Friday, November 20, 2015

Ft Pierce to Palm Beach, FL

Sunrise Ft Pierce, N Bridge Anchorage
Day 1:  I have my first big boat "bite".  The night before we were scheduled to leave Vero, I went up on the bow to scrub the growth off the bottom of the kayak (without shoes on--stupid). I'm usually pretty careful on the trampoline.  I am very aware of the gap between the boat and the frame, perfect for things like boat hooks, kindles and sunglasses to go overboard. However, while scrubbing, I stepped back and my leg went between the metal bar that holds the trampoline and the deck. I landed on my butt, leg stuck just below the knee. Luckily, The Captain was also up on the bow. I quickly said, "cut it!"  It hurt, like slam-the door-on-your-finger, hurt. The trampoline is secured by paracord. The Captain hesitated ("I don't know how to retie it that tight."). He tried pulling on my leg. CUT IT!  "Is it broken?"  No.  I was able to get up and walk around and put weight on it but was immediately sent to our berth so I could elevate it.  He momentarily chastised me for not having my knife in my pocket (stupid), then brought me an ice pack, ibuprofen, my kindle and an adult beverage.  I was actually starting to enjoy the Captain waiting on me--he made steak with mushroom & onions, served with mashed potatoes for dinner and kept my sippy cup full, but also liked to poke my bruise (to verify the extent of injury? Jerk.  He seemed disappointed it didn't turn more black).


Hubby, can you make me a snack?
By morning, the whole right side of my calf had bruised up nicely and was sore and swollen.  I could still bend the knee and stand on it, but lifting it up hurt a little (no marching--strained muscle). I could still get up & down the steps. I was able to get in & out of the dinghy for a "last shower" in Vero before we departed ("Can you get a handicap sticker for a dinghy?").  Luckily, I can put my feet up while at the helm. Husband is starting to look for driftwood so he can whittle a peg leg "It will give you more credibility". Moral of the story:  Always wear shoes on a boat. Always have your knife in your pocket. Don't get complacent, especially when the boat is stopped, especially at the end of the day.  This also didn't bode well for the kayak. The Captain always grumbles about dropping it in the water, because it's a hassle to secure before outside runs. So after the "incident", when I suggested throwing it in the water, the answer was NO!

Does my calf look fat?  The Captain is planning a peg leg...

It was a short hop on the ICW from Vero to an the anchorage outside Crackerboy marina. Unfortunately, we've officially reached the land of S Florida and rude power-boaters. At one point, we were "waked" so hard Amelia the Cat's water spilled (and it's survived two outside passages).  I tend to avoid yelling at these idiots on the radio because, they probably aren't listening to the radio, & probably wouldn't hear me over the obnoxious loud, music.  I couldn't even give them a salute, because I was too busy holding on!

Overheard in the cockpit:  "Is that a crab pot in the middle of the channel?"
"No, it's a coconut." 
"Oh, yeah. I need a machete."
Where do you buy a machete?  Amazon? 

After clearing the Ft. Pierce North Bridge and anchoring on the other side, I was lounging in the cockpit when I heard screeching car brakes.  I looked up to see car past the gate that stops traffic for bridge openings. Then he reversed into gate. NOW, they can't open bridge or allow traffic across.  The Police showed up (and gave the offender a escort off the bridge!) and started directing traffic across. However, it was over an hour before the 3 circling sailboats, fighting the current, were allowed through. 

Stats:  Total time 2:15, avg speed 5.2 kts, total mileage 11.7 NM, motored

Day 2:  Why do all marinas have trains?  This one goes through every morning about 4:00 am.   We could also hear the paging system from the boatyard and got the occasional wake from the Sportfisher's heading for inlet. Then another cat anchored on top of us.  Ridiculous.  We must look silly from the ICW.  Three catamarans clustered together in a big anchorage.  (They stopped by on their way into the marina in their dinghy.  "Are we parked too close?  People get weird."  Yeah, because you anchor too close!)

"What's wrong with this bouy?"  (It's on the wrong side of the driveway.  Bahahahaha)  Trespassing on the vacant lot.

Day 3:  A friend recommended an anchorage around the corner that might be quieter over the weekend, with the added bonus of blocking us from the forecast 20 kt winds. There was supposed to be room for 6+ boats, but three were already anchored down the middle, so we snuggled our way in and dropped anchor. (Yep, we're THAT guy. Sorry catamaran friend, but you'll swing with us.)  So quiet. Peaceful. We didn't even want to start our portable generator to charge the batteries. Until our boat neighbor put up a noisy wind generator, then got out the circular saw.  Then their little, yippy dog started barking at us, so I barked back.  Game on.  Then The Captain referred to their dinghy as a pool toy. As the sun set, we heard a live band coming from the beach side, so we sat out on the trampoline after dark and listened to the music (no bugs, too cold). Very few of the houses had lights on, so it looks like a seasonal neighborhood.  We still had a nice breeze in the hatches for sleeping.

Stats:  (our shortest trip?). Total time 0:40, avg speed 4.1 kts, total mileage 2.75 NM, motored

Day 4: It was a little cooler. It's been unseasonably warm in Florida (85F instead of 80F with low's only around 75F). I know--WHAAAAAAHHH!  We had another lazy day of reading and playing on the internet. There is private marina here, but no public dinghy access. After lunch, we heard numerous motorcycles and live music nearby.  It turns out, the A1A runs by here, so we followed the guidebook (and a fellow cruiser) over to a boat ramp on an abandoned lot. From hear, it was a short walk to the beach, a park, and numerous bars. It was nice to get off the boat, stretch our legs, and not have to cook a meal. The forecast winds started kicking and by midnight it was gusting to 30. The protected cove meant the water was smooth (no bouncy castle and sloshing water tanks) but you could hear the wind HOWL through the open hatches. Not my best night sleep but the anchor held like a champ.  

