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The First Mate's Journal
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Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Boat Names: Reaper & Cleavage
Foggy out this morning 70 High 40 Low
01/30/2009, Fort Lauderdale, FL N26 07.132 W80 06.602

Friday, January 30, 2009
Lake Boca Raton Fl; to Fort Lauderdale

Wow - 5:30 in the morning and a fishing boat (named Reaper) comes roaring up and drops anchor 7 feet away from our port window next to our bed, talking trash, playing rap (eminem) and using an extensive vocabulary of "f*#%" words and other assorted intellectually stimulating comments like that they wish they had a b-b gun so they could aim at the lights on the sailboat masts. I could only hope the rest of the day was not going to be like this... Wayne manages to sleep until 6:30 but I'm up making coffee. At sunrise I finally took my camera up top - hey there's pictures of the fog I need to get... I yelled over to them "Hey! What are you fishing for?" They need to turn down the noise to hear me... "What?" I say, "What are you fishing for?" "Oh, Tarpon - there's one out here 150 lbs!" "Wow, Are they good eating?" "No man. But they're a hell of a game fish - good sporting, you know? - You catch em and throw em back." "Oh..." I watch their antics of pretending to fish (they can't seriously think any fish in their right mind is going to come near that noise) then yell over to them again - "Hey, if you catch one can I take a picture? I've never seen a Tarpon before" "Hey sure, but we're probably going to be moving on - the actions really crappy here this morning." "Oh, okay - but if you get one, I'll take a picture" You betcha... 10 minutes later they left and peace descended once again.

After the morning hubbub we were one of the last out of the anchorage. It started to be an interesting morning - as we got to the first bridge, it got stuck in a partially open position where cars couldn't use it and boats couldn't cross it but they had it up and running again in another 5 minutes. Whew! The next bridge tender thought we said our boat name was "Cleavage" and we had to correct him (don't know how he got that from Kolibrie) and Wayne & I laughed about it. As we went under the bridge and to the other side, I waved at him (I do that - it's friendly) and he came back on the radio and said - "see, I was right the first time" I went back on the radio and laughingly thanked him and he said something about he wished he could call the boat the first name... It was fun to joke with a bridge tender.

We passed through a lot more extreme wealth along the waterway and pulled in to the Las Olas Marina at 1:00pm and snagged one of 4 moorings that were left right before the cold front came roaring through. We waited for things to die down before getting the dinghy into the water and heading over to the office to check in and get the code for the gate and access to the laundry/shower area.

The moorings here are pretty close together. As we swing in the wind and current we come pretty close to this catamaran to the point where we could probably jump from our boat to his boat when the boats swing back to back... Kind of scary. A little red sailboat came in later and grabbed another mooring on his other side and ended up moving some time during the night to a mooring further away. I don't blame them and probably would myself but the other one is pretty close to shore so I'm not sure of the depth.

Land of the Rich and Famous
85 degrees and sunny but nice on the water under the bimini
01/29/2009, Lake Worth to Boca Raton N26 20.769 x W80 04.368

Thursday, January 29, 2009
SR: 7:07am SS:6:00pm

Lake Boca Raton Anchorage N of 65 in 6-8 ft of water.

Wow, after 7 bridges yesterday, we must be masochistic or something - we traversed 12 bridges today! The first one we started with -Flagler Bridge - had an electrical breakdown when we got there, so we had to wait and circle for an hour while they had an electrician come out to fix it. Maybe we should have headed out at Lakeworth? We figured that we had never come this way before, annnnd most likely, after this time probably won't again - so we should do it at least once (what were we thinking!?!?). Seriously though, it is very interesting and the ICW affords a view of Florida that we wouldn't normally see. Like Nettles Island (the square one) and the one we were next to last night called Peanut Island. That one was a dredge island (created by dumping dredgings and letting them pile up) that has an interesting history! The Seabees covertly built a secret emergency fallout shelter for President Kennedy to use during the Cuban Missile Crisis - in the event of a strike, while the Kennedy's would vacation in Florida. While it turned out that it really wasn't needed after all, it still stands (not so covertly now) and they give tours of the shelter. Pretty interesting. It was so covert that most of the Kennedy friends and family didn't know about it. Can you imagine???

Passing through Palm Beach I couldn't believe the huge homes...mansions, compounds or estates along the way. Breathtaking places - some with 14 million dollar yachts docked in front of the places. I really don't know what to call them and can't imagine what a family would do in such places. All I can say is Wow... To quote the Intracoastal Waterway "Lush, plush, elegant, luxurious, rich, opulent, affluent. Such words don't adequately describe some of the places in southern Florida..." you need to see them to believe them! Full size Greek statues on the lawns - not just one or two, but a couple places had circles of the statues like Stonehenge gods surrounding a garden setting; and bougainvilleas in shocking pinks and reds, and magenta colors covering massive walls and cathedral archways... There is incredible wealth and power in this area for mile after mile. You'd never see these places by car, only on the waterway - they're protected, gated estates/communities viewable on the waterfronts that they own. Impressive places - but I'm glad I don't have to manage them or the upkeep on them or their servant's houses.

We seemed paired up consistently with a boat called Whisper at the bridges - it was kind of fun to see if we could make all the bridges. They open at different times - some on the hour and half hour, others on the quarter and three quarter hours. We originally started with 3 other boats but one went on ahead and two fell back. Needless to say if you didn't (or in our case couldn't) make the bridges due to your speeds, you had to kill time waiting for the next opening. We were originally going to go on to Lettuce Lake or the anchorage across from it (where Whisper was heading) but after the delays and waiting, etc... 13 - 16 bridges seemed a bit much and at 12 bridges it felt like we'd gone "A bridge to Far" once again, so we pulled into the Boca Raton Anchorage at 4:55pm and waved goodbye to Whisper. I hope we see them again.

It was shallow getting in here at 5.5 ft??? But we managed to get in, and who is here? The 32 ft Bayfield from Vero Beach! We yelled greetings back and forth at each other - good to see them again - they have such a pretty little boat! I guess I'm just a little partial to Bayfields! There's a young couple that pulled in after us (Kirian - a WestSail), that's heading for Eluthera (an island in the Bahamas) to get married. The parents, etc. are meeting them there. I teased them about being together on the boat already and they said the Best Man is keeping them apart (LOL, uh huh...). It's nice to see there are still romantics out there - an island wedding and sailing off into the sunset . Hey! We're doing that ummmm... just quite a few years in between LOL. I'm glad these kids can do it while they're still young :) "Knot for Shore" also pulled into the anchorage. I liked their name. I heard them on the radio and wondered if the spelling was Knot or not... but was surprised at shore - I thought it was "sure". Cute name!

Anyhow our 20-mile trip today ended up being 31 miles and our flag can attest to how many times we circled and circled waiting for bridges to open LOL


A Bridge to Far?
Weather at 7am Wind still to 8 mph SSE T72
01/28/2009, Peck Lake/Hobi Sound to Lake Worth/Palm Beach Fl

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...

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