Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Ports, Inlets and the Deep Blue Sea

Roughly three in the AM; slightly more than 15 hours into the jump from Vero Beech to Port Everglades (Ft. Lauderdale). There are no other boats around. Deb and I had agreed that there was a good enough weather window opening Sunday that should last until Tuesday late afternoon. That meant a 48 hour stretch to get rough 25 hours worth of "going" done. We were the only ones of the Vero Beech cruiser tribe who thought so, then again, they are all headed for the Islands while the Keys wait for us.

The roughly 22 nm from Vero to the Fort Pierce inlet gave some promise that this, our second outside jump, would be at least as good as the first. If nothing else it was warm, with another full moon and clear skies thrown in as parting gifts. As promised, the gusting wind was out of the north, and we fully expected it to fade as the cold front moved further out to sea. (As did the weather guessers.) When we turned the corner and headed out through the inlet a few hours later, the promise sort of faded. Outside the breakwater waves were 3 to 5 feet with some larger ones wanting to play as well, smacking Kintala hard on the beam and sending sheets of spray over the deck. Leaving the last buoy and turning south put the wind and waves behind her. With the Wester-Beast silent and the headsail carrying the load, Kintala settled into an easier gait.We were back on the open ocean and under sail, happy with the choice to do so. A little later the wind faded and we added a reefed mainsail to hold as much SOG as we could.

Back to 3 AM. I am trying to catch a little rest on the starboard side cockpit bench. Just a few inches from my head the ocean hisses by and I can tell from the motion that, instead of fading the winds have ramped back up and clocked to the east. Deb is working hard at the helm and calls me awake. Kintala has way too much canvas aloft and things are getting just a bit too interesting. I clipped in and shuffled out on deck. Getting the main down did the trick but, with the wind now mostly out of East, this new set of waves clashed with those from the passing fronts of the last few days, putting Kintala dead in the ditch. We tried a different angle with the waves but tacking off shore put us in the edge of the Gulf Stream, which was lying close in. That was a truly ugly ride (the Vero Beach tribe made the right call). Tacking west had us on the beach. Neither choice was a good one ... the ditch it was.

One of the many towns we passed Tuesday a.m. They all kind of blend in together along the coast.

We continued through the night, pitching hard, rolling from toe-rail to toe-rail, and fishtailing over the confused seas. I like sailing at night, but that didn't keep the smile off my face as the sunrise started to fill in. At least five hours of lumpy waves still stood between us and Ft. Lauderdale, hours that would pass the same for us as for every sailor in history. Working to get to the next port of call without breaking anything or getting hurt, tired, a bit hungry, we were also aware that this was a special place to be, an experience worth having. Sleep and food would come soon enough.

Freighters anchored offshore on commercial moorings.

The anchor is set in a place called "South Lake", a place with much deeper water than the charts suggest. This is also the prettiest "city scape" we have seen so far. ICW tag-team friends lie to anchor the next lake over, in a place with much less water than was suggested. The plan was to spend the night anchored near them but Kintala grounded hard trying to get where they were. (Notice how I suggest it was the boat's fault, and not that of the bearded, bald headed idiot at the helm?) The good news is a rising tide really does lift all the boats, even those stuck in the mud. Within an hour the winds twisted us off of the mound of mud squashed under our keel, so we moved under the Hollywood Blvd bridge and set in 25 feet of water, where the charts show 4. Local knowledge via Active Captain is a good thing.

For those who care the run took 26 hours and 40 minutes (I had planned on 21 but we couldn't hold the 5 knots in the plan, not bashing about at the edge of the Gulf Stream as we were.) We added 110 nm to the log. A couple of dolphins dropped by to check on us, but nothing like the party last time. Once settled in on the anchor a couple of manatees paddled by as well. As the sun faded a strange grunting sound started bouncing off our hull, joined by a high pitched whistle. Best we can tell, that is the sound of manatees getting ready for bed. Weird creatures. I kind of like them

Weather is headed this way again, there are friends to catch up with, and I really need to get a couple of smaller projects done. We made it to Florida and are far enough south as to not worry about how cold it will get. We still plan to get to the Keys, but there is no rush now. Each place we stop can be a place we spend several days just poking around. So for now, here we are.

NOTE: It is Tuesday. We got here Monday and I had every intention of posting this, but that whole "tired and hungry" thing caught up to me. I fell asleep at the keyboard, nearly dropped the computer on my toe, and decided the manatees had the right idea. Time for bed.

Photo ed: We saw this line of demarcation in the water as the tide was at slack water. We've never seen this before. Anyone know what causes it?

Goodbye Ft. Pierce

Hello Ft. Lauderdale
View out my galley window. Hollywood, FL


Ryukyu said...

The different colors are caused by fresh water flowing into the salt water. It looks really strange when your swimming through that zone with mask and snorkel.

Deb said...

James we had that thought, but I thought the ICW there was already salt. Back to the research page...

Bill K said...

Don't forget, the New river ends there and it comes from the Everglades. Lots of fresh water.

Bill Kelleher

Unknown said...

If you stay for a while in Ft Lauderdale and can splurge on a bar bill, check out the Pier 66 upper level at night.


S/V Veranda said...

When you get to Miami might I suggest 25 47 322n 80 08 759w. Great spot. Free wifi from the city. Easy provisioning and entertainment nearby. The cops will stop by but they're mondo polite and will explain whats what. South Beach gets 5 stars from the Veranda...

Robert Salnick said...

Two different bodies of water moving in different directions. The tidal flow is not uniform, nor is slack water. There are always eddies. We see this in Puget Sound all the time

s/v Eolian

Unknown said...

Yep, they're all right, it's tidal and associated with rivers. Down in Gulf Shores, AL you'll see that effect when there is a lot of rain inland and all the water washes out of Mobile Bay into the gulf. If you're in a tall condo you can see the large semicircle emanating from the mouth of the bay. I bet Tim has seen it from the air before but just never took note of it. Slowing down will do that. Congrats on making the lower lattitudes!