  So we milled around for 30 mins. (1000 hrs.).  We had no problems with the last 2 bridges (1030 & 1045 hrs.).  We now were out into North Palm Beach & upper Lake Worth; I once again did not get to see/try the anchorage in North Palm Beach.  With a 18+K east wind we unfurled ¼ of the jenny & motorsailed on a beam reach at a speed of 7.5K only a short distance, until the Riviera Beach Bridge (fixed).  We passed the west side of Peanut Island & followed the ICW channel, turning to port between R4 & R6, anchoring twice; 1st time too deep (20 ft.) & 2nd time way too far from Riviera Marina’s dinghy dock.  There is a large area of mooring balls now & none of my literature mentions this.  My notes from trip #1 were at home; Trip #2 southbound we did not stop, but returning to the mainland from the Bahamas my notes were not very detailed as to anchoring location.  We motored up the non ICW east channel of Lake Worth & anchored west of R6 (8 ft. water & 80 ft. chain); when I took a closer look late, this is the exact suggested location in Active Captain & Skipper Bob’s instructions. There was lots of room, few boats in the entire mooring & anchoring area & decent protection from the east winds.  Bill & I ventured to Riviera Marina very slowly, fighting an east wind & 1-2 ft. chop that was travelling NE to SW; we just got a little wet.  We discovered all the waterfront was under construction & refit of many harbours.  We explained the purpose of our dinghy landing to show Bill the location of the Customs, Border & Homeland Security (CBHS) Building & they waived the usual $10.00 dinghy fee & a staff member drove us the distance by golf cart.  In the meantime Graeme had talked to Larry on the VHF & they were on their way; ETA about 1645 hrs.  The clouds rolled in & a few brief rain showers during the evening; patchy cloudy periods obscuring the full moon & clear periods throughout the night.

Fri. Nov. 30, 2012—Day 59:
Destination:  Lake Worth (Mile 1018.4)
Winds:  NE 8-10K à 15-20K
Weather:  sunny with cloudy periods to clouds late pm, clear & patchy clouds throughout the night

Pelicans are taking over Riviera Marina 
A warm night; winds at times howling & sometimes rocking ‘n rolling the boat from side to side but slept well anyway.  About 0830 hrs. we dinghied to shore without getting wet by going up the east shore, along the southern shore of Peanut Island & across to Riviera Marina.  We paid our $10.60 dinghy fee.  Ellis’ walked to CBHS & we tried to take showers but the water had just been turned off X 1 hr. due to harbour reconstruction.  Instead we did internet X 1 hr., watched the numerous pelicans flying in & out & then our showers.  Larry dinghied to shore & successfully renewed both his & Lynn’s local boating option cards so when returning to Florida from the Bahamas they just have to phone in.  Bill was also successful in acquiring his, but was unable to include Terri in his application & appointment.  She needed to file ONLINE ONLY & also make an appointment ONLINE ONLY despite the office was not busy.  After being assured they could get an afternoon appointment & after getting online to make this appointment, there were no available appointments for today.  Such bureaucratic carp!  Now this will have to be done in Ft. Lauderdale or Miami.  Instead of waiting around we walked down to Boat Owners Warehouse & a marine store across the street.  We went ahead & had lunch (expensive) at the Tiki Bar without the Ellis’ not knowing their final dilemma + getting soaked dinghying home.  They had up anchored & motored to the marina for a pumpout, fuel & water.  We all dinghied over to ‘Twomorrows’ for a social; we even witnessed fish jumping up at least 2 ft. out of the water & the Lake Worth police at work, catching a powerboater speeding.  NE winds continued to gust up & down.  We reactivated the wind generator X 2 days now, after the adjustments Graeme had been instructed to do; seems better in that there was less vibration.  And the wind generator has been getting it’s work out with all this wind.  A slight pink sky at sunset.  Night sky continued to fluctuate from cloud to clear over & over again.

Sat. Dec. 1, 2012—Day 60:  
Destination:  Lake Worth (Mile 1018.4) Boca Raton (Mile 1047.8)
Departure:  0655 hrs.                           Arrival:  1240 hrs.                                          Distance:  29.4 SM
Winds:  NE 10-15K
Weather:  sunny skies & intermittent clouds, H= 80F & L= 70F

