As the ICW draws to a close for us...
72* Mostly sunny ENE winds 15mph
02/09/2009, N25*47.496 W80*09.932
Okay, at 3pm we're now anchored between San Marco Island and San Marino Island in Biscayne Bay off the Port of Miami. My broadband is still working (but you'd expect that around Miami).
Twelve bridges today... we managed to time them pretty good too. There's a string of islands called the Venetian Causeway before you get to the main channel of the Port of Miami and we're anchored on the north side of the islands. Little bridges link the islands together and looking past the bridge where we are, I can see several huge cruise ships. If there's only one, the Coast Guard will let you use the main channel to get in and out of Miami. But if there's more than one, you have to use the secondary channel south of Dodge Island. So we'll see which one we'll be able to use once our weather window gets here. We saw 4-5 other sailboats pull out of Las Olas this morning when we left our mooring and a couple others left before we did. The majority went outside but we'd decided to stay on the ICW to finish our tenure on the ICW to mile marker 1090. The Julia Tuttle Bridge (one of the reasons a lot of boats go outside to get to Miami) is a fixed vertical height of 56 ft so any sailboats with tall masts have to go outside to get to Miami. We managed to squeak under without scraping any of our antennas LOL. It looked tight from below looking up and we approached the bridge real slow in case we did hit it. We shouldn't have really worried about it though. Our mast height from the water level is 50 ft. Tack on another foot or two for the antennas and we're still fine, but we were nervous nonetheless because we were taking the previous owner's word for the mast ht. Even though he'd left wonderful records and data for us, it's still scary since we didn't measure it ourselves. I guess the person in charge of bridge construction may have been dyslexic because the ht was supposed to be 65 ft (the standard ht of fixed bridges here) - it seems that he/she transposed the numbers.
It seems strange that our trip along the ICW is about at a close. It's scary and exhilarating at the same time. The end of one leg in our journey and the start of the next...
The next step in our journey is to leave the Port of Miami and finally sail away from the North American shore, east across the Gulf Stream, eastward into deep water, toward the islands in the Bahamas. There we are in the picture - okay I know, I know, we're still anchored in the Miami area as I write this - but it's a visual of us when we cross...
While we've been there before by plane, we've never been there via water, never via our own boat, our little floating home. East of here is a collection of more than 700 islands that sit atop a plateau. As we leave Florida, we'll enter the Gulf Stream waters 896 meters deep (roughly 2986 ft) with northward running currents that travel on average at 3 knots (remember our little boat runs about 6 knots). Then the Bahamas plateau rises suddenly from the depths to a shallow measurement of 2-3 meters (8-10 ft). I can see where this might cause a panic - even knowing in advance - I'll probably still be shocked LOL. I don't know how long we'll be waiting - I think unless the weather patterns change that we're looking at heading out Thursday - we'll see. That's when the predicted winds will change to a southerly direction...
3000 the slow way... Happy Birthday Luke
Currently at 7:53am: Partly sunny, winds ENE 15, 69*
02/09/2009, Ft. Lauderdale (getting ready to leave)
HAPPY BIRTHDAY LUKE! My goodness the birthdays and years just fly by... By the time I blink again, all you guys will be graduating from school and starting college (are you ready for this Jack?). Time keeps slipping by faster and faster...
Well from Saugatuck to Miami we've gone approximately 3000 miles - the slowwww way. The only way slower - would be walking and we actually met someone doing this in NY. Hmmm... actually as I recall there was also a walker that went faster than we did along the canal system LOL.
The plan is to head to Miami after checking out this morning.
Las Olas: The Waves
74*, partly cloudy, ENE winds 20mph
02/08/2009, Ft Lauderdale
Wow - we've been in Florida for 2 months now, (and Wayne says "Florida hasn't been the same - it's become part of the cold climates LOL). It's a long coastline with attractive harbors that we've stayed to long in. But there's nowhere we have to be for now.
Once we leave Florida and cross over to the Bahamas, it's my understanding that my phone and Internet service will probably be non-existent to perhaps spotty (spotty as far as Internet). If we had SSB, we'd probably have our email/internet to post journal entries and get email, but since we don't, the postings and contact will probably be spotty. Our limited budget won't allow many non-emergency phone calls (heck our phones won't work there anyway) so family/friends - use the blog comments or email if you need to make contact so when we can access the blog - I'll know to call home.
The marina headquarters was packed this afternoon. All of the Billfish Tournament participants were all standing around waiting for the results of the contest to be tallied up. It was interesting looking at all their questioning faces as we walked past to the showers. It was really a festive atmosphere especially around the main tent were the food was being served up and the beer running freely. Some of the boats that had entered the competition were amazing. They ran from the little fishing boats to the large megafishers. One boat we saw had 4-300hp engines on the back. The people tallying the results had the windows blocked out in the meeting room so you couldn't see into it, and they were also using the laundry room too. I asked one of the guys in the laundry room if they had a good turn out this year and he said definitely better than last year. They have this every year at this marina so he laughed and told me this so I could plan ahead for next year LOL
The trolley driver that took us into town today was a happy soul - singing and joking with us and his other patrons. I asked him if he knew what "Las Olas" meant (we're at the Las Olas Marina off Las Olas Street, close to downtown Las Olas). It feels like it's a term I should know but don't recall from my Spanish classes. He said depending on context it means "the waves". I thought it very appropriate for this area of Ft. Lauderdale with the waves always in motion. You can hear them at night if the ports are open.
We bought a couple more Cubans (love these sandwiches!) and a couple of steaks for dinner. I was going to make some salad and mushrooms to go with dinner but after having the Cubans for lunch, neither of us was very hungry so we just had the steaks and shrooms for dinner.
Time for a little reading before lights out... Tomorrow we head for Miami.