Sunday, December 12, 2010

The New River-Fort Lauderdale, Florida

We had a nice trip down the Florida coastline yesterday. The seas were rather large but spread out enough so they didn't affect the ride too much. We saw hundreds of small, medium and large boats engaged in fishing and scuba diving along the way.

New Aero-Aquatic Travel Option

We approached the inlet at Port Everglades just at noon and passed through into the harbor. After refueling we made our way up to the New River. There were hundreds of boats in here too! Evidently it was the day for the parade of lights contest and show. There were boats of all kinds decorated with Xmas lights etc and corporate logos. One even had an airplane mounted on a barge. Kelly will post some of her pictures I'm sure.

Here Comes Santa Claus

As we moved upstream the waterway became quite narrow (about 100 feet at most) with all kinds of waterfront development. At the same time small push boats were maneuvering a gigantic sailboat of at least 75 feet upriver because apparently it was too large to motor under its own power. There was a large three decked tour boat of about the same length and at least 30' in the beam being pushed upstream too. All this plus dozens of smaller vessels of various sizes were darting in and out of the line of northbound boats. The whole process took us about an hour or so to go less than two miles. We passed through several bascule bridges and finally arrived at our slip.

Sailboat Getting a Helping Hand
Captain John was at the slip as promised to help us with lines etc and Susan the property owner was there as well. TOYS was finally at her home for the winter after over a thousand miles and ten days underway. All in all it was a great trip and captain & crew enjoyed the experience.

One Size Fits All

I will be publishing a new blog to chronicle Toys adventures when her owner and guests take trips aboard this great boat.

Captain David

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Joyous Moments!

Day Ten-Saturday Dec 11-Last Leg to FLL

It's a great morning!  We are experiencing some real "Florida" weather.  The temperature is in the 60s and clear skies overhead.   It is supposed to get to the high 70s by noon.   We plan to exit the ditch at the St Lucie inlet and motor down to Ft Lauderdale on the outside.   It is about 80 miles to the entrance to the harbor there and maybe another five miles or so up the New River to the slip.   We will stop along the way and top off the fuel tanks and pump out.   I need to get in touch with Captain John Yeager this am to make arrangements to meet him later today and discuss a few ideas and get a list of competent vendors to do maintenance on Toys when needed.  He is a charter captain and lives in the area.  

More to follow later on.

Capt David

Friday, December 10, 2010

Scenes from St. Augustine

Sites of Old Town St. A.

Ponce de Leon hotel - now Flagler College

Cobblestone Side Street

Another Day, Another Bridge!

Dressed for the Holidays

Our Fave Polish-Greek Cafe

Tile Mosaic Bus Stop

Day Nine-Friday Dec 10

 Friday Evening....
We arrived in Stuart this afternoon about 4:00.   Today's run down the "ditch" was really enjoyable.   There were only one or two bridges to deal with and not many areas with restricted speeds.   The sun was warm and temps got up to the 70s.  We were able to clean of isinglass bridge windows while underway. They get coated with salt etc  making it difficult to see nav aids and other boats.   We covered about 120 miles in great conditions. Toys has performed well the whole trip and today was no exception.  Great boat! Kelly Jo made a video of several dolphins playing in our bow wave.   She will try and post the video on the blog tomorrow for all to see. 

Tonight we went to Mario's (a local family style Italian restaurant) with Beth's sister and her family.   Great food and great company.  Everyone came back carrying a box of much food!

Tomorrow morning we will exit the "ditch" at the St Lucie inlet and make our final leg to Fort Lauderdale and Toy's winter home.   With any luck we should be there by early afternoon.   Gloria has generously arranged to provide a car for us to use while at the slip.   THANKS GLORIA!!!  Once we get the boat tied up and secure we need to start a complete cleaning process so the boat will be in tip top condition for next weekend. 

I hear it snowed up in Maryland today.......

Captain David

We looked closely at the conditions out in the Atlantic this morning and have decided to run inside for a least a few hours.   The winds are still in the 20's and the waves are in the six foot range.   This would not be a comfortable ride.   Overall this weather pattern has added two or three days to our schedule.  Running inside the "ditch" is slow going but safer for boat and crew.  We are now at mile marker 875.  Fort Lauderdale is at 1065 just a little less than 200 miles away now.  We will probably stop one more time in the West Palm area before making it to our final destination in the New River on Sunday.

So this morning we will wash off the soot that blew down from the forest fire yesterday evening.   Take our time getting out to the first bridge (NASA Highway Bridge) which does not open until 8:00am.  Then continue south and monitor conditions on the outside for an opportunity to duck out and make better time.   We still plan to be in Stuart tonight at the Loggerhead Marina.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Day Eight-Continued-Titusville, Fla

The boat is in Titusville, Fla tonight at a small marina called Kennedy Point Marina.   Snug fit for sure.   We did have a small mishap when entering the slip.   We have been running with the outriggers in the lowered position for transiting the bridges and one of the small lines attached to the top blew over the outboard pile (25 kts of crosswind) and bent the top 5'of the outrigger.   I'm sure it can be repaired but I am distressed that it happened on my watch.   The boat itself is fine.  I will post a snapshot of the condition so Gloria will understand what is involved.

Outrigger that Caught on Out-most Piling

Back about 10 miles or so there was a huge forest fire burning away. Smoke was pluming up about 1000 feet at least.  There we helicopters over flying the area evidently dropping water onto the flames.   We are downwind of the fire and the soot and smoke is making its way down to us with the help of strong winds.  We will have to give the boat a good rinse before we leave in the morning in order to keep from tracking the soot into the interior of the boat.

It was a good decision to stay inside today as the winds were up to 25kts with gusts to 30kts.   Must have been really serious out in the Atlantic.  Nevertheless we covered about 120 miles which is good progress given all the bridges and slow traffic to pass.

Tomorrow the winds will be out of the northeast early blowing pretty hard.   I believe we will start out inside the "ditch".   As we pass the inlets we can can peek out and see if it is passable later in the day.   We will be in Stuart tomorrow at the Loggerhead Marina of Stuart.   Hopefully we will get to have a brief visit with family then.

Although we can make much head way offshore and it's much less tedious than cruising down the ditch, I enjoy the scenery along the way in the ditch. I find it quite the learning experience traveling inland. First of all, I didn't realize how many people live along the ICW and how boating is not just a recreational activity for some but for many. Commercial traffic is also heavy. I grew up in the wild waters of Prince William Sound, Alaska. It never occurred to me that there was an inland nautical scene. Secondly, traveling through the ICW is a great learning experience. I desire to get my captain's license and traveling these waters can be pretty intense. Who knew? I thought, oh easy...but there are many things to constantly pay attention to such as dramatic depth variations, other vessels, navigation aids, bridges, locks, swift currents, weather, etc. All of these things we have to constantly be aware of. Today the sun beamed so brightly off the water, I found it difficult to discern between navigational aid and regulatory aids...making it trying to stay in the channel. A good captain has to juggle many things at once!

I'm not really sure where we are...I feel like we are in the middle of nowhere. It smells like a burning forest. However, I'm on the water, so I'm not far from home.

---Kelly Jo

Day Eight-Dec 9-Leaving St Augustine

We had hoped to continue our trip on the outside down towards Stuart.   However, the forecast today is for northerly winds building to over 20kts with seas 6' and building.   So, we will drive down the "ditch" today and make as much way south as possible.   No plans for tonight's marina yet.   We will wait to see how far we get before making that decision.