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.      


  1. Take care on the rest of the ICW and your crossing. Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Visit Dervin on the 20th. Take care

  2. Glad you are safely across. Where will you be putting the Christmas tree?