Monday, April 24, 2017

Searching for the Easter Bunny

Easter Spring Fling Cruise

The HISC planned to have this year's Easter Cruise (to be the Spring Fling Cruise from now on) at Lake Sylvia, however, there have been an increased number of liveaboards and visiting cruisers in the lake and that would make anchoring an additional 10 to 15 boats a bit of a squeeze. So the cruise planners moved it to Lake Sunrise, but then realized that it's Sunrise Bay. Nothing like a bit of confusion to get folks started on the search for the Easter Bunny.

Tides

As it happens, the weekend - April 14th to April 16th was a  rare one for us in that the tide suited us at both our departure from the dock on Friday and return on the Sunday.

Planning

As we were going to be able to leave the dock before lunch Friday and get back after lunch on Sunday, we had one dinner and one breakfast to take with us. The club was having a BYOA (Bring your own Appetiser) which normally translates, to 'You probably won't need to eat dinner after that'
So we took Oats for 2 days (just in case) and a Chicken Cacciatore for the Friday Night and a spare meal of pulled pork in tomato sauce. Plus a few bottles of wine, some Tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese for the appetizer which I would put together onboard Saturday afternoon. Oh, a bottle of Rum in case we had any guests along with our usual crates of water, V8, G2 and Ginger Ale. That should cope with anyone stopping by.

Beware the Bridges

It was an easy motor down the New River until we got to the FEC Railroad bridge which was down for maintenance and could only be opened via a Crane on the South side of the  bridge. We called the tender and asked for an opening. Their response was that the bridge had just closed and it would be 10 minutes before they could open it again. I advised them that I would do a few donuts in Sailboat Bend to kill the time, to which they replied - They'll open the bridge sooner if they can see me. 
So we did a couple of donuts at sailboat bend and then turned towards the bridge. At that time of the Friday morning, there were few people about at the bend, but there was a family preparing for a Kayak tour which seem pretty popular in that area.
We turned towards the bridge and could see the Crane attached to the South end of the span and as soon as they saw us, the supervisor started blowing his whistle to instruct the workers to clear the bridge for raising. It took less than 10 minutes for them to clear the bridge and raise it. Because of the crane attachment, they could open it partway, so we had to hug the south bridge fender to ensure our mast cleared the crane and raised span. I didn't hesitate in passing through once their supervisor signaled it was ok by a few more blast on his whistle and the 'come on down' arm signals.

Heading up to Sunrise Bay

We had spoken with Pam Angel & Dave LeGrow of Sjöfn and expected they would be at the Bay this afternoon too, so we kept our ears tuned for their calls to the bridges as we continued our motor up the Sunrise Bay. Passing Los Boulevard bridge with the current carrying us towards Sunrise Blvd Bridge, we had an easy motor up to the Bay. On arrival, Peggy took the helm while I prepared the Anchor and as we came into view of the Bay, I could see that Diversion was already at anchor in pretty much their usual spot. It's funny how we are all creatures of habit, we too looked for our spot on the GPS and dropped anchor, backed down on it hard before taking sightings to look for in case we were drifting. Time to put up the sun shade and the wind break (dodger window) and make some lunch.

Arrivals and Returns

Since we arrived, Sjöfn, Affection, Endeavour, Glory Daze, Always, and a bunch of other HISC members arrived. Socializing is easy with this group, a short dink ride over to another boat is all it takes, everyone is welcome.
A few months ago, I ran out of Olive Oil during my prep of Breakfast. We tied up alongside Diversion, so I popped my head out of the cabin and asked Joyce if she had any spare olive oil - Joyce gave me the remnants of her bottle. I have been carrying around a really nice bottle of EVOO since then to give back with gratitude. So I dinked over to their boat and returned the favor. One of the many things learned is always return something borrowed in better condition than when it was received. Joyce was happy crew 😊

Party time

We've been members of the HISC for about 2 1/2 years now, and one thing we figured out from participating in the Club Cruises is 'Come Early and Come Hungry!' The come early part is what we learned when we dilly dallied arriving at one event 20 minutes late with a delicious tray of roasted shrimp. By the time we got there, most of the food was gone. The come hungry part is - well, most members bring enough food for eight people, so there's lots of food! 
Today we prepared our Appetizer early and arrived at the host boats with a bunch of other members, we had to take turns in arrving - like a skyfull of aircraft waiting to land.
The host boats did the club proud! Lots of food plus everything that the members brought over, and plenty of appropriate drinks. Food eaten, Drinks drunk, Stories were told, and friendships gained. 
When Peggy was getting into the dink, it moved away, she got her butt wet. But no harm done, even the water was warm. We got back to Eximius and both dried off. 
We didn't sleep so good, the wind was chugging along and our VHF radio woke us up around 11pm and at Midnight. But! No anchor dragging, no bumps in the middle of the night. 

Sunday Brunch

The club catered a Sunday Brunch  aboard the host boats. So we had a light breakfast of Oats and made up a thermos of Coffee then headed over to the host boats.
It was time for the Easter Hat Contest. Not sure who won, but Pam Angel stood out. There were peep shoes, Pink Cocktails and a crowd chatting aboard the boats. Always a great group, and if you want to talk sailing, there's always interest and input. Love this bunch.

Wrapping up

We didn't have to be the first to break away from the event for a change, so we stayed in the Bay till after Noon, then, after watching the most of the other boats head out, we pulled anchor just as Always was pulling their's. Peggy motored us out of the Bay and south the few hundred yards to the Sunrise Blvd Bridge and we called for the bridge opening. Always was astern of us as we motored down the ICW towards Los Olas Bridge. Always peeled off just North of the bridge and we only had to wait a few minutes to pass under the bridge and thank the tender for the opening.
Then it was the usual motor south to past Bahia Mar and West towards Sand Bar Park. Just as expected, our speed changed as we moved from the flow of the IntraCoastal into the flow of the New River, but when it changed we also heard a significant change in the engine. Our RPM stayed the same but our speed dropped by over a knot. 
First thought was - Must be a stronger ebb current than expected - OR we have something around the prop! I dropped the engine RPM and shifted into Neutral intent upon a short burst in reverse to try and clear any tangles but when the engine stalled. Worst, we're in the channel North of Sandbar Park which is only about 50' wide and no engine! I tell Peggy that I'm going to drop the anchor and dash up front. Quickly releasing the anchor and lowing with the chain in hand over hand. The anchor bites the bottom, boy! does it bite! I am barely able to keep hold of the chain. Luckily it was still wet from hauling up in Sunrise Bay, so it does not burn my bare hands (normally I wear my gloves when working the anchor) - It drags out harder, this is getting scary! I manage to get the chain around the Boat Cleat and bring the chain to a stop. Turning back to the stern to see if I can get the engine running, I realize Peggy already has it going and is in gear! That explains a lot! Quick shift into Neutral and take a breather. 
I explain what took place, Peggy had not realized I was actually setting the anchor - NOTE TO SELF - make sure everyone knows whats happening and what not to do! 
We used Prop wash and to turn the stern to Stbd and take the strain off the anchor. I pulled it back in and we were on our way, although it was obvious that something was not right. I just hoped we had not damaged our Prop.

Didn't slip up today

Unlike our last return to the slip, I didn't nearly fall off the dock! Peggy made a perfect come alongside and we quickly prepared to load the truck. We're getting this process down! By the time I had the lines in place, power cord setup and secured, dink washed down and topside ready for inspection (sorry, a flash back to my Navy Days) Peggy had the cabin bagged up and ready to take ashore.

Note to self

Need to get a diver to clean the bottom and inspect the Prop & Shaft!


See you on the Water.

Paul