Saturday 28 Dec, Hollywood FL day 4: South Lake, Hollywood to Biscayne Bay, Miami FL
Today we make a move, but not before one last trip ashore. This time to the USPS office to ship the Sony camera, and one last visit to Publix for groceries shopping. Last decent food shopping till… who knows where we will next find good quality fresh produce.
Back at Cloudy we get ready for departure. The anchor comes up very muddy so by the time we wash the mud off the chain we miss the 12.30pm bridge opening. So we have to wait 30 minutes till the next opening. By 1pm we are out of South Lake and into the ICW towards Fort Lauderdale. It seems to be busy water traffic today, lots of boats speed passed us.
Today is the last opportunity we have to fuel up before leaving USA and we call Fort Lauderdale Marina to double check the depth at their fuel dock. We will be fine if we dock on the south end. Under the 17th street Bridge we go and it feels like a zoo. So many small power boats and tripper boats going in all directions.
As for the fuel dock, a large RIB is docked next to the fuel pump on the south end and for a while we wait for them to leave. But seems they are not going to, so we dock at the very end of the floating pontoon. Surprise surprise, the hose for the small nozzle doesn’t reach till there, so we redock, our anchor almost touching the RIB’s anchor. The pump doesn’t have any flow control, so as Glen finishes filling the fuel tank we have some diesel spillage on the deck. Luckily, he was ready with soapy water and paper towels like he always is. It’s the first time such accident happened.
The bridge opened just as we finished paying, so we miss this opening. Yet another 30 minutes delay till the next opening. We motor up on the channel, and admire the surroundings. Nice properties all along the water’s edge… such a shame we couldn’t dock in New River.
With the 2.30pm bridge opening we are out of the ICW and head out to sea. Not a nice welcome we get. The wind is touching 20kts and there are big waves which are coming straight over the bow, flooding the deck. Hm, I didn’t miss that at all. We bash like that till we are out of the channel, and as we turn south the waves are slamming us full on the side, making everything rattle down below and us gripping for dear life.
Time to put the sails out. As we try to unfurl the main it gets stuck. No matter how many times we try to furl-unfurl, it just doesn’t come out. Normally, Glen goes by the mast and pulls it out as I unfurl from the pedestal. But with this waves I don’t want him on the deck.
So we carry on with engine and cutter only till Cloudy gets slightly more stable. Then he is out on the deck assisting the mainsail and eventually we manage to get it out. But not before he gets soaked by the waves coming over the deck.
It’s a bit wild, rough seas and wind in front of the beam. With this sail configuration we are doing 7kts boat speed, a bit slow for this wind. So soon we switch to reefed genoa and our speed picks up. We have 30nm to go like this.
For the next hour there is lots of activity on the VHF radio. A cruise liner has a medical emergency onboard and the coast guard is organizing the medvac.
As we progress in our journey Glen comments how impressive Miami Beach skyline is, but by that stage I am on the cockpit floor feeling seasick, so I don’t even glance up.
It’s already dark when we are coming into the Biscayne Bay channel. Luckily, the sea has calmed down behind the reef. We approach the channel carefully, as it is very shallow, and we try to keep in the middle of it. 4m, then 3m and we see as shallow as 2.8m. After that the depth goes back up to 4-5m and remains there.
Most of the channel markers are not lit and it’s hard to see them in the pitch black. We also pass some sort of establishments, huts built on stilts.
There are several other anchor lights in Biscayne Bay and we join them anchoring in 3.4m. It’s a very dark night and the only thing we see is the lights ashore. And in the distance, the bright Miami Downtown beautiful skyline reminds us of Dubai. Oh, I really miss Dubai.
After nice hot showers we finally get to eat for today. Over dinner we debate once more where we go next, Cuba or Bahamas, and still couldn’t reach a decision. So we go to bed thoughtful.