Monday, November 21, 2016

Sticky Subject

We all do it!

I had a saying in the Navy: Eat, Drink and don't forget the toilet paper!

Despite the fact that sewage is dumped from cities along the coast within the 3 Mile Limit, most Boaters know that you have to be outside the 3 mile limit before they can pump out their holding tank into the ocean. Reading on the Internet (so it must be true!) Whales can poop up to 3 Tons of Poop per day! So I don't feel so bad when we dump 10 gallons in the Ocean, but how do we do it (dump it!)

Like most boats that have a head on board, we have a holding tank. It has 3 vents: #1 is an air vent, that allows the air to escape when we flush the head into the holding tank. #2 is the Pump Out. That'w where we connect the local Pump Out Station hose so that it can suction out the contents of the holding tank. #3 is the Overboard vent: We have a Macerator Pump that has it's input connected to the Holding tank and the outlet is connected to a valve and then the Overboard vent. The vent has a locking mechanism so that we can lock it closed except when we need to dump overboard. 

How do we pump out? Pretty simple really. We head out from the coast beyond the 3 mile limit and if need be, we'll change onto a Starboard Tack (wind coming over the Starboard side of the boat) so that the boat heels down on the Port side which is where the Overboard vent is located below the waterline. Once well past the 3 mile limit, we hold a steady course away from land, unlock the valve and then turn on the Macerator pump. The holding tank contents typically pump out within a couple of minutes, then turn the pump off, close and lock the valve and proceed on our way. 

So this weekend, we headed out for a sail and went way past the 3 mile limit.
We left the dock around 11am, as we headed to the 1st bridge, for us, on the North Fork of the New River, we passed a sunken sailing vessel that was either sitting on the bottom or was being held by a couple of scant lines on the vacant lot where it was previously docked. It happens, we often see derelict boats this far up the river. We motored on to 11th Street Swing Bridge. Coming around the bend, we called the bridge tender to request an opening. We got the very unusual reply of 'You know that the bridge is broken and unable to open right now?' No! But we talk on the radio to each of the bridge tenders and we kinda feel that they know us (by our boat name) (well, the almost never ask us how to spell the boat name anymore :)
A brief few communications and we determined that they might be able to open the bridge manually within about half an hour. Do we head back to the dock and scrub the weekend or wait to see of the bridge can open? The bridge Tender indicated that they had been down since around midnight, but that someone from the Coast Guard might be along to see if they can get the bridge open.

We agreed that we would tie up/drop anchor within sight of the bridge and call back to see how progress is being made. As we rounded the bend, we saw a boat owner working on his Trimaran and called to see if we could tie up along side. He politely agreed and stopped work as we turned a 360 to come along side. After passing a line, we docked along side smoothly. Paul (that's his name too) was starting to fix up his boat in anticipation of doing some cruising into the Gulf next year. Ex Coastie, he was happy to share some of his sailing experience but declined my offer to help out on his boat for the half hour. We stood chatting (as all sailors do) for nearly 45 minutes. At that time I noticed a man walking onto the bridge and stepping down to the workings. A few moments later, and the bridge klaxon sounded - looks like they are going to try and open the bridge. After a short call to the tender, we bid Paul farewell. I ducked down into our cabin and grabbed a bottle of wine then stepped back aboard his trimaran, Walkerye, and thanked him for his generosity. He gladly accepted the wine and then helped cast us off to head towards the now opening bridge.

Forty minutes later and we were headed out of Port Everglades. We hoisted sails and turned 90° off the wind, which happened to put us on a course almost Due East, ideal for a broad reach out to the 3 mile limit. This was the first time we had raised the sails since putting them back on after Hurricane Mathew last month. Of course, I screwed something up, and had a heck of a time raising the sail to the first reef. After fooling with the lines for 10 minutes, I let out the reef and hoisted the main to the mast head. That took care of that. With the wind getting up there, it hit 18knots several times, we had the Jib reefed, and the calm seas were not! Peggy had the heavy sailing while I worked the discharge process. 

Having done duty, we then sailed back to Port Everglades, the wind was from the North / NNE and down to about 15 knots, we made good time until it backed and we were running wing on wing. As we neared the entrance to the Port, we turned into the wind and dropped the sails so that we could motor into the Turning Basin before heading North and up the Intracoastal waterway.

