Thursday, June 20, 2024

Sailing Eximius to Miami

Sailing Eximius to Miami for Memorial Day Weekend

With the engine fixed, our sea trial was set for the trip down to Miami Florida over Memorial day weekend with the Hillsboro Inlet Sailing Club ( HISC ).

Our plan was to load the boat on Wednesday May 22nd. Then depart Thursday morning.

I prepared a quick and dirty Float Plan and sent it to our closest friends.

Thursday May 23rd 2024:
Eximius will be leaving the Dock in Fort Lauderdale approximately 08:45 Thursday May 23rd 2024
Crew - Paul & Peggy Alcock
Destination: Miami Stadium Marina
Route: North Fork of the New River - Port Everglades - South on the Atlantic Ocean - Government Cut of the Miami Inlet - ICW to Rickenbacker Causeway bridge - Miami Stadium Marina.
ETA by 16:00

Friday May 24th 2024 - Saturday May 25th 2024
Remain at Anchor at Miami Stadium Marina
Sunday May 26th.
Possible Day sail in North Biscayne Bay - returning to Miami Stadium Marina Sunday evening by 1800
Monday May 27th
Depart Miami Stadium Marina approximately 07:00
Destination - Eximius Dock in Fort Lauderdale
Route: Depart via Government Cut for Port Everglades via the Atlantic Ocean ( 2 miles out to catch the gulf steam ) to Port Everglades - New River - North Fork to dock.
ETA by 16:00

Attached is our Boat, Crew and Contact information from our Log Book.

The attachment was simply the front page of our boat's navigation log.

With the plan set, we reprovisioned the boat. I used the Cruising Planner Spreadsheet Cruising Planner Spreadsheet 

On Tuesday we went to the boat and finished cleaning up the cabin after the engine work. Turned the Fridges on and headed home. 

Wednesday we loaded the boat with both the Non-Perishables, Perishables and Drinks.

Thursday morning we left the dock as planned, running a little late, but not a big issue.

Once out of Port Everglades, we turned south and actually had the sails up! Sailing Eximius !!

With the wind on the beam but only around 7 knots and 1 know of current on our nose, we were not making a lot of progress. The forecast had promised a wind increase later in the afternoon so we started to motor sail on just the Genoa. 

As expected, the wind did start to pick up but we were much closer to Miami and the Government Cut, so we just continued to motor sail, we did have a max speed of 8.25knots which is really not shabby.

As we approached the entrance to Government Cut Miami, we furled the Genoa and motored in on the turbulent waters until we got inside of the jetty when the waters really quieted down.

Now the long motor up the Government cut and then turn to port into Fisherman's Cut, past the car ferries and down the long dock where ships get loaded by those huge gantry cranes.  We slowed down to allow a huge lux yacht to pass us and the continued on till we got to the ICW just about opposite the Miami River.

Turning South to follow the ICW down to Rickenbacker Causeway bridge via the often very narrow channel bounded by really skinny waters. Once close to the bridge fenders, we turned and followed our previous track towards the Miami Stadium Marina.

We anchored just East of the Rusty Pelican and South of Luijo's Island in about 9' of water pretty much at low tide - good, we need 5'7" so we're good.

There were a few people on Luijo's island despite the notices indicating that the Island was closed.  We watched NBC 6 News on our Tablet and saw a segment reporting that Miami had shut down all of the spoil Islands due to the amount of trash that visitors were leaving on the islands.  

During the evening, a lot of charter boats anchored pretty close to us. They seemed to have a competition as to which boat had the loudest and most obnoxious 'Music'. I used the term 'Music' loosly as it did not match any of my preconceived concept of 'Music'  It was awful.  They played until 4am Friday Morning! 

Despite not sleeping well, we were up for breakfast at 7am. I cooked Fried Eggs, Ham and Tomatoes as well as Skillet toast. Of course, a big pot of coffee and Brie Cheese for the toast.

Friday was pretty much a repeat of the night before. I did raise the dinghy off of the foredeck and lower it to the water, then I installed our new Solar Shades hoping they would help cool the boat.

They were a total success. The temperature of the deck under the shades was at least 10ºF below that out side of the shades. I think it's a combination of the deck being shaded and the flow of wind under the shades when we swung into wind on our anchor.

The cabin was quire bearable when it was scorching hot outside in the Sun. We ran the AC, powered by the Generator and the cabin was a balmy 83ºF.

So I'll markup the Solar Shade as a Ten! The shade is a prototype made from inexpensive shade fabric. Version 2 will be made from Phifertex and it will be White, not 'Tarp Blue', I'll post a separate post on the Solar Shades.

During the day, three more boats from the HISC arrived. Alebrije 2 with Hector & Lucy, then Chasing Blue with Chip & Mariel and a couple of guests, and finally, Anam Cara with Halit & Arzu. 
Alebrije 2 dropped anchor just to the NW of the Stadium ( The Dotted Red Arrow ) 

Hector stopped by in his Puggy Dingy and advised that the noise was much less where he was anchored on Alebrije 2. We thought about it and decided to stay put, thinking that the noise would most likely expand as more charter boats moved into the area.  -- NOT --

We had prepared meals for on the boat with plenty to spare in case we had any guests come over. But for them it was a choice of come over to Eximius or go to one of the huge Catamarans - Hmmmm. 

