Out of “the ditch” and into Miami

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We spent two nights tied to our friends’ dock at their home on at Lighthouse Point. We so appreciated their generosity. We left there with fresh-laundered clothes and sheets, an empty holding tank, and topped-off water tanks. And although we witness low tide as “thin areas” sometimes become near sandbars, low and high tide doesn’t really affect us much at anchor. However, at the fixed dock, the 3-1/2 foot tide became very noticeable… as in sitting on the dock and slipping off to land on Thyme Hyssop & Wry’s side deck when at low tide.

We departed our friends’ dock early Wednesday morning and transited 5 bridges south to the Las Olas area. The City of Fort Lauderdale has a marina and small mooring field just south of the bridge and there was an open mooring available to us. However, the $35 mooring rate per night was a bit much for us, especially since I was in the mood to spend the rest of the day relaxing on the boat. We went on, past the famous Bahia Mar Yachting Center (VERY pricey; huge yachts) and then carefully, slowly, made our way into Lake Sylvia, a small “lake” off the ICW where, once you’re in, has a nice anchorage area. Apparently this area can be very crowded with anchored boats on the weekend, but we were only one of 7 boats anchored there that night. And it was a perfect staging spot for leaving first thing the next morning to make our way out the Port Everglades Inlet to “the outside.”

We left Lake Sylvia early Thursday morning with a rising tide, staying on the track we made to get into the anchorage. Ron gets oh-so-nervous about running aground (and apparently many boats are either running aground or having engine problems with the number of SeaTow boat calls we hear all the time here), but we made it out fine, never seeing less than 7 feet.

We motored out the inlet and into the Atlantic, unfurled our jib, and shut down the engine. Oh, what a wonderful feeling: no engine noise, just the sound of the water moving past our hull, our boat being pulled by the wind. The wind was light through most of the morning and it was a slow sail south along the coastline, and oh-so-nice! The sun and air were warm, the breeze was cooling; we couldn’t have asked for much more.

We had some excitement as we closed in on and entered Miami’s Government Cut that took us off the ocean. By late morning, winds had increased to about 12 knots, so we were making good time on a broad reach. As we jibed to enter the inlet, the winds suddenly piped up to about 18 knots; it was rather exciting getting our jib furled in the wind and waves that were shoving us broadside. And then, as we motored in the more protected water inside the seawalls, we began to see the wind gust to 24 knots. This was not in the forecast! However, the wind was less of a problem than a few bigass powerboat “cowboys” who came by us, throwing their 5-6 foot wakes. Fortunately, nothing on board broke and our cat had ensconced himself safely in the quarterberth, where he doesn’t get thrown around. I have to believe that these guys just have no idea the damage their wakes do to smaller vessels. They must never look behind to see the boats they pass wallowing in the wake they produce. And they wonder why some sailboaters feel such animosity towards powerboaters?

We made the long motor around to Monument Island, at Miami Beach. We are anchored here with nearly 20 other boats, both power and sail. There is easy access here to stores, and we will likely stay here a couple of days before moving to Coconut Grove on Biscayne Bay. East winds are forecast for the next several days, but we’ll have Ocean Reef to protect us from the easterly swells as we make our way to the Keys. –jes

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