Day 5:  The wind has shifted from the north to the east. We're moderately close to the docks with this wind direction. However, even more troubling, the catamaran next to us seems to have dropped back to us and appears closer (funny you never think you could be the one that's dragging). Time to go.  We motored 0.8 miles back out to the sheltered anchorage outside the condos.  Another first:  Anchorage number three and we're still in the same town!

Stats:  Total time 0:13, avg speed 3.7 kts, total mileage 0.8 NM (nope, this is the shortest trip!). 1301.1 mileage to date

We were hoping for an outside run down the coast (thus staying close to the inlet) but the forecast was for building winds and seas, so tomorrow we'll motor down the ICW a little farther.  Dang it.

Motorsailing out of Ft. Pierce, FL

Day 6:  After bopping from anchorage to anchorage, we depart on Monday morning by 7:30 am. It's an overcast, dreary day, but at least we're able to put up the genoa and motorsail.  This isn't a particularly scenic or protected section of the ICW, but at least the current is behind us. Several boats were lined up behind us most of the day.  We make the turn for Stuart, FL and "Manatee Pocket" a protected anchorage snuggled amongst numerous powerboat marinas and bars. It's a tricky entrance and shallow anchorage, so we're hopeful of finding a spot. We're wrong. No room at the inn. After a long circle around (and through) the anchorage, we decide to bail. It's only 11:30. We just spent a weekend anchored too close to other boats.  We agree to move on. There weren't a lot of options between here and Lake Worth, but after a long discussion, we pull into the next viable anchorage. Peck Lake is large, protected from the east wind and two other boats have already anchored. It's looks shallow on the chart, but we elect to trust our guidebook and reviews from other cruisers. We actually end up with more water than the Captain wanted--14 ft just means more chain he has to put out. ("What's 14 times 7?"  Yeow!")  Good stop, but we were too lazy to walk over to the beach.

Our "secret" anchorage.  Charts claim it's 2 ft.  Active Captain says 7 ft.  It's really 14 ft!  But don't tell anyone...
Anchor north of G19 & tower

We cobble together a gourmet dinner with what we have onboard--grilled chicken served over cheese polenta topped with sautéed mushrooms (he was going to make hot dogs!)

Stats:  Total time 5:05, avg speed 5.1 kts, total mileage 26.1 NM, motored sailed 3/4

Day 7:  Anchor is up by 7:30 am and we head south on the ICW again. Lake Worth/Palm Beach was our intended destination for crossing over. There is a possible weather window on Thursday. Winds would be out of the south, but the waves would be out of the east (from the weeks worth of strong easterly winds). The would put us bow first into forecast 1-2 ft waves. Our least comfortable rides have been on the Chesapeake and Ocracoke in those conditions. We decide to treat ourselves to a marina tonight. We need showers(!), to scrub the deck, equalize/top the batteries, laundry, defrost the fridge on shore power and a quick grocery run. We had 7 bridges today (it's even worse south of here), 3 on demand, 4 scheduled--2 requiring 6 kts to make the next opening (which, for us, is a good day)--without a 20 kt wind in our face. The bridges stress My Captain out, on top of the fact that the cat's health has been deteriorating this week.  (Me:  "We missed the opening?  I'm going to make us a snack").

As we clear the last bridge: 
First Mate:  "There's our marina."
Captain:  "Huh?"
First Mate:  "We're in the catamaran slip in front of the motor yacht with a side tie."
Captain:  "WHAT?"

Luckily, a very friendly and proficient dockmaster was there to greet us. (It turns out the wind blew us gently onto the dock, even after the SOP-one-engine-died.  "I have no idea how we're going to get out of here if the wind doesn't shift.")

Seriously.  The marina is RIGHT AFTER the bridge.

The first day my "boat bite" didn't need ibuprofen or to put my leg up. 

Disadvantage of a marina--We're starboard side to the dock with fenders up against the pilings. That's the same side of the boat as our berth. Squeak, squeak, squeak. And 2 ft tide makes a surprising jump to the bathroom in the morning. 

Uh, oh. It's a West Marine supercenter. Then a charter bus shows up to drop off a group for the motor yacht behind us.  (There were at least 4 Captain's--guys in white shirts with epaulets.  They backed out of the marina and down the channel, in the dark, into a strong current.  Hmmmmm).  (

Parked in the entrance channel.  Gonna need to do a 180 to depart.

After getting up early for espresso, quick showers, and last minute web-surfing, we briefed our departure. We needed to spring off the dock (wood pilings, concrete fixed dock) and do a 180 in the entrance channel to exit the marina. The east wind that had been pinning us to the dock eased up. Textbook. "Some days, it actually looks like we know what we're doing."  It's short motor around the corner to North Lake Worth anchorage. I was a little anxious because this can be full and we don't have a lot of other options. However, we saw several possibilities and as we discuss our spot, another cruiser waves. Thanks. I needed that. 

Stats:  Total time 4:23, avg speed 4.4 kts, total mileage 19 NM, motored


  1. Sorry to read about your boat bite. Good you can laugh through the pain.

  2. Hope you heal fast and can get back to 100% soon. I am not sure how a shoe wold have prevented that unless the shoe added just enough width to keep it from slipping into the gap.