Our Boat

Caloosa Spirit

Catalina 42 mkII

Log #45 Two If By Sea

No Name Harbor on Key Biscayne may conjure up an image of such a sleepy little anchorage so by-passed that it has never merited a moniker. Not even close. Little it is, but by-passed? Not by a long shot. This small harbor that feels crowded with 10 boats for neighbors hosts around 50 boats out of Miami, Coral Gables, and Coconut Grove on weekends. This evening we’re relieved to see the flood of humanity ebb back to their home ports in other parts of Biscayne Bay. This anchorage is definitely a “happenin’ place” on a Sunday afternoon, but we prefer to see a little less happen. Trying to keep up with the number of boats anchored and rafted anywhere near us took a lot of effort, and the noise was at times deafening. Anyone familiar with Allen’s Creek or Moore’s Creek on Lake Monroe can certainly appreciate the scene. The reward, though, is that we get to stay here while everyone else returns to their work-a-day world. Retirement sure beats employment.

No Name Harbor
No Name Harbor on a Sunday afternoon

Alice: The research is completed, and the test results are in. It’s official—I STILL GET SEASICK!! Today we had a short window to make the 30-mile trek to Ft. Lauderdale on the Atlantic with 15-20 knots from the southwest. If we didn’t go today, we’d be stuck at Key Biscayne with northerly winds for several more days. So we set off, even though the skies were overcast and rain was predicted after noon. I decided to try the passage without the benefit of Bonine, my usual seasickness preventive. I was hoping that—just maybe—I’ve spent enough time on the water by now that I had overcome or outgrown the mal de mer. Not so much. The winds and overcast skies weren’t a problem for me, but the 4-6 ft. seas did me in. Now, I don’t get so sick that I vomit over the rail or anything like that. I just get incapacitated by the notion that that’s what will happen if I move around much. So I’m useless as crew, in any case. The passage brought back not-so-fond memories of similar feelings upon making the same passage in our Catalina 25 some 20 years ago. That time, though, the passage was made by choice, rather than necessity. When I asked Jim then about going up the inside on the ICW, he declined, not wanting to pass through several draw bridges. This time, the ICW wasn’t an option, since we now have a mast too high for one of the fixed bridges. And the rain didn’t wait until after noon to hit us. Our computerized navigation led us directly to the Port Everglades cut, even when we had trouble seeing it. The winds did a good job of getting us to our destination in record time. We did 7-8 knots the whole way.

The best part was finding an open mooring ball at the Las Olas Mooring Field. We hadn’t been able to make a reservation for a slip prior to arriving, and anchorage in Ft. LahDeDah is not only almost non-existent, but limited to 24 hours. Picking up the mooring ball with no attached tether turned out to be an almost insurmountable challenge. Fortunately, Richard from m/v Xantho Roc dinghied over to help us get a line on the ball. We later dinghied over to once again thank him for helping us get tied up and secure, and got a tour of his and Gayle’s mini-houseboat. It looks more like a floating RV, and has just about as much room inside. They only use it a couple of months a year, so the size suits them fine. With only 3 ft. of draft and no mast, they can go almost anywhere on protected waters that they choose.

Getting a mooring (at $20 per night) will allow us to stay in Ft. Lauderdale for several days—something that would have been cost-prohibitive in a marina (somewhere in the vicinity of $50 and up per night). We’ll be making plans to visit Jim’s sister, Ann, and get our new mattress delivered, as well as taking care of a few other errands and chores.

A totally rainy day kept us aboard taking it easy. This mooring field is just south of the Las Olas Avenue bridge, so it’s interesting to see the vessels on the ICW that require a bridge opening. Some of them are huge mega-yachts over 100 ft. long, and I have to wonder why someone needs a boat that big. Maybe some people think our 42-ft. boat is big, but it doesn’t seem so when we spend a lot of time inside. I guess it’s all in the perspective.

Ft. Lauderdale mega-yacht
Ft. Lauderdale mega-yacht

Our new mattress got delivered this morning, and we were able to leave the dinghy on the mooring, pull up to one of the marina’s docks, and get back to the mooring without any Chinese fire drills. The mattress looks and fits great, and we’re eager to try it out. The rest of the day was spent visiting with Jim’s sister Ann and her daughter Amy and family. It’s been several years since we’ve seen any of them, so the opportunity to catch up was savored. Ann lives with Amy and her family in a lovely home about 10 miles west of the shore, so we sincerely appreciated their taxiing us back and forth for the visit. We hope that less time will pass before we see them again.

