West Palm to Miami

American Junque Vessel or Live Aboard? - Lake Worth

Our trip to West Palm Beach, aka Lake Worthless was uneventful, with 7 opening bridges. Our short stay however, was not.  This would be a third time here and the first time only staying one night. The saying is “third time’s a charm.” Our version is “third time’s a drag.” Ooohhh.  We arrive before 3pm and begin our anchoring routine. Selection, assessment, final selection, drop anchor, let out some chain, let out more, assess holding, attach bridle if all is good, acknowledge that it is 5 o’clock somewhere. The first attempt did not produce a good hold so we moved a bit and got a good hold on the second.

Opposing wind and current are tough on an anchor’s ability to reset itself; some types of anchors can reset better than others. Our over-sized 80lb Rocna loves mud; sand, not as much apparently. Around 1 a.m. I woke up when the wind picked up from a benign 7kts to a brisk 14kts, which was not quite the forecast.  I had this uncomfortable feeling and checked the weather on the iPhone to see if the wind was predicted to die down. Yes, no matter the frequency of error by the National Weather Service or NOAA we still check, as though repeated checking will give the desired result. Hope does spring eternal when it comes to the weather.

Within minutes the anchor drag alarm sounded and Russ jumped up to turn on the chartplotter and check things out. I’d felt an odd vibration right before the alarm, so as much as we wanted it to be that we’d simply swung around 150 ft worth, I knew in my heart that Mr. Rocna had moved. How am I supposed to trust him in the Bahamas where sand, wind and current abound? Looked around. A visual check told us we’d moved which the chartplotter confirmed. Suspect the pull of the current required the anchor to reset and for some reason it didn’t rise, or I should say, lower, to the occasion.  Faced with two options, three if you count leaving, we opted to raise Mr Rocna and re-deposit him. Even though it was the middle of the night, we could see just fine with all the land and ship lights. After that was done, we babysat Mr. Badboy for ½ hour then crashed for the night… until 6:15 when the alarm sounded… on the iPhone – time to wake up.

The forecast for Tues was WNW/NW 10-15, seas 2-4 ft. We’d chosen Tuesday several days earlier as being a good day for the downwind run to Miami and by golly if the forecast still looked good on Tuesday morning. On the plus side, the wavelets –  oh how I love that word – were easy to take and the wind direction was excellent. If only there was more of it. We motor-sailed for the first few hours until the wind woke up and gave us nearly 3 hours of good sailing before we went back to motor-sailing. We needed to arrive at the Miami channel around 4pm which would put the current against us- bad- but if we could use the main ship channel, then we’d be able to head to our desired spot with a pre-dusk arrival time.

Can you find the cruise ship amongst the buildings?

An 80 sm trip in daylight does not leave room for dawdling. A few hours out we began hearing the Coast Guard’s announcements that only one cruise ship was in and boats were therefore allowed to use the main channel. Yes! Our ETA was going would be just past 4pm- perfect. Dropped the main just before entering the channel and began the 75 minute trip to Belle Island.

The area was fairly quiet, the few usual small ferries between Fisher Island and the MacArthur Causeway and not much else to worry about. The cruise ship was small and cute.

One cruise ship allows passage in Miami

Dropped anchor at 5:15 with a prayer- more like an admonishment- that Mr. Rocna behave himself. Tomorrow was filled with promise- a brand new Fresh Market and a Publix only a block apart, a very short walk from the dinghy dock.

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