Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Miami Beach, then eastbound!

Today dawned calm and sunny, so we shed the mooring ball in Las Olas, fueled up at Lauderdale Marina and headed out Port Everglades on an ebb tide making 8 knots. The Atlantic had 1-2 foot swells and winds were 5-10 from the northwest. We made Government Cut into Miami after 3 hours of motoring, and headed for Dinner Key in Coconut Grove. The guidebook author described the anchorage there as “full of bum boats” and man he wasn’t kidding. Besides no room and shallow water, there wasn’t anything wrong with it that the correct application of high explosives couldn’t take care of. So we left, and backtracked under the Rickenbacker Causeway, and under 3 more bridges before heading east to Miami Beach next to the Venetian Causeway. This is an excellent anchorage, so we’re lucky that Dinner Key didn’t work out. All it cost us was an extra 2 hours of motoring. We’re on the north side of Belle Isle with the Collins Canal just around the corner. The Collins Canal is about 50 feet wide and cuts right through Miami Beach. It is a dinghy superhighway, passing under major roads with stores on both sides. Publics Supermarket is 7 minutes down the canal from us. I’ve never seen anything like it.

While Kathy and Rachel took care of schoolwork I headed for Publics and some minor shopping. There is a cable next to the canal across the street for locking up dinghies. After shopping I left the parking lot with a cart full of groceries. At the edge of the street, the front right wheel of the cart “broke” and I had to retreat out of traffic. The wheel had a plastic cover over it, rendering it unusable. So I did a wheelie with the front wheels in the air and crossed the street. Another dinghy driver said she’d never seen that done before. I replied that the front wheel broke and she responded that no, there is a security device that locks the wheel if you try to leave the parking lot with the cart. I had never heard of such a thing. What are the poor homeless folks going to do now?

Tonight is calm, cool, bugless, and beautiful with the surrounding lights of Miami. We’ll be here a few days provisioning for the jump to Bimini. The weather won’t be conducive for the trip until Sunday at the earliest anyway. The Gulf Stream reportedly has 6-12 foot seas due to the north winds of late. 5 foot seas are pretty uncomfortable, so you do the math!

After leaving Lantana, our last report, we lucked into a transient slip at the city marina in Delray Beach. Kathy calls it the best kept secret in Florida. It’s small, but has all the facilities we need, and only 50 bucks a night. In retrospect, we should have stayed there longer and done our provisioning there. But Miami Beach will work out.

Then we stayed in Lake Sylvia in Ft. Lauderdale since our old favorite, Las Olas was full. We were in the Lake for 2 nights before a mooring opened up at Las Olas, so we spent a night there before the weather settled down enough to head into the Atlantic. The Atlantic run was necessary for us due to the 55 foot Julia Tuttle bridge just coming into Miami on the ICW which we can’t fit under with our 63 foot mast.

Two other Hunter owners are among many of the sailors here preparing to “cross over”, including OB and Linda on their Passage 450 (same as ours) and David and his family (including a couple of girls about Rachel’s age!) on a 466 (the aft cockpit version of our boat). When the time comes we’ll be in good company.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sailing and Rafting

Cruising with GW

We anchored in Lantana last night just before the rain started. It has also rained most of the day today so we stayed here rather than moving on to Las Olas. This is a protected bight with about 7 other boats seeking protection from the storm. Apparently there is an 18 hour limit before the police charge $30. We don’t know how the police pull their cruiser up to the boat to charge us, nor have we had any visitors. So maybe we’ll get out of here in the morning before that happens. This is a good law though, in that we have trouble getting a decent anchorage with all the derelict boats taking up the prime spots. So in these crowded areas, having a law which keeps the anchorage open to transient cruisers works to our advantage.

We had a wonderful sail from Vero Beach to Jensen Beach with GW Meadows on his recently purchased Irwin 38. He rafted up with us in Vero on the mooring, Kathy fixed shish-k-bob, then we had a pleasant sail the next day. GW can send photos and text to his blog directly from his cell phone, no computer necessary. He took some nice shots which are ready for your viewing pleasure at http://crossingmeadows.blogspot.com/

Tacky Joe’s restaurant just off our bow has a wifi connection, so I’ll dinghy Whitefoot ashore while the rain has stopped and send this off to the blog.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cruising with GW

GW rafted up with us last night here in Vero Beach. He's on his recently purchased Irwin 38. It's a beautiful boat with all the bells and whistles. We'll travel together today, headed south, then he'll turn around and head home since he needs to be home this weekend.

I spent a day cleaning filters and working on the dinghy engine so everything should be in ship-shape again.

Rachel needs to get on-line for school work so this will have to be short. Our verizon internet access has not been working so we are on the marina pay per use program for 30 minutes.

See ya later!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Southbound through St. Augustine

Stardust rocked from passing fishermen this morning at our anchorage just north of St Augustine on the ICW. That’s right, we’ve left Jacksonville and are headed south again! Yesterday was a marvelous day to depart with light winds, warm temps and sunny skies.

We had to wait for a rising tide nearing full in order to get out of the shallow harbor of Palm Cove Marina. They desperately need to dredge the whole marina. Stardust would lightly sit on the bottom at the slip during low tide. As I discovered while cleaning the hull with my dive gear, the bottom was a very fine mud which I could stick my arm into up to the elbow without even feeling it. So it didn’t matter that Stardust sat on the bottom. I cleaned the hull during high tide so there was room to move under the boat without stirring up the mud too bad. There weren’t too many barnacles, so the bottom paint is doing it’s job. The prop shaft zinc was almost gone due to the marina’s stray electric current in water, so I replaced that as well.

The forecast is for seas exceeding 5 feet for the next week, so it looks like we’ll be confined to the ICW as much as we would like to get out in the ocean and sail. But it will be fun to cover familiar territory including anchorages we have used before.