Monday, June 9, 2014

Boca Raton to Palm Beach

N26°42.655’, W080°02.881’

We spent the morning in leisurely splendor.  We spent the evening congratulating ourselves on a day well planned.  Our decision to wait until Monday to leave was one of our best!  The hundreds, maybe thousands of motorboats of all sizes had gone home, leaving us with the ICW all to ourselves.

Bruce is Back to Normal

Even the Cats seem to like one another today...

Lake Worth seemed like a wilderness!
Eleven bridges lie between us and our anchorage just over twenty two miles North.   We got going just in time to wait for the first bridge.  Oops!  Guess we should have looked at the time before we pulled the anchor, because we just missed it and waited about 20 minutes.

The bridges went like this:
Palmetto Park - 9:30  2.6 miles to 
Spanish River - 10:00  4 miles to
Linton Blvd - 10:30  1.5 miles to
Atlantic Ave - 10:45  .9 miles to
George Bush - on demand  3.1 miles to
15th Ave - on demand  .8 miles to
Ocean Ave - 11:30  4 miles to 
Lantana - noon  2.2 miles to
Lake Ave - 12:45  4.1 miles to
Southern Blvd - 1:30  2.1 miles to 
Royal Park - 2:15  and we're there!

Either I've grown jaded to the wonder of the homes along the route, or I was just too busy negotiating bridges... but I've lost the will to take house pics!  Lucky you!  And lucky US because if we had the boat traffic today, that we had going into Boca Raton, our wits would have been frazzled by day's end.  

The weather was strange.  To begin with, there was a north wind.  A COOL north wind... in JUNE!  In South Florida!  How weird is that???

It was eerily hazy and quiet. The sound of our motor was accompanied by the sound of the occasional lawn mower, weed eater or leaf blower.  I guess Monday is yard day here in Palm Beach.

Clear on the water now but still cloudy ashore
We kind of made a game of the bridges to entertain ourselves.  We would put the chart plotter's cursor on the next bridge and let it calculate the time to arrival and adjust our speed accordingly.  If we arrive just in time, we don't have to spend as much time jockeying the boat's position against wind and current to keep it in place (I hate doing circles).  So, we got really good at sliding in just in time for the opening.  

You know when you've reached Lake Worth.  The waterway opens up to a wide area with lots of trees and small islets.  We left the home parade behind and felt like we were in the wilderness for a while.

We could see tall buildings in the distance growing closer and knew that they were our destination.  That last bridge was the worst.  We had 45 minutes to do 2. 1 miles.  Even on a sailboat, it is almost impossible to go that slow.  And with a favorable current, we actually had the throttle in neutral for a good portion of the way.  Even so, we ended up doing a couple of small loops while we waited.  I just couldn't hold position with wind and current both going our way.  

Royal Park Bridge is really a pretty one.  Our anchorage was within sight of it and I'm putting it out there as one of my favorites.  

We made the choice to anchor on the West side of the ICW.  There is an anchorage on the right side as well, but some talk of Locals preferring the area around the docks be left open for day traffic.  Because it was Monday and low season, we decided to risk it.  We found a spot between two boats already anchored, but didn't like our position so we moved.  

I motored around to check depths and found the perfect spot a bit further in.  This anchorage has a reputation for strong reversing current.  I hoped that it would be less if we moved further from the ICW.  

We don't have a lot of experience with such currents and wide tidal ranges.  These things are new to us and hold a certain amount of mystery.  We spent the afternoon relaxing and watching how the boats all went different directions with wind and current.  

The sun set, the tide reversed and we were still holding fine.  We've really been lucky to have had only one bad anchoring experience in our entire eight months of cruising.

As I said at the start of this post, we were  doing quite a bit of self-congratulation right about now.  Our decision to slow down and do this a bit differently than we have from the start is really paying off.  We are enjoying each day more and I can really say that I can't remember ever being this relaxed and un-stressed.  Even the days we have multiple bridges are just another day and nothing to get ruffled about.  We LOVE anchoring out and are wondering why we stayed in so many marinas the first few months of our journey.  It really is nicer when you can put a bit of distance between yourself and the heat and biting bugs that can come with being near land.  Not to mention the added bonus of dealing with getting in to and out of an unfamiliar slip with unknown wind and current conditions...

We talked over our day and planned what things we wanted to do while we're here in Palm Beach.  We watched the lights come on and I felt like we could very well be sitting in the Corpus Christi Marina.  The view is similar, the City seems about the same size.  It made me nostalgic for home, but only a little.  We are enjoying our adventure out here, where every day is different from the one before, in ways we can't even imagine.  We are excited to be on our way up the East Coast.  We are still learning things but are getting more comfortable with it as each day passes.  Cruising life is good.

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