January 2003
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 We finally cut the lines at Ft. Pierce and started heading south. We spent the first night (Jan 14) in an anchorage across from downtown Ft. Pierce. It was great to be back on the hook.   Once we dropped the anchor we started the Genset and ran the watermaker for the first time. Everything worked great. We had a beautiful sunset over the City Marina to go with our Sundowner.  Then we cooked a steak and had a great dinner. The next morning we were up early so that we could get started as soon as light broke. The morning was cool with a north wind 15 to 20 knots that made a trip on the outside kind of rough so we motored down the ICW to Lake Worth at West Palm.  We had a set appointment at the Rybovich Spencer yard in West Palm to clean our forward fuel tank. We had not used it in a long time and diesel fuel likes to grow bacteria that clogs up the fuel filters so we needed to get the old fuel out, the tank cleaned and fresh fuel put in. The Rybovich Spenser yard is know for servicing big boats. When we arrived we were put along side a 122 ft yacht. There were many yachts over 100 ft including a 155 ft NAVI an Italian built yacht that looks like a spaceship. Two boats over was Jimmy Buffet's 65 ft sport fishing boat.

The tech was to show up on Thursday but got stuck on another boat so it was Friday morning before he showed up. By 2 pm he had us cleaned up. We were going to go to the north anchorage and visit some friends but with a pending cold front coming in we decided to stay put for the weekend. A good idea. The temps dropped into the 30's Friday and Saturday nights. Monday morning we bleed the fuel line from the forward tank and then moved out to the south anchorage to get ready to move south. Over the weekend our computer had a meeting with a cup of coffee so we were without e-mail and our navigation software. We arrived at the south anchorage around 1400, good timing.  As it turned out Tuesday was going to be one of the few windows to cross to the Bahamas. There had been about 50 boats waiting for up to 3 weeks for a window so they started moving down to the south anchorage for an early morning start. Among them was our friends from Atlanta Robert and Carolyn on Gypsy Common. By the time we set off for some sleep 30 boats had joined us in the anchorage.  The south anchorage is at the inlet so it makes a quick way to get to the ocean.

 We were up at 0230 Tuesday, hauled the anchor and were on our way by 0300.  The wind was out of the west at 10 and the temp was about 45 degrees. By noon it was close to 70 degrees and the wind had stopped blowing.  The trip was smooth and uneventful.  Our autopilot quit working so we had to steer the whole way arriving at Miami's Government Cut at 1300. When we arrived at Government Cut we lucked out as the docks were clear of cruise ships and we were able to motor down the cruise ship channel shortening the trip to the anchorage by an hour.  Since 9-11, the Coast Guard closes the channel when the cruise ships or military ships are at the dock.

We anchored next to George & Linda on Lady Lanaka (they were on E dock at Harbortown). Our location is halfway between Miami & Miami Beach just off the Venetian Causeway east of San Marino Island.  A well protected anchorage with 8 to 10 feet of water. From the anchorage we have a 10 min dink ride to Miami Beach and 8 min to Miami. Wednesday we went into Miami Beach. There is a channel that we can motor up and tie the dink to a cable and walk to Public's Grocery right across the street. Thursday we went into MB and did laundry. By the time we headed back to the boat the wind had picked up to around 20 as the cold front came in so we had a interesting ride (wet) back to Vilkas as well as a rock and rolling night.  Friday we awoke to around 38 degrees so we fired up the genny and turned on some heat.  It warmed up to all of 52 degrees Friday.  Saturday & Sunday it warmed back up to more normal temps.

There are alot of boats anchored in the area waiting on a window to the Bahamas. George & Linda left Ft. Pierce Jan 1 and are still waiting as well as Lyn & Linda on Cheasepeake who we also met at Harbortown. We will all probable cross together when a window shows up.  Right now there are no windows through this weekend with winds out of the north or strong out of the east although it will be warming up to normal south Florida weather.

Another cold front is to come through Saturday.

As we wait I will work on some more projects.  I ordered a high output alternator that should arrive on Thursday and I need to fix the autopilot. We also purchased a new laptop so we are back in business for e-mails.  I ran the diagnostics on the Dell and found that it has a stuck key and will need a new keyboard. I bought an external keyboard and it allows me to use the old laptop although it sometimes does funny things.  I will have to have the keyboard replaced. 

We will then us it as a back-up.

It is great to be on the anchor and to start seeing new places. When the window opens we will leave until then we will enjoy where we are. 

Thursday Jan 29

 The High output Alternator came in on Wednesday so I got it installed and then fixed the wiring. Our batteries appear to be coming back to normal. We will know better Tomorrow.  Also found a loose ground wire to the autopilot and it appears to be working fine.

 

First Night Out