04 December 2010
So to catch up from that last hasty post..... The davits were finally finished and Sea Sharp was launched around 12:30. I had to leave to pick Judy up at Palm Beach International for her flight at 3:00 p.m. So things were very tight. The Marina where we keep the boat has a very very tight dockage area, so once the boat was in the water I had to manoeuvre into a very tight basin and aim back out into a narrow slip. And, it's always nerve wracking at the beginning of the season 'cause you're not sure if the engine is going to die or if your piloting skills are up to speed. Nonetheless, I make it into the slip only to get mired into the marl that is typical of this area and have to literally power my way through it to dock. I immediately get in the Jeep and retrieve Judy an Chopin from the airport in West Palm Beach.
Judy and Chopin are doing fine. As usual, Judy has difficulty in getting Chopin to take his tranquilizer but with the help of her sister Cathy they manage to get enough into his gullet that he's well sedated when they greet me. We drive back to Fort Pierce and Judy is glad to get back on board Sea Sharp. Its great to be back in the water and Sea Sharp is in pretty good shape considering that I've been living on board for two weeks on the hard.
The relatively short channel from the ICW (Intracoastal Waterway) to the Marina is very shallow and we can only get in or out at half tide or better so we either have to leave very early next morning (underway at 7:00 am) or wait until late in the day. We just have too much to do so we opt to not leave at the crack of dawn but try to get going around 4:00 the next afternoon when the tide is on the rise. We have a busy day getting ready to leave and cast off our lines around 3:30. We get out without incident but because of our late leave, we only go a few miles past on opening bridge and anchor with a dozen or so other boats just off the channel in Fort Pierce. There's moderate wind but strong currents so the boat does a fair bit of pitching and yawing through the night but, it's a great sensation compared to the intractable feeling of living on a boat on the land.
We wake early and get underway by about 7:30. It's really cold (about 40 degrees f) so we bundle up as we motor the 30 or so miles to Stuart where we'll spend a bit of time waiting for a weather window to Bahamas. The boat works great and, unlike last year when I had numerous equipment failures, everything works great. We run down the ICW to the St. Lucie River and turn up towards Stuart. It's been well dredged so we have no problem with depths although there is a strong current ripping against us. Last year we ran aground and had to call Tow Boat US (the water equivalent of AAA) to help us out. But they've dredged since and we saw no less than 12 feet of water. This is familiar territory for us and we round the river, pass under three bridges (one fixed at 65 feet, a railroad bridge, normally open and an opening bridge) and make our way to our prearranged mooring at the fabulous Sunset Bay Marina. Our mooring assignment is next to Audacious (Roger and Jacquie from Fredericton, our long time cruising buddies). It is great to see them an we notice several other boats we know on our way in. We'll spend several days here outfitting the boat, provisioning her for the winter in the Bahamas and waiting for a weather window.