Saturday morning we gave up, it was 4:30am when the last charter boat decided to leave the anchorage so we planned to shift our anchor to be closer to the Cats and Anam Cara.

The cruise plan was to have a picnic on the Luij's Island at lunchtime Saturday. Well the locals spoilt that option. The Island is tiny, could probably walk around it a low tide in about 10 minutes. It does have a nice beach area which would have been great for a picnic and the club is very good at doing picnics.  However, the City of Miami closed all of the spoil Islands in Biscayne bay ( including Luij's Island ) due to the amount of Litter that the locals were leaving on the islands. Apparently it's not a small problem. The news of the closure was announced on all of the local TV stations and there were Police boats in the area ensuring that the closure was being observed.  So - NO PICNIC.

Don't get me wrong. We really enjoyed getting the boat out and it was a very successful Sea Trial of Eximius after the past month of working on the engine etc. etc. We're already planning our next trip down to Biscayne Bay - it just won't involve a weekend night at Miami Stadium Marina.

We got a ride with Hector to the rafted Catamarans and had an awesome Luncheon with all of the others that arrived by car, they parked by the Stadium and were shuttled from the beach ( rocks ) to the Cats.  The HISC always have great 'Bring Something To Share' events. As always, there was more food than we could eat, not sure if anyone took pics of the lunch dishes but they were delicious. Sea Stories spread like flies although there were no bugs on the food!

After lunch, Chip ( Chasing Blue ) gave us a ride back to Eximius which was much closer now. and we took a well earned Nap hoping to catch up on the lack of sleep on Thursday & Friday.   --- Didn't happen! The Charter boats were back and they seemed to follow us to our new location, at least were not alone.

Sunday morning, Peggy & I rowed our dink over to the Cats and we shared breakfast - another BSTS event. Astrid drove down with a couple more guests and brought a gallon of DD Coffee. there were Bagels & Lox, Fruits, English Muffins, cream Cheese and lots of Coffee. Chip and Mariel did a great job of hosting the Breakfast.

The plan was for the Cats to go for a Day Sail after breakfast, however, the plan changed so that Alebrije 2 would remain on the anchor and Chasing Blue would host everyone for a day sail out to the Ocean in order to watch the Miami Air & Sea Show anchored outside of the restricted area. 

While they all headed out on Chasing Blue, we dinked back to our boat and setup the Air Conditioning and hid out of the Sun. We had put up our Deck Sun Shade on day one of the cruise but dropped it during the move further into the Marina area.  That Shade makes a huge difference! My plan is to make a final version soon so that our shade doesn't make the boat look like it's under a Tarp! 

Chasing Blue returned to the anchorage later, after we had hoisted our Dink onto the foredeck of Eximius. Chip managed to get some of this crew over to Alebrije without incident and we settled in for the evening with an early start planned for Monday morning.

When it cooled down, after dinner, I prepared the boat for an early dawn departure, set the alarm for 04:30am and we let the Generator run out of gasoline and left it off overnight. Other than the noisy neighbors partying long into the night, we slept well only getting awoken a couple of times by things bumping into the boat, probably coconut shells.

We made Coffee before 5am and I pulled the Anchor Snubber up as well as stowed the Anchor location ball. Peggy got up to the helm and started the Engine, we had our headsets on and so didn't have to talk too loudly as we passed the other boats still at anchor. The last Party Boat passed us just as were pulling the anchor.

Making our way out of the marina, we pretty well followed our track from Thursday. A non-event exit until we got to the ICW passage where it goes under the Rickenbacker bridge if we were going South, but were actually headed NW and that's where I lost the mark in the water and we motored too far to the West, towards shallow ground immediately West of the channel. Luckily, I realized it early enough that we did not go aground, but if you follow our track you'll see we moved too far west betwen 05:50am and 05:52am. Not an issue and the tide was coming in.

Navigating up the ICW from the bridge was pretty easy as long as we kept an eye out for the markers. Soon we were headed outbound in Fishermans Cut, past the early morning car ferrys and the huge freighter being guided inbound by Tugs. By the time we turned out of the Government Cut into the Ocean, it was full daylight and we could see that the sea state looked good, although there was not much wind.

Turning to the NW to head towards the Gulf Stream, we searched for wind, found none. We did hoist the sails for a while and managed 6knots for a while. By 08:30 the wind was dropping till eventually we Stowed the sails and went to motor. We called Alebrije and they were closer to Government Cut and still had wind but we could not see them.

We continued a leisurely motor all the way up to Port Everglades, turned into the port and began the final leg of the journey home.

By the time were got to the dock and unloaded, we were both done for the day.  Home, Shower, Change, Dinner and good night.  It's nearly always that way after a cruise. The good news that unloading the truck only takes about 20mins and that includes restocking cold food into the Fridge, other food into the Pantry, Laundry out of the bags and clean clothing back in our closets / bedroom.

A great weekend despite the noisy neighbors in Miami. Looking forward to going back down to Biscayne Bay, but certainly not into Miami Stadium Marina.

We really need to take more pictures and videos, but that's Peggy's Job. ( I'm sticking with that excuse ) 

See you on the water.