Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Osprey Marina – Dinner Out Tonight

They Stack'm High Down Here
The winds are piping up to 20 to 25 kts on the nose, the waves are coming off the ocean slapping against the side of the boat, the fairway has narrowed to a red and green spaced only about 100 feet apart and you’ve read warnings about shoaling at Lockwood’s Folly (what an appropriate name!). As I head toward the bull’s eye target between the red and green buoys, a catamaran is racing for the same spot coming in the opposide direction and appears to be arriving at about the same time! Naturally I’m headed for the right side of the fairway, the red side and he appears to be headed for the same spot! Something’s got to give. Since going outside the buoys here is a certain grounding, I either have to maintain my course in the hope that he takes the proper side of the fairway (the left side for a boat going in that direction) or swerve in front of the catamaran to cross over, a risky procedure. For some reason they have someone up on the bow (perhaps they saw us then?) and they finally move to the other side of the fairway and we make it through okay, whew! We saw 7.8 ft at high tide. At low tide that would have been 3.9 feet – a grounding right in the ICW channel!!

No, running the ICW is not relaxing some of the time, especially when passing by inlets which tend to shoal no matter what the Corps of Engineers do to keep them clear. Then there are the peaceful times when you motoring down a wide, calm fairway by beautiