Chapter IV, Part 4. South to Miami
Chapter IV: Tarpon Springs, Florida to Marathon, Florida, plus 20 miles (cont.)
Part 4. Days 16 to 18: South to Miami
Mar. 11, 2004 (Thur.), Day 16
After bringing both anchors aboard this morning we proceeded east until we came to the Atlantic ICW at about 11:30 am. Until now on this journey we have been passing green markers on our starboard or right side and red markers on our port or left side. Now that we are traveling south on the ICW the markers are reversed with green on the port and red on the starboard. This has seemed strange to me but I think I am getting used to this change after half a day.
At about 3:00 pm we decided to take a break for lunch and stopped at a marina fuel dock for fuel and walked a short distance for a green salad and chicken sandwich. This was in the town of Jupiter, Florida.
We passed several bridges today, some of which had enough clearance for us to pass under and several that had to be raised for us. Sometimes, depending on automobile traffic load, they will open a bridge on request and sometimes if auto traffic is heavy they only open on schedule, usually 15 or 20 minute intervals. We are now anchored in Lake Worth, with 25 or 30 other boats, most of which are sailboats, which is near North Palm Beach. We motored 32 miles today. No sign of mosquitoes tonight.
Mar. 12, 2004 (Fri.), Day 17
Sailing would have been possible today except for one thing, and that was too many bridges to wait for opening. I have literally lost count of the number of draw bridges. It seems that we no sooner pass through one bridge and the next one is in sight or just around the next bend. Most bridges only open on a schedule. We arrived at one bridge at one minute past the hour and had to circle for fourteen minutes for the next scheduled opening. At another bridge we arrived at five minutes past the hour and had to circle for 25 minutes for the next scheduled opening. We traveled from bridge to bridge with two other sailboats for a while today until we stopped at an abandoned dock and Robin walked about 1/3 mile to a market for more groceries while I stayed with Spirit Song for security reasons.
Today we passed by many multi-million-dollar homes, some of which had multi-million-dollar yachts docked in front of them. We also passed by many 10- to 20-story apartment complexes. We are now anchored in a small lake called Santa Barbara Lake in the town of Pompano Beach, Florida. We motored 46 miles today. The weather was good today with a light breeze to keep the temperature down.
Mar. 13, 2004 (Sat.), Day 18
Robin and I started off this morning with very smooth going because there were no other boats moving on the ICW for the first half hour. When we were being passed by larger displacement power boat hulls the original wake was only temporary. But, because we were in a narrow channel with seawalls on either side, the energy would reflect back and forth for several minutes. This created a choppy ride.
Again, we encountered several more draw bridges. When approaching a drawbridge with less than 36’ clearance the following procedure was used. First we had to approach the bridge close enough to find the name of the bridge with our binoculars. This is not easy as the name was located in various places on the bridge or not at all. Second, we would use the transceiver on channel 9 to contact the bridge tender. A typical contact would go something like this: “Sunrise Blvd. Bridge, this is sailing vessel Spirit Song southbound requesting an opening.” The bridge tender would respond with something like this: “Spirit Song, this is Sunrise Bridge. I see you – come on down and I will open for you.” Or “Spirit Song – this is Sunrise Bridge – My next opening is in 7 minutes.” We saw six cruise ships docked at Fort Lauderdale and four more docked at Miami, this being the Saturday turnaround day. About 2:30 pm we left the ICW and tied up at the Miami City Dock which is at a large shopping mall. We telephoned home, purchased a meal, and a little light shopping.
We are now anchored in the same general area with many other boats. We sat in the cockpit of our boat for several hours and watched the sunset, the Miami skyline lights come on, and the many aircraft leaving the Miami airport. We motored 37 miles today.
We noticed with amazement when entering the north end of Biscayne Bay that the water turned an emerald green and appeared to be clearer than previously seen on this journey. Robin saw our first Atlantic dolphin today.