Sunday, January 5, 2014
Paul and Diane picked us up at Rob’s place at 0830 and drove us to Lighthouse Point where the AFEICA had been laid up since the trip down south. By the time we took some pictures and cast-off it was about 0930. So the adventure begins. The winds were out of the South at 17kts. The original plan was to head down to Miami and then over to Bimini in the Bahamas. “THE BEST LAID PLANS OF MICE AND MEN” well after clearing all of the bridges along the way to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, we then had to go outside in the ocean because there is one bridge that the rig is too tall to go under. Around noon we set out to travel outside and the wind had picked up to 23kts and the ocean was to rough so we turned around and went back into the ICW passed under another bridge to find an anchorage where we could spend the night. We spent the night anchored in a small cove between Dania Beach Boulevard Bridge and Sheridan Street Bridge on the ICW.
Monday, January 6
We were both awake at 0500 on Monday morning and thought what we would run to Bimini from Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami, the trip was a little longer but we could make it before the predicated gale force winds came up later in the evening. Raised the anchor and motored out of the anchorage and low and behold the tide was out. Oops! We had not taken that into consideration. That’s where I saw my first manatees, a cow and calf. Tried to get a picture. You cannot tell that that is what is in the water. They were a little far away. Finally, at 0930 the tide had come in enough that we could make the 1030 bridge and be on our way. By that time a decision was made that it was not such a good idea to head over the Gulf Stream given the predicated gale force winds. We arrived at Government Harbor Inlet in Miami Beach about 1300 and had to find an anchorage. We figured that given the weather report and the information in the Skipper Bob Guide that Fisher Island was not the place to be for the predicted weather forecast so we motored around to the MacArthur Causeway Bridge and found a mooring field opposite the Miami Yacht Club. Just as we set the anchor down around 1430 it started to spit. Brian was just ready to take dinner off of the grill about 1830 and the wind went to the North and started to howl. We put the hatch boards in had dinner and tucked in for the night. It rained off and on all night. Although, we understand from talking to Brian’s Mom and Rob Shore, that the weather back home is the worse you have seen in many years.
Tuesday, January 7
The day was rainy and cold. When we woke up the temperature in the main cabin was 64°F. Some of you may think that is not cold compared to home but remember we are at anchor and have no way to plug in and run a heater. We spent the day eating and reading and adding more layers to keep warm. We are waiting for the wind to change from the North and clock around to the South and or the West. The weather station says that that may happen Friday.
Wednesday, January 8
I will say that the day was a repeat of yesterday. It is so miserable that we can’t even think of taking the dinghy and going to explore South Beach. Brian had inflated the dinghy when we arrived on Monday just in case the might be a problem during the night. We feel sorry of all of the people on vacation in Florida the last 2 weeks. But after all it is winter here too.
Thursday, January 9
When I woke up this morning the aft cabin was a little warmer it was still raining. Really, is this a joke? Crawled out of the bunk Brian had the coffee ready. The wind has shifted somewhat and is now out of the NE. So here we sit.
The rain stopped long enough so we hopped in the dinghy and headed for Miami Yacht Club for a shower. Only $16.50+ for a shower. (Sarcasm) The MYC is nothing to write home about. It is a dump. It is a gated property and there is no access to get out of the area on foot. It also houses the Miami Police Marine Division. Sorry, didn’t see Lt. Horatio Kane. About 1600 we decided that we would go to top up the fuel tanks. The only place around was Miami Beach Marina. It was $4.85 a gal. for diesel. It is about a 2 hour return ride, due to the fact that the north channel is restricted when there are cruise ships in the harbor. On our way back to the anchorage we had the company of a couple of dolphins. They didn’t stick around long enough for me to get a picture. It was then I discovered that the camera had crapped out. Damn it! We made a decision that we were leaving this anchorage in the morning and heading further south about 10km. We have been here long enough.
Friday, January 10
We left the anchorage off of Miami Yacht Club between MacArthur Bridge and Venetian Causeway around 0900. Our destination was either No Name Harbor or Hurricane Harbor on Key Biscayne. We were able to sail for about 2-3 nautical miles south. Winds were out of the SE 12-15kn. Arrived here in No Name Harbor around 1100 where we thought we would put the anchor down inside the harbor instead of outside. Brian went to the bow to drop the anchor and I was at the helm. I looked behind and I saw that we were very close to a huge boulder, yikes! I yelled at Brian and by the time I looked around again my rock was moving. It was a large manatee! There are 25+ boats of all size and shape, power and sail waiting to cross the Gulf Stream. No Name Harbor is in a Florida State Park. Dockage fees are on your honour at $20.00 overnight. There is a small building just off the breakwall that has a washer and dryer and outdoor fresh cold water shower for the boaters. We are sitting in a Bar and Restaurant in a State Park. Who knew that there was such a thing? Sun is finally shining and it is finally warm, like I thought it should be, low 80’s. We will leave at day break tomorrow, Saturday.
Saturday, January 11
We were up this morning at 0500 and by 0600 we were underway, sunrise isn’t for another hour. Winds were out of the SE at 12-15kn. According to the weather channel they were supposed to switch to SW. 49km to cross to Bimini. Two other boats decided that they would cross with us. One boat from Saugatuck, MI called Cloud 9, a Catalina 42 and the other from Hawkestone, ON called CS’ta Time, a CS 36. After 2 hours of taking waves over the bow and no sign of the wind shifting we contacted the other 2 boats on the VHF. We all decided that we had been beaten up enough and that at the speed we were going it would have been another 14+ hours to cross. We turned back to where we came from. At 0800 we rolled out the jib and the boat seemed to settle down. On our return trip we heard a transmission on the VHF that Ken and Jeanne on Sail Away were trying to reach us. Their friends on the boat Wind Dancer were anchored in No Name Harbor and waiting to cross the Gulf Stream too. Brian threw a line in the water and just before we were ready to start the engine he got a bite. He landed a 3-4 lb. Amberjack. According to the fishing guide they a good eating. Fish for supper. Arrived back at No Name Harbor at 1000. Anchor down, no boulders today. Brian processed the fish and then went to talk to the people on Wind Dancer, Ann and Rob. The consensus is to cross tonight a 2200. There will be 7 or 8 boats leaving at the same time. Winds are supposed to be out of the SW. We have now been in south Florida 2 weeks.
**Note: Time stamp on the pictures is EDT