Yes, indeed, the mattress was worth the expense. Last night’s rest was like sleeping in a plush bed in a luxury hotel. We’ll definitely keep it.

We took a bike ride to get new cell phone batteries and some groceries. This was the first time we’ve used the bikes to transport groceries, so it was something of an experiment. But with each of us with a backpack and a bag strapped on the rear fender rack, it worked just fine. We still need to figure out how to put a crate or box on the rack, because that will make running errands even easier. Also, we really should get a speedometer of some sort, so that we can tell just how far we ride. Today’s trip was probably 4-5 miles each way.

Today we wanted to tour Ft. Lauderdale’s Riverwalk along the downtown section of New River. Landing the dinghy there really wasn’t an option, so we rode our bikes. It was a glorious day and warm, and the bike ride was fun. But by the time we got back, we had to remind ourselves that, the good exercise notwithstanding, we’re getting old. Two bike hikes in as many days could be overkill—hopefully, not literally.

Today was supposed to have been departure day for Lake Worth, but NOAA interfered again. The forecast winds were supposed to be 5-10 out of the north, which would have meant a long day’s motor. So we decided to wait one more day for the forecast 15-20 from the south tomorrow. Of course, today the winds were mostly out of the southeast, and it was a beautiful, warm day. Tomorrow will probably be cloudy, but we should fly up the coast—provided the NOAA forecast materializes, anyway. We’re learning that the weather forecast is often a crap shoot.

This morning we took a dinghy ride down the ICW to send a package at a UPS store. On the way we were once more awed by the size and magnitude of the palatial homes and yachts along the way in this community. It occurred to us, though, that we hardly ever see any persons inhabiting either the homes or the yachts. No one seems to be enjoying them on a regular basis. So what’s the purpose of spending the boatloads of money such opulence represents in that manner? Donating a hospital wing, funding a few scholarships, supporting an art exhibit, or making a hefty church contribution would all seem to be more productive uses for the money sunk into real estate and yacht brokerage around here. I know, I know. We’re just not imaginative enough to be mega-billionaires. That’s okay. We’ll stick with our “un-imaginative” cruising world.

Ft. Lauderdale home
Ft. Lauderdale home—or maybe a group home?

Every now and then we get just the right amount of wind from just the right direction to make a truly magnificent sailing experience come together. And then there’s too much of a good thing. For the 45-mile passage from Ft. Lauderdale to Lake Worth we got the forecast 15-20 from the south—and then some. 20-25 was more like it. We also got 4-7 ft. seas that rolled us constantly. We’ve seldom had such a lumpy ride. But I (Alice) didn’t get seasick! My Bonine worked its magic and I stayed relatively functional. I say relatively, because the constant rocking made moving about almost as difficult as feeling sick does. At least my stomach wasn’t complaining about the motion. We made the trek in just under 6 hours (thank you, God), traveling at 8-9 knots almost the whole way—about the last third under just the mainsail. The anemometer (wind meter) hit 29 knots as we came through Lake Worth inlet, and we virtually surfed down the breakers in the pass. With southerly winds at that speed the ICW in Lake Worth was downright frothy. We made it to the anchorage at the north end of the lake, and didn’t even have to back down on the anchor to set it. This evening the winds have diminished some, so we’re not bouncing too much. We expect to sit out the coming front tomorrow.

Morning rain notwithstanding, we had to move the boat when we realized we were sitting on the bottom. Our chosen spot didn’t have enough water to account for the tide, so we upped anchor and powered off the 5-ft. hump into deeper water. We should be set for a while in this new spot. The front dumped rain all day, so it was a quiet one spent inside. Corned beef and cabbage for dinner was our celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

Yesterday the skies finally cleared and we were able to get off the boat to explore this northern area of Lake Worth. It appears to be a popular anchorage, and the Publix and West Marine—not to mention the Dunkin’ Donuts—within easy walking distance are a real plus. We expect to be here for perhaps a week, mostly waiting for a package to arrive. I’m sure a week will be plenty long enough, but we also don’t want to head north any too soon. Someone told us it was still in the 40’s in St. Augustine. We plan to make the cruise a leisurely one.

Fair winds and a faithful wake until next time,
Alice & Jim Rutherford
s/v Caloosa Spirit

P. S. Don’t forget to look up Alice’s book, Reaching a Far Horizon, at www.lulu.com!

Posted Saturday March 19, 2005

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