Our route today
A good sleep again despite some howling winds & rolling action.  A near full moon still in the western sky well into the morning hours.  Warm temp, warm breeze, light to nil chop & still quiet with only a few boats in the anchorage compared to our past experiences in this location.  The mooring field seems to be confined to the middle section of lower Lake Worth between G3 & G3A.  We had 11 bridge openings before reaching our planned destination.  The distance to #1 bridge in the literature appeared to be wrong & we could have made the 0715 hrs. opening.  We observed a nice anchorage between bridges #1 & #2, both NW of R14 & E of R14, with public docks on the west shore; good depths where boats anchored, yet not in any of the literature the 3 of us have.  Royal Park Bridge (#2 bridge) was nearly 3 min. late for it’s opening (walker on the bridge) but Southern Bridge (#3) kindly had a late opening which we made after much haste.  SE of this bridge is Whitehall, home of Henry Flagler.  His granddaughter & a dedicated group bought the old home & partially restored it & now it is open to visitors.  Lake Ave. Bridge (#4) changed from on request to ¼ to & ¼ after the hour as of May 2012, most likely because of the following bridge under construction.  Lantana Bridge (#5) was under construction & ? becoming a fixed bridge.  The rest of the bridges were fine & our timing was good as well.  Only 1 problem, because it was such a glorious day & a Saturday & locals started making their appearance about 1100 hrs., we had some wahoos & their annoying big wakes with their powerboats; where were the police?!  I phoned Mom & maybe that was why I ended up having a really melancholy day; my confinement on the boat & lack of physical activity & exercise was a real issue today.  ‘Makana’ (boat we met in Georgetown, S.C.) caught up to us & over the VHF we caught up with news; they were going to Las Olas today & eventually to Marathon & flying home to Pennsylvania for Christmas.  The ICW follows lower Lake Worth from West Palm Beach to Boynton Beach, then through mostly a man-made almost continuous concrete canal.  One town flows into another without any obvious break.  Lush, elegant, rich , luxurious are only a few adjectives that can be used to describe many communities along this route.  Wealth oozes from every side; sequestered mansions worth millions, high rise hotels & condos with mini luxury motor liners lining every waterfront home & marinas & yacht club. We then passed through Delray Beach, a quaint island that was settled in 1906 by industrious Japanese immigrants, who planted pineapples first,  then many types of winter vegetables.  This area was called Yamato County.  It flourished until WW II when prejudice against the Japanese immigrants halted farming abruptly.  History of the area is displayed in the Morihami Museum.  We saw a lot of new construction of large homes & lots of homes already decorated for Christmas along this section of the ICW; one wonders how all this is possible in light of the condition of the economy.  Boca Raton anchorage was a busy spot today with numerous local powerboaters here for the day.  There was room though for all of us to anchor.  The afternoon was spent cleaning the stainless steel in the sun in a bathing suit.  By sunset the local day trippers had left, the winds picked up & more of a gusting pattern & the sky was orangey pink.  Scattered clouds, too many city lights but few stars visible through the clear patches.  Near 2200 hrs. we had a fireworks show.

West Palm Beach Highrises from ICW

Sun. Dec. 2, 2012—Day 61: 
Destination:  Boca Raton (Mile 1047.8)
Winds:  NE 8-15K & gusty
Weather:  sunny, warm & some clouds; 1 grey cloud that gave us about 10 drops of rain, H=80F & L=70F

Boca Raton Inlet
Yesterday we broke a cardinal rule of travelling in Florida on a weekend & with all the “hotdogs” out.  But not today; we stayed put & besides we are cheap skates that want to anchor rather than pay the hefty prices at a Lauderdale marina.  Also we were not sure & did not want to take a chance & move to find there was no anchoring space in Lake Sylvia, our only real other possibility.  It was a very pleasant, quiet day with only 4 sailboats in the anchorage till early pm when the day trippers arrived.  Mid morning we took our dinghies around exploring the shoreline of the anchorage looking for a place to tie up & walk & maybe even stop for a drink, but nothing.  We checked Boca Raton Inlet; huge waves from the Atlantic breaking & rolling in this difficult inlet.  The Coast Guard Auxiliary was conducting maneuvers in Boca Raton.  The police frequented the anchorage; they stopped us & asked if we had life jackets, which we had to produce.  This was a good opportunity to clean the water line of the hull while we were still in the dinghy.  After lunch in a bathing suit I worked on the stainless on the stern X 1 hr.  We collected on ‘Twomorrows’, watched a 50 ft. + Fleming motor yacht trying to anchor (at least 4 times) till the sun was soon to disappear.  We lifted the dinghy & engine in preparation for an early morning departure.  Christmas lights on homes & palms fronting condos that seem near empty.  We thought that these are peoples 2nd  or winter home & they have not arrived yet for their winter stay.  We were really pleased with the new addition of our solar panels; they recharge our batteries fully with ease.  We only use the wind generator early in the am before sunrise & after sunset when windy, but they’re are not nearly as efficient as solar.  Patchy clear skies & heavy clouds at sunset; pale orangey hue.  The persistent northerly wind blowing, gusting & howling at times & bringing both clear & cloudy skies through the night.

Boca Raton Palms light up
Mon. Dec. 3, 2012—Day 62:
Destination: Boca Raton (Mile 1047.8) to Fort Lauderdale, Cooley’s Landing Marina (Mile 1067)
Departure:  0730 hrs.                               Arrival:  1200 hrs.                               Distance:  19.2 SM
Winds:  ENE 10-15K & gusty
Weather: mainly sunny with clouds, both fair weather & rain threatening type, warm. 

