After a month in the Ft. Lauderdale area, and over two weeks at Harbour Towne Marina, we were provisioned, cleaned, and maintenanced, and it was time to blow that Popsicle stand. This outside run in the ocean was one we felt perfectly comfortable with, as we’d done the same route back in March when we first got the boat, so it was as easy as picking up our track from then and copying that exact same route on the Garmin. Also, we didn’t have much of a choice as there is one fixed bridge in the Miami area that is too low for our mast!
We didn’t expect it to be a long day so we took our time that morning, and slipped out of the marina around 9:45. As we headed down the Dania Cutoff Canal, two things struck us immediately – 1. The engines were so much quieter than they’d ever been, and 2. we we’re zipping along at 6 knots despite the fact the engines weren’t at full throttle and the current was supposed to be against us. We just kept looking at each other in disbelief – how could this be possible? I guess the prop and hull cleaning, plus the engine tune up, really did do wonders! It wasn’t cheap but it was so worth it. Thank you Just Catamarans!
We glided out the Port Everglades inlet under sunny skies and light winds, just enough breeze to unfurl the jib. We noticed a few kooky things with the Garmin but Brian busted out the iPad and we had that recalibrated in no time. The only other thing that had me a little freaked was when the depth finder stopped registering – it’s been so long since we’ve been in deep water that we nearly forgot how deep it has to be to stop picking up and were a little concerned it might be malfunctioning (P.S. It stops picking up around 500 feet, was all better once we moved to shallower waters).
We did slow down to under 5 knots for a little while, which we figured had to be due to brushing up against the west wall of the Gulf Stream. However it felt so good to be out, that for a change it didn’t bother us in the least. We knew we’d arrive before sunset, and we knew where we were going, and we weren’t in a rush – such a nice change from those long days on the ICW.
We were anchored safely using our new Christmas present (60 lb. Manson Supreme, aka “Archie II” until we come up with a better name for him – we’re big on alliteration on this boat) in the open shallow area outside No Name Harbor at the tip of Key Biscayne by 4. A lot of people don’t like anchoring there as you get a lot of wakes from the inconsiderate, speeding powerboats, and you do, but they were nothing compared to the two weeks we spent on the hook in Lettuce Lake (Pompano Beach), and judging from the many masts we spied over the tree line in the harbor itself, we figured it might be a wee bit tight for Summer in there.
The next morning we decided to get an early start for the mooring balls at Dinner Key Marina in Coconut Grove, as there was a band of showers heading our way. An hour later we were snugged up to a ball, had plans to meet our friends on Uncle B as well as Brian’s dad for lunch, and by noon we were testing out the free launch service the mooring field offers.
Had a great day catching up, and that evening we started scouring the forecasts for crossing to Bimini. It’s not as simple as pulling up your Weather Channel app on the iPhone – we consult a myriad of sources to determine what the marine forecast might hold. We signed up for Chris Parker emails (the “weather god” for some cruisers, jury’s still out on what we think) and when they get delivered at 4 PM we scroll down to what he says about the crossing windows. Then we look at NOAA’s forecast and a few other wind apps we have on the iDevices and think about it. He declared Thursday a good day to go, and so on Tuesday after a few beers with lunch we thought, ok, let’s go for it.
Woke up Wednesday, and since the plan was to leave that day to anchor out, we looked at each other, and decided we were so not in the mood to rush to get fuel and provisions and laundry done before 3 and then take off. So we put off our departure and got Thai food instead.
Since we decided Thursday was not the day, it seemed that Monday would definitely be the one – the forecasts and the other folks in the mooring field pretty much cemented it. We were thrilled, it gave us a few more days to chill out and relax, and take our time getting things done. We were digging Coconut Grove as there were plenty of places to eat and shop within walking distance. Also, my dad was going to be in the area, and he’s never seen the boat, so I was very excited to show it off to him. So we relaxed for a few days, took our time doing the necessary errands, and got a chance to catch up with our friends on Uncle B and Lasata – Adam from Uncle B even caught a few nice sized fish from our deck!
Today (Sunday) we woke up early and headed into land to get a final delicious breakfast at the place we’d discovered with my dad on Friday, final land showers, and a few last provisions (yup, we’ve gotten great at getting a case of beer in each of our backpacks). Called the credit card companies, booked a marina in Bimini, and headed out from Dinner Key to No Name Harbor. We’re here with Lasata and Journey and probably 10 other boats, all waiting to make the crossing. The plan is to leave around 5, and we’re hoping and praying it takes us about 8-10 hours or so. Weather looks ideal!
I’ll probably post our location with the InReach on my Facebook page at some point, and you can also see us on AIS as we go (I know my mom will be stalking us that way – sorry Mom!). Once we’re over there, I have no idea if I’ll be able to update the blog all that regularly, but updating our Facebook page should be easier, so please go on over and visit us at Summertime Rolls!
In the meantime, a few photos from our trip to Miami and stay in Coconut Grove…