Monday, November 14, 2005

Peck Lake to Miami

Peck Lake to Miami
Originally uploaded by S/V Raft.
One complaint we have had about our blog, is that the pictures are labeled the blog title, which is not necessarily what the picture depicts. When the blogs are sent by email, from RAFT, we cannot control the picture titles, so what we will endeavour to do is, identify the picture at the beginning of each report.

Picture: Remains of a dry marina after Wilma, just north of Miami

We are now continuing south. We spent a couple of days in North Lake Worth anchorage, doing the last minute shopping, and making phone calls. We had planned to stay the weekend there, having been warned that you do not want to be travelling the ICW on a weekend. Leave the waterways for the the weekend yahoos. But we wanted to get going, so Saturday afternoon we took off, initially planning just to go to the south anchorage near the Lake Worth outlet and then decide what to do. The weekend traffic was hectic, but as soon as we passed the outlet, it quieted right down.

For those unfamiliar with the ICW in Florida, there are 20 bascule bridges (draw bridges) between the Lake Worth outlet (West Palm Beach) and Fort Lauderdale's Lake Sylvia anchorage. At each bridge we have to check our Skipper's Bob guide -- don't travel the ICW without it -- for the schedule, call the bridge tender and wait for the bridge to lift and us go through. Most of the time we have to "dance" by the bridge, sometimes in a 2-3 knots of current, for up to 30 minutes. And this is what we call fun!!

So even though it was Saturday, we decided to continue on to Lantana, 5 bridges to the south, and anchor there, giving us the leg up for the rest of the trip to Lauderdale. Things did go according to plan, arriving in Lantana well before sunset and had a quiet night. There is a real neat looking beach bar there, but we didn't check it out. Sunday morning we got up bright and early to do the last 15 bridges, anchoring in Lake Sylvia in the early afternoon. Again, we were surprised how few weekend boats were actually on the waterways. There were only 6 to 8 boats in this popular anchorage. Maybe the gas prices or Wilma has had an effect.

Fort Lauderdale's homes of the rich and famous did not let us down. The different architectures, huge, modern, fabulous homes that there is no way we can afford, and Bev doesn't want to clean, lined the ICW. And the size of the homes and the boats tied up beside them increased as you approach Fort Lauderdale. It isn't known as the Yachting Capital of the World for nothing.

Now we have to contemplate our trip to Miami. There are 2 choices, inside along the ICW, 9 opening bridges and one 56 foot one that doesn't, Julia Tuttle, or you go outside and deal with the strong east winds 20+knots. We had done a 55 foot bridge in Cape May at low tide so Ross felt reasonably confident in his 53 foot calculation above the water to the top of the mast and wind instruments and antennae. But we still wanted to take advantage of low tide, to make sure we did keep that $500 worth of equipment on the top of the mast. We calculated that low tide in Miami would be about 2pm, and we had 24 miles to go, so there was no point in starting too early.

Leaving Fort Lauderdale, we were pleased to come into north Hollywood, which still maintains its old Florida appeal, looking like Florida was in the sixties, before the rich invaded it. Next came South Hollywood, a brand new venice subdivision showcasing housing trends which will be cutting edge in Canada in the next few years. We also saw more and more evidence of the damage Wilma caused as we headed south, blue tarped roofs, etc. The "dry slip storage" pictured was completely destroyed, complete with all the powerboats inside, was located at the north end of Biscayne Bay.

Here also, we experienced a left over from Wilma. Skipper Bob had warned that the ICW near Bakers Haulover Inlet was shoaled in, especially on the east side. We were being very careful, favouring the west side, but still managed to drive through the first sand bar, and get stuck in the second, right beside the new added green 6B marker. Remember, that we wanted to go through Miami at low tide for the Julia Tuttle bridge. Yes, tide was falling and we were stuck. Reversing the motor wasn't working, so out went the foresail, and again we were saved, able to sail off the sandbar. Going to send Skipper Bob a note, maybe we will get a new book!! Maybe we should have renewed our TowboatUS tow insurance policy.

Will save our arrival to Miami for the next entry.