A Bridge to Far?
28 January 2009 | Peck Lake/Hobi Sound to Lake Worth/Palm Beach Fl
Weather at 7am Wind still to 8 mph SSE T72
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
SunRise 7:08am SunSet 6:00pm Moon: Waxing Cresent
It was a travel day today with 28 miles to go and 7 bridges to open. First job (after morning coffee & scanning weather forecasts) was to see if we could get out of the anchorage without running aground to many times. High tide is in a couple of hours so it should be better than when we came in (at low tide). We were already lined up on the danger sign so, as Wayne hoisted up the anchor, I aimed at 260 magnetic to a point south of the green buoy and had from 10 to 16 feet the entire way to the channel. Hmmm, why couldn't I do this coming in?
We had beautiful weather to travel by today. It was sunny, with cool winds. I wasn't relishing having to go through 7 bridges and trying to time them all but they weren't to bad. The last one before Lake Worth, Palm Beach though gave us a bit of a problem. We may have gone a bridge to far. I think the bridge tender went on break or something. He's supposed to open on the quarter and three quarter hours when called, only he never responded to us. We got there at 1:35pm and hailed him on channel nine and got no response (which sometimes happens). At 1:40 we hailed him again to make sure he knew we were there - we couldn't see into his tower the blinds where down. At 1:45 when he should have opened for us and didn't we hailed him again this time using both radios (the hand held and boat VHF) and still - no response. At 1:46 I thought what the hey? I got on the radio and hailed him on all three of his names: "North Palm Beach Bridge, AKA Parker Bridge, AKA US 1 Bridge, are you there? Is there a problem? Hello? Hello.... Did we do something to offend you? Hello? Why won't you/didn't you open for us? Over" Still no response, so I switched to channel 16 "This is south bound sailing vessel Kolibrie looking for anyone with information on the Parker Bridge - over". Tow Boat responded to our call and said to hail them on channel 9. I told him we did - many times - then the situation, and said there might be a problem could anyone check on the guy in the tower to see if he's okay because he never responded to us. I stood by the radio on channel 6 with TowBoat while he called the bridge tender on the phone. Then he said to try the bridge again on 9. As I was talking to Towboat, the guy at the bridge came on channel 9 and said he never heard us. He should have at least seen us - I dang near ran into one of the pilings at the bridge trying to look into his tower windows while circling and circling (trying to contact him). If Wayne and I could hear each other hailing him on our respective radios, then the channel was open - so he must have had a problem on his end (um or went on a potty break?).
He then wanted to know if we wanted his next opening (2:15pm). Well duh! - I guess since we'd been waiting already, trapped between two bridges that YAH! We wanted his next opening! Soooo we circled and waited. Then he came on at 2:10 pm: "South bound sailboat, would you like my next opening?" "What the $%$?" - I say to my self as I grab the radio and say, "Yes, we're waiting for your next opening..." At this point I'm wondering if this guy in the tower might be senile? or just a smart $**... I was fuming thinking of him laughing at us in his tower after I had worried about him, but after he opened, I thanked him for his opening (at Wayne's objections). Wayne said we should have given him the silent treatment.
Lake Worth was choppy when we got into it, the fetch from the winds must have built up with some gusto. After running aground in one spot (me, not Wayne), yelling at each other in another spot, then looking around some more, we finally got anchored by 4:50pm. The bridge tender had managed to sour both our moods - but here we are in Palm Beach Florida sitting at anchor in Lake Worth right next to the outlet that we could use to head to the Abacos Islands in the Bahamas. We're talking going further south though and heading for the Exumas.
Interesting side note on Lake Worth - it used to be a fresh water lake (now brackish since being connected to the ocean so technically a lagoon?). Henry Flagler (who originally built up this area) recognized that a sheltered access to the ocean would make Palm Beach more attractive to the rich and, as he intended, Lake Worth today is filled with luxury yachts. He made millions as a railroad magnate and invested and developed this area. His hotel, near the Flagler Bridge (now called the Breakers), charges a modest fee of $800/night for an ocean "view". Flagler built up Palm Beach and West Palm Beach as a playground for the rich so from what I understand, I better have my camera ready for the trip down to Miami! It promises to be quite a sight...
Tuna Salad with tossed salad and sour dough bread for dinner. And Jeeves - I'll have a Cabernet with the meal...