Saturday, January 30, 2010

How could I forget to post this bit of gossip?

Guess where Tiger's megayacht is hiding? We saw it in a marina on our way to the Lake Worth anchorage where we were aground for part of the night (see earlier posting).

I knew what it looked like because I had googled it weeks ago just in case we spotted it--or Tiger was out of the treatment facility for a little R & R.

The only reason I could identify it was the large piece of canvas covering the boat name, Privacy. He never got much of that.

Boat names can be quite revealing, can't they? Remember Gary Hart's boat name when he was involved in an extramarital affair? Monkey Business!

Bridges, bridges, bridges

But NOT over troubled waters

Flagler Memorial Bridge, Palm Beach
After a not so restful night hard aground a few nights ago (see below), we had more stressful hours, trying to time bridge arrivals. South of Lake Worth, bridges need to open every few miles, some on demand, but most on an hour and half-hour schedule. The photo shows the prettiest one so far, the Flagler Memorial Bridge in Palm Beach. Two French guys on that catamaran were language-challenged when it came to hailing bridge tenders. Listening to them on the radio got to be quite funny.

If you miss an opening, you need to circle around at snail pace, sometimes in a strong current, to wait for the next opening. So there’s a bit of self-induced pressure to get there in time. We found some mighty friendly and understanding Florida bridge tenders (probably some irate drivers on the bridges!) who kept their bridges open for the “caboose” boat which was usually us. Hunter 36s are a tad underpowered, so we’re usually the slow boat on the waterway.

After 9 bridge openings, we pulled into Delray Harbor Club Marina to relax. We decided to stay here for two nights since this marina offered shelter from the ICW wakes, clean showers, and close proximity to restaurants, movies, grocery, etc. Finally got to see “Up in the Air” and get my regular “George Clooney fix.”


A "Got Rocks" home
Now we know why most cruisers go “outside” in the Atlantic on their way south to Fort Lauderdale, Bahamas, and points south. However, in missing all these bridge openings, they miss some amazing mega-homes, mega-boats, and sights around Palm Beach, Delray, Boca Raton, Pompano, etc. Many have yard sculptures that vary from classical statues to modern bronzes of quasi-mermaids.

After a short day today (only 4 hours on the ICW, but 7 more bridge openings), we’re anchored right now in Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano. It’s a dandy little anchorage with shelter from today’s 20+ knot south winds. I think white caps on the ICW are rare, but I can’t imagine what the ocean must look like today.

Some crummy weather is coming tomorrow and wind direction will not be favorable to us going “outside” from Fort Lauderdale to Biscayne Bay south of Miami. So we plan to arrive in Fort Lauderdale tomorrow and stay for a few days, waiting for a good “weather window.” But we can’t complain since our friends and neighbors in Williamsburg are experiencing a major snow storm with up to 14 inches accumulation predicted.

Pirates in Florida?????

The Bounty without a mutiny
As we sailed past the Bounty a few days ago, I realized that we did NOT yet have a good pirate repellant onboard. Not that I'd want to repel Johnny Depp, aka Jack Sparrow.

But thanks to Vicki P and Judy L, we'll buy one product soon. They both just sent me an email recommending not pepper spray or guns, but wasp spray. It's an excellent weapon if you're ever mugged, or confronted by pirates.

Thanks for the helpful tip!

2012 update: sadly, the Bounty sunk during Superstorm Sandy's path up the coast. May she and her captain rest in peace.

Better than Prilosec

We’ve found a treatment for reflux

We finally endured the humiliation of what most sailors experience at least once—if they anchor out enough. We dropped the hook in the north end of Lake Worth with 5 feet showing under the keel, with the tide about half way down in its 2.5 foot range. With MicMac’s 5 foot draft, that seemed sensible, and we enjoyed a nice dinner and some TV. Then I went forward to sleep in the v-berth to get some additional air. But around midnight, I awoke to the sound of something falling off the galley counter. Turned out to be the plastic bottle of tonic water that had slid into the sink. Then a few more things started shifting.

Captain Pete calmly stated, “Oops, we’re on the bottom.” Then I felt MicMac slowly heeling over a few more degrees, then more, finally stopping at about a 15 degree list. I moved sideways in the v-berth, and began to worry about books falling on my head from the shelf above my head. Pete calmly returned to the aft berth, saying “In three hours, the tide will come back in.” We then discovered that it’s quite difficult to sleep at a 15 degree angle. Kind of feels like you’re sleeping standing up.

But no reflux that night!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Passed 1000 mile mark as "leg two" of this voyage continues

After a lengthier stay in Fort Pierce than we planned, thanks to a holding tank "issue" (IT happens!), a wait for a parts delivery, and some mighty gusts up to 35 or 40 knots, we didn't get underway until yesterday morning.

That gave us a chance to visit the Navy Seal Museum. It's located here in Fort Pierce because the Seals program (formerly known as Frogmen or "Underwater Demolition Team") began here in 1943. It was pretty impressive and worth a visit especially if the only thing you know about the Seals was their recent rescue of the Maersk captain kidnapped by Somalia pirates. The Seals' training is exceptionally tough, earning one week of it "Hell Week." Only 30 percent of each class makes it to the end of training.

The delay also gave us the time to visit the super duper Fort Pierce Farmers Market last Saturday, restock the wine cellar, and enjoy more "docktails" with Stu and Claudia, who also left the Fort Pierce Harbourtown Marina yesterday morning.

The weekly Farmers Market with 100 plus tents really wowed us. They had a live band too. We bought too many fresh veggies, I'm sure. Here is Captain Pete as he began with an empty basket. We didn't know they'd have food/cooking tents, or we'd have planned to have either breakfast or lunch there.

Yesterday we moved south to Stuart, got a mooring, and walked around the cutesy historic district. We called sailing buddies from NJ who now live here, were in luck to catch them at home, and met them for dinner at Duffy's. We hadn't seen Ed and Patty Donnelly for 7 years, so it was great to catch up. They've traded in sailing for visiting national parks in their motorhome. Real travellers, they've been to almost ALL the national parks in 47 states. Only North Dakota has eluded these road-hungry tourists.

What a small world story too--Ed saw us with the jib up on MicMac as he played softball earlier in the afternoon, not knowing it was us of course. We were the only sailboat on the ICW yesterday on the way to Stuart.

Today we passed the 1000 mile mark on this trip, and "enjoyed" 10 bridge openings from Stuart to Lake Worth (North Palm Beach area). Most of the bridge tenders were extremely happy to hear from us. We also were stopped by a Coast Guard boat and asked if we had any firearms on board before they boarded us. After saying "No guns," Pete mentioned that he's a Coast Guard Auxiliarist. "No need to board, then," one Coastie then said, "but we need to ask you a bunch of questions to keep our numbers up." We tried to be cordial but we were trying to make a bridge opening. If you miss most of these, you drive around in circles on your boat to kill time for 30 minutes.

Two other sailboats traveled with us today. One of them is now anchored beside us. A manatee just welcomed us to Lake Worth. Weather has been chillier than we'd like, but sunny. We saw googads of lovely mega-homes on this stretch today, especially along Hobe Sound. Ya gotta wonder how these folks made so much money!