As we passed inside the channel markers, with the rocky jetty on the south side and the rocky beach area to the North, we saw a couple of inflatable boats each towing a half dozen or so Optimist Dinghy's from the Ocean into the Port, I'm pretty sure they are part of the Fort Lauderdale Yacht Club's youth sailing program. They were all getting a tow from the inflatable looking much like a line of ducklings following Mama duck home. 

Of course, some Yahoo, in a huge power boat screamed out of the port causing a considerable wake that rolled us, but we're a 34' Sailboat with a Deep Keel, the Optimist Dinks are a lot less stable, someone should have taken the power boat's name! Oh! I'm pretty sure it was KL5.

After turning North towards 17th Street Causeway Bridge we could see a Canadian Boat Goinger headed in the same direction. We heard them call the bridge tender asking for the next opening. The Tender noted that it was 20+ minutes till the next opening, then commented that the boat may fit under the spans closed and that the skipper should check the status of the bridge height clearance on the Starboard Fender of the bridge. While that was going on, we passed Goinger to Stbd and headed for the middle of the spans. The Fenders were indicating 56' of clearance, that's great for us, so we proceeded. Several of the smaller boats were gazing up as our mast passed beneath the Span lights hanging down from the middle of the spans. By the time we were at the first Channel markers north of the bridge, we could see that Goinger was working their way through the spans. We could see the sunlight glinting on and off as the masts passed between the open and closed portions of the roadway above the boat. They were fine. I called them on #9 to switch to 68 for intership calls. He did, and we quickly discussed his destination, wondering if he was headed into Lake Sylvia like us. But his journey was Los Olas Marina with a final destination of Port St Lucie. He has a few days motoring ahead of him, especially with these Northerly winds that we're expecting for the next week.

We motored past the moored Dredging boat that is still in the process of deepening the channel all the way from 17th Street Bridge up to Los Olas Marina, they want bigger boats to get up there. Once past the dredge, we turned in towards the Lake Sylvia entrance, hugging the Eastern side where we know it's deeper. The anchorage looked pretty crowded, but we found a nice place to drop the hook that would allow us to swing around with plenty of room.

Of course..  A big 42' Catamaran dropped their anchor between us and our closest neighbor, pretty close to us. Perhaps they are just stopping for lunch and then get on their way. Nope! During the night we stayed within 50' of where we dropped the anchor despite swinging in practically every conceivable direction at the whim of the wind and the curious currents that flow around Lake Sylvia.

We dined on Turkey Burger & Veggies for dinner, with a bottle of wine and some Rum for me.
First time using Brookstone Ice balls.

The next morning as we drank coffee in the cockpit, our stern came within about 10' - 15' of the bow of the catamaran, that felt a bit too close. I had a large fender at hand just in case we needed to fend off. 

We had an early lunch, checked with the 11th Street Bridge tender that the bridge would be able to open, and 'Mary' responded that the bridge was stuck open until Tuesday, so we could come and go as we please. Cool! 

After lunch we started up the engine (flawlessly 😎), pulled up the anchor and headed out of the Lake.

The trip backup the New River was totally without incident, I don't mind that, and the bridge all opened quickly so we barely needed to hold station at any of them.

Turning into the canal where we dock Eximius, we could see a new boat to the neighborhood had tied up on the North side of the canal, opposite a Catamaran on the South side. It's a tight squeeze, but Peggy managed it without a sweat.

We're starting to get the routines down for when we get back to the dock. I take care of securing the boat, fenders, lines, power cord. Check the rigging and wash down the hull and topsides. Peggy removes the instruments, clears out the fridge and loads up any left over food into our soft sided travel coolers. We stow the cushions, close all the valves, make the boat look nice for our next visit and move everything we need to take home onto the dock.

Just as well, our next trip is on Friday, after Thanksgiving. Perhaps I'll complete the window treatments by then. I already have a small list of projects to complete over the weekend. I cannot spend the entire weekend socializing, eating, drinking and just taking it easy! 

Here's a short video of the anchorage
Lake Sylvia




See you on the water.