Christmas along New River, Ft. Lauderdale
SW 7th Ave. Bridge
When  up anchoring, a tangled fishing line including the hook + a small piece of plastic bag was caught up in the chain; required a sharp knife. Twelve bridge openings today before we arrived at Cooley’s Landing Marina at mandatory slack tide;  high tide was 1142 hrs., therefore slack tide = ½ hrs. before & ½ hr. after.  We saw a full manatee while waiting for the 1st bridge opening at 0740 hrs.  All our bridge timings & openings went like clockwork as we made our way to Fort Lauderdale.  Nearly 300 mi. of canals, channels, & waterways make their way through Fort Lauderdale, hence it’s nickname “Yachting Capital of the World”.  Lauderdale lies about half way between Palm Beaches & Miami.  The New River & it’s tributaries cut through the center of town with artificial side canals everywhere.  Hence the marine industry ranks 2nd to tourism with most boating amenities & services concentrated in 3 areas: (1) ICW, (2) New River running off to the west & (3) Dania Cut-off Canal.  Fort Lauderdale is an important commercial harbour as well due to it’s straight, deep inlet at Port Everglades which forms an excellent big ship terminal & commercial port.   At “RG-A” we followed the markers into the New River & soon were totally immersed into residential homes & highrises of downtown.  With boats & yachts tied on each side, we crept around wending twists & turns of this narrow canal, passed unexpectedly & unannounced by the water taxi, met huge motor yachts & the Jungle Queen travelling in opposite direction to us & even a huge motor yacht under tow in opposing direction at the SW 7th Ave. Bridge.  Thankfully the last 4 bridges  (SE 3rd Ave., Andrews Ave., FEC & SW 7th Ave.) opened on request.  Cooley’s Landing Marina was immediately to starboard after SW 7th Ave. Bridge.  Despite slack tide, the gusting winds, at times 30K funneling around the tall buildings, had us badly miss our slip; we backed out down past the marina until all boats in both directions made the bridge opening.  On our 2nd attempt we approached slip #25 with a 90 degree turn & our starboard bow once again thrusted against a dolphin & dock.  We were finally successful on the 3rd attempt.  ‘Twomorrows’ easily slipped into dock #16, farthest from the comfort station.  ‘Second Option’ took a much greater angle & was more successful getting into slip #24, just as a manatee was swimming across.  Afterwards Terri admitted how terrified she was coming around the tight twists of the canal with blind bends, meeting other boats & suddenly upon a bascule bridge that fortunately we, the lead boat, had opened; she was shaking for a while afterwards.  Bill too said how anxious he felt.  One has to experience it to real understand.  It is very unnerving for your first time.  And what made matters worse was the chatter on VHF 09 which was particularly  loud, non-stop & irritating when trying to maneuver in such close quarters & communicate with the bridges we needed opened.  A few drinks & conversation & then a welcomed walk to “Briny Irish Pub” on Riverwalk for dinner; Larry & Lynn arrived stylishly by dinghy.  Afterwards Tina, Lee & Lelu came to the boat for a visit.  The sound of vehicle tires travelling over the steel grate of the bridge died down some & did not hamper our sleep.   Fresh northerly winds continued through the night.  The sky remained partially clear & cloudy.

Blinky Irish Pub on New River Riverwalk, Ft. Lauderdale

Tues. Dec. 4, 2012—Day 63:
Destination:  Fort Lauderdale, Cooley’s (Mile 1067)
Winds:  northerly, about 5-10K
Weather:  mostly cloudy, some sunny periods, brief periods of rain, (20% chance predicted), warm, H= 79F & L=65F

FEC Railroad Bridge in operation
New River in the downtown center of Ft. Lauderdale
The main projects of the day were: (1) defrost & clean the freezer & fridge, (2) laundry X 3 loads, & (3) engine oil change.  There were more jobs to be done but not today; a long list for tomorrow.  Already 1300 hrs. & I grabbed a salad for lunch, then Terri, Bill Graeme & I walked along the New River Riverwalk, saw a train cross the FEC Bridge & stopped for a brew on the way to Publix Grocery Store via Andrew Ave. Bridge; that’s the way to do shopping!  We hustled back as we thought we were going to get rained upon as the sky was black to the south.  The groceries & the laundry were put away & fresh linen on the bed.  Once again we all gathered on ‘Twomorrows’ & chatted+++; at one point Larry started chuckling, his shoulder shaking up & down & in a semi loud voice announced what a crazy, verbose group we were & if he wanted to say something, he would hardly find space in the conversation to jump in; we howled.  A small supper at 2000 hrs. then to the comfort station for a few hours to do internet; even Graeme brought his own laptop & worked away long after I was finished; better than sleeping all evening which is his norm.  The car & boat traffic decreased.  One sailboat passed through SW 7th Ave. Bridge with lights strung from deck to the top of the mast like a Christmas tree.  Rainy periods during the night.

A Christmas decorated sailboat motoring along New River