Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Bridges, Bridges, Bridges

Size isn't everything as this pocket cruiser proves
The mooring field at Vero Beach
We left Vero Beach in the afternoon with an easy 20 miles to Ft. Pierce (for a change). Our Aussie/Kiwi friends Peter and Julie on Anything Goes had been waiting there for a week for us. I had daily calls to they and Diane and Mitch updating them on our progress south. So it was terrific to tie up at the dock and have dinner with all of them that night to celebrate. Julie and Peter had some big news - they had a buyer for their boat. It was with mixed feelings they were contemplating the sale, but there was no dickering over the price. The survey was scheduled for 2/14 in Ft. Lauderdale so the timing was good (just too soon).
Scott soldiering on in the pouring rain.
Our main sail has had problems coming out for some time.
We thought we had it beat but here it is again, stuck.
It was a great weekend. Diane and Mitch had us over to their Yacht Club for drinks Friday night and lent us a car for the stay. Our plans for Super Bowl Sunday changed when Diane's Uncle died and she had to cancel their party. Jeanette and Alan Feuer, last featured here on our blog in XXX, returned from a cruise and joined us for dinner and the game at our Marina restaurant. It was a very close exciting contest with unfortunately for us, an unhappy ending. We're big Patriot's fans. Unusually for me and I'm not sure why, but I didn't take a single photo for four days! Sorry.
Scott, Peter and Julie on the New River
Heather, Peter and Julie at our "Farewell Party"
On Monday morning we were off early again for 60 plus miles down to the north end of Lake Worth near Palm Beach. Julie and Peter had some repairs done 30 miles south and as we passed by, they pulled in behind us. Buddy boats for a few more days. It was a wet miserable trip and we endured two more days of it anchored there. We had planned to meet friends of Julie and Peter for lunch but couldn't find a place to land the dinghy! The usual location was closed due to bridge construction and the nearby Marina wouldn't let us land. So we just stayed on our boats, snugged in down below.
The Floridian on Las Olas Boulevard
That's Scott Free far left with Anything Goes behind her
The trip from Ft. Pierce is cluttered with opening bridges but the next day's trip down to Ft. Lauderdale is much worse. Last year with Russ we went through more than 30 and the trip took 12 hours. There was no way we were doing that again. Luckily the weather was passable for the trip outside. It rained most of the day but there was following wind about 12 knots, enough to put up our sails. And most of them did go up or rather out. Our main however didn't complete the trip. It's bunched up inside the roller furling. We thought we had this problem resolved in the Chesapeake. We had a rigger come and work on it. But no, evidently not.
Ft. Lauderdale beach - a great place to walk
Scott's back in the engine room!
Our favorite spot in Ft. Lauderdale is up the New River at the Downtown Municipal Marina, only $1.25 a foot (that's cheap in Florida) and right in the middle of things. That might be considered a negative by some; it's a busy place with lots of boat and pedestrian traffic. But we love it. The next morning we all walked down to the Floridian (since 1952) on Los Olas, a great place to have breakfast (it's actually open 24 hours a day).
After a great "Farewell Dinner" on board with Julie and Peter, we set out at 6:30AM for an eighty-five mile trip down to Rodrieguez Key. The weather report was for winds 10-15 from the NE. We exited the inlet and started rocking and rolling. The wind was 15-20 gusting 25 and from the east. Big confused waves with short intervals caused us to take "blue" water over the bow as we headed out to sea. Suddenly the engine stopped working. This was rather nerve wracking as we weren't that far from shore. We quickly got our jib out and turned away from the wind. Scott went below to check it out. The raw water pump had given up. So no water into the engine and the impeller blew.
Dinner at the Cabana Restaurant in West Palm Beach
Ft. Lauderdale calls itself the Venice of California and there
sure are a lot of canals (and houses that are trying to look
like Palazzos)
Las Olas is lined with shops and restaurants and is really
lively at night.
Luckily we still have Boat US insurance and so we got on the VHF to Boat US. It was over an hour of miserable (did I mention it was pouring rain and cold) rough conditions, trying to stay close to the inlet. Meanwhile, having not expected this weather, I hadn't fully battened down our inside elements and many of them were rolling around on the floor. Yech! Just then my forgotten coffee special mug (a gift from Sean) rolled overboard.
But the tow boat came and we made slow progress back to our slip. Julie and Peter, having been warned by phone, were there to help us tie up. Scott got right on the phone and ordered a new pump to be delivered on Monday, 2/13.
But we just make the best of these change of plans. Enterprise has special weekend rates so we rented a car. Most of the time we were running up to West Marine, Home Depot and Publix, but the four of us also had a fun day Saturday up south. We attended the Boat Gear Sale/Sea Food Festival (rather tacky and little sea food), had dinner at the Cabana Restaurant (533 Clematis St. 561-833-4773) in West Palm after checking with Trip Advisor - #3 out of 272 restaurants. It was excellent, a mixture of Cuban and other South American cuisines. We had another whole meal out of the leftovers. Afterwards we attended a Saute to Louis Armstrong by the Palm Beach Pops in Boca Raton. It was really fun of course and capped off a spontaneous day off.
Scott worked all day Monday and Tuesday installing the new raw water pump and fixing the suddenly not working generator. Our plans now are to rent a car and pick up Russ in Miami and then leave Thursday morning to make (hopefully) tracks down to the Keys. Fingers crossed....

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