Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Weather forecast got it wrong!

It happens.

We set out on Monday for a week long trip that would take us down to Biscayne Bay to enjoy sailing in our old (previous boat) grounds. The forecast was East Winds through mid-week turning to southerlies at the end of the week. Perfect! We could have a reach all the way from Port Everglades down to Miami followed by a few lazy days in the north end of Biscayne Bay.

But the forecasts were WRONG! It Happens!
Monday night, as planned, we were at anchor in Lake Sylvia with the intent of heading out of Port Everglades early Tuesday (8ish). But Monday night the wind howled all night long, from the East as predicted, just much higher winds than expected. I guessed that the waters off the coast would be churned up from 12 hours of high winds and that would make for an uncomfortable ride down to Miami. So we decided to work on a few boat projects remaining at anchor in the lake till Wednesday... if the weather was ok.

Tuesday afternoon, buddies arrived from Miami at Lake Sylvia with reports of the winds already being from the South but not high enough to fill the sails running north. So they had motored all the way, about 50 miles. We enjoyed Dinner with them aboard Eximius and shared, as boaters do, ideas and stories of adventures past. 

There was virtually no wind Tuesday night! The cabin was sweaty despite have all ports open to encourage ventilation. We could have flashed up the Generator and turned on the Air Conditioning, but as that thought came to mind the wind picked up a bit. So sleep was fitful last night.

Wednesday morning and our buddies left early. As we had planned to for a week on the boat, we had plenty of provisions, including wine and liquors, gotta have my Rum! 

But by mid morning weather reports were forecasting nasty stuff in our location, in fact the radar was showing nasty stuff already out in the South West, a quick decision and we flashed up the engine and headed back to the slip.

We cut it a bit fine. The low water in Lake Sylvia can trap the unwary, but we kept away from the skinny bits. Heading up the New River with the Jungle Queen (JQ) behind us, we headed to the first bridge - SE 3rd Avenue. Called in our request for an opening and cleared with JQ who was ok if we lead the group of boats heading to the bridge.

Literally within sight of the bridge, our engine died! A quick call to JQ that was right behind us to inform them of our engine failure, we then slowly drifted over to the north east side of the new river and was able to tie up along side to secure the boat. Once secure, we restarted the engine and left it running a few minutes. Confident that all was now ok, we called into 3rd avenue bridge and advised them that we would like to take advantage of their next opening, it would be in just a few minutes due to outbound traffic. JQ was headed back down the river followed by a pretty big motor yacht. We cast off and held our place to allow the other boats to clear the bridge before we motored ahead and passed under the open bridge. As soon as we were clear and thanked the bridge tender, we called into Andrews Avenue Bridge requesting an opening. 

Andrews and 7th Avenue bridges opened pretty quickly and we were able to dance around the outbound traffic by the bends before each bridge. Then it was up past Coolies Landing and up towards the split in the New River and the last bridge in our course. 11th Avenue Swing Bridge was closed but ready to open and we didn't have to hang back as it opened up for us. We cleared the bridge passing a couple of Kayaks and headed towards out slip.

Turning up the canal that led to our slip, I prepared the boat to go alongside while Peggy helmed the boat slowly up the canal towards the slip that was on our Port Side. Our plan is to bring the boat to a stop as the bow is just past the first slip piling so that I can step off and secure the bow to allow the stern to drift around so that the boat is Stbd side to ready for our next departure.

As we came up to the first piling, I used the boat hook to cast a line over the piling and back to the boat, but the boat slithered to a stop before it reached the slip about 4 feet away. At first I thought that perhaps Peggy had misjudged the arrival, but it was not her doing, we were aground! I was able to pull the boat using the line around the piling and step onto the dock. Once the bow as tethered to the piling, I got back on-board, took a spare dock-line and went forwards and stepped off again. Now I used that long dock-line from the center cleat on board to the dock and heaved in to bring the boat around Stbd side too. Gray clouds were forming. 

By the time I had secured the boat and moved the spare fuel canisters from the boat to the slip, the first cooling spit of rain started. By the time I had all 4 fuel tanks in the back of the truck it was raining solidly. During the arrival, the boat hook had separated and half of it was floating in the river, but now was not the time to try and get it, mid river is about 25 feet away. 

Peggy was below after covering up the instruments, shutting down the engine and prepping our gear, bedding, clothing, food etc. to be carried ashore and put in the truck for the drive home. 
I took a line and went to the neighbors home as the book hook had floated near to their dock. After clearing with them that it was ok to go into their backyard to try and retrieve the pole, it only took a couple of minutes to snag the pole with my line and recover it before heading back to Eximius thanking the home owner as I left their property.

Now the rain was coming down with a vengeance! All of the ports on the boat were closed and we needed to wait it out. Peggy & I put together a lunch sandwich and an Ice Coffee (gotta love left over morning coffee with Ice!) while waiting for the rain to subside - this is Florida, wait 10 minutes and it will blow over - It might return, but rarely seems to last more than 10 minutes continuously.

Once the rain stopped, we hauled the important things, food, and phones, to the truck and joiined in the afternoon traffic on I95 for the journey home.

At home, it was raining to hard to unload the truck, so we left that till later.

So that was our 'Adventure' for this week, as I said at the start - It Happens!

See you on the water.

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