Well, we really liked our anchorage in Ft. Pierce. It had all the attributes I value. Free, 12 ft of water, nice weather and good cell and WiFi signals from Verizon. There were five or six boats in the anchorage and during our stay I gained some sympathy about Florida residents not always appreciating cruising boaters. Many lovely condos no more than 0.1nm on shore and we just pull up in their paradise and drop the hook. When we lived in Colorado we had open space and trails behind our home and at times we just hated it due to its use. This seems similar. We will try to be considerate of the people who reside here. We are their guests! We lazed around four days waiting for weather to do the jump to Miami. The western edge of gulf stream is four miles offshore from Ft. Pierce down to Miami Beach. The weather that caused us to wait was 20-25 kts North winds with 8-10 ft waves with a period of 4-5 seconds. I believe Capt Jim, yes you Privette, would urge us to wait. We almost always take council from either Capt. Jim or Scout the weather dog. The weather we choose to go out on was winds from the South 10-15 kts with 4-6ft seas and 8 second period. Nice when the gulf stream and the wind are in the same direction.
Boats at anchor in Ft. Pierce FL.
12/16/12 0600 hrs Ft. Pierce Anchorage
I’m up first to start the coffee. No automatic Mr Coffee machine when you’re living off house batteries over four days. Heat the water, wait…..wait the tea kettle whistles now pour the water….wait…wait. Twenty minutes later we have coffee. Thats all I did for twenty minutes. Frankly, at 0600 thats all I good for! Lattes are a long distant memory of being coddled by Starbucks! We both have coffee and dress for the work of the morning. Bringing up the anchor and getting out to sea. By 0730 hours Judy has pulled the anchor and hosed down both the rode and anchor while bringing it into to locker with our manual windlass. Its a vigorous morning task for her to bring in 120ft of chain and a 60lb anchor. Her reward is when she is done with this she can sit and enjoy the sites while I get us our to sea.
12/16/12 0930 hrs @ 27026’.060N 080013’.122 W
Finally, we’ve reached the outer safe water sea buoy and are ready to set course to Miami Beach. So I lay in a course of 1460 magnetic to deal with the westward curve into the Atlantic from here down to Miami Beach. This will put us either in the western edge of the gulf stream of nearby. If we choose a more southerly course we would be ashore with the boat . Not a good solution. Judy has been enjoying the ride and sites four about an hour but now she goes below to fix breakfast. We are in 6-10ft seas and doing a lot of rolling. The result is bars for breakfast. Our normal oatmeal and dried fruit and nuts will wait as a pleasure for another morning.
1600 hrs 12/16/12 @ 27005’.452N 079059’.974W @ 3.8 kts
We are definitely in the gulf stream at this point. The wind is on the nose and we’re motoring at 2800rpm’s. Normally our SOG, speed over ground, would be 5+kts. Gulf stream currents in this area are 2-3kts. We stop the engine to change fuel tanks and since the seas are really rolly its bars for dinner. Its been bars and water all day. YUM!
2300 hrs 12/16/12 @ 26040’.700 N 079055’.470W @ 3.3 kts
We as far east as we need to be so Judy lays in the new course of 1880 magnetic. Its straight to Miami Beach for another 14 hours. When I take over at 0200 we are rolling 200on either side of the centerline. I can’t head west enough to change our angle to the waves so I changed course by 200 to port and things are better.
1300 hrs 12/17/12 @ 25046’.477N 080005’.137W
FINALLY, the outer sea buoy for Miami Beach. As we are approaching it , about 2 miles from it, two huge coast guard cutters come screaming by us on the port side. They idle down at the entrance and remain there on station. The Miami welcome for some unlucky boat probably carrying drugs. I quietly go astern of them and head in. My afternoon with law enforcement is not yet complete! We cruise thru the inlet into “Government Cut” and I’m respecting the no wake speed. Judy is admiring the cruise liners down ahead of us. The radio crackles and its “white sailboat heading west coming in from the sea …..this is the Miami Harbor Patrol”. So I look around and to see if there are other white sailboats. Before I finish the survey the radio crackles again and its “white sailboat heading west coming in from the sea …..this is the Miami Harbor Patrol”! I acknowledge the call with our boats name. The radio bursts again with “ this is a closed security zone. Turn around and head east immediately” I acknowledge turn around and thank them for the warning. I also inquire about a alternate route and they reference a route to the south of us. So its check the charts motor out of government cut and choose the alternate route to our anchorage.
In the Miami Beach Inlet
Chart Plotter with the raycon signal, pinkish, at the safe water buoy.
After using a alternate route we reach our anchorage at 1500 hrs both tired. The first attempt is not successful but in the process we got a line caught in the propeller. YUK! YUK!# These are the ugly moments!*# I get ready to go in the water. OK ..goggles, shorts and a knife and I’m in the water. I can see the line wrapped around the prop shaft. No easy fix and I can not stay under long enough to do anything useful. Thank goodness for Tow Boat US. I reach them on the VHF to at least get us towed to a marina. They offer diving at $300 above their normal fee. Our insurance will pay for the call at probably 700-800 dollars but we opt for the diver also since we want to anchor.
At last, in the dark, we got the anchor down and secure. Next morning we head for our marina which is on the ICW. However as I’m approaching the last bridge I’m looking at the chart and it says 57 ft clearance fixed bridge. We contacted the marina and they told us the contractor made a mistake and yes its 57ft for clearance. We found a new marina. So we have been at the Miami Beach Marina for several days. We went to a dive shop nearby and I purchased a hookah diving system. It will allow me to dive beneath the boat or anchors etc without a diver.
We are now looking for a weather window to cross over to Bimini in the Bahamas. Probably this Sunday or Monday. Judy & I send to each of you our best thoughts. Have lovely holidays …Be well ….We miss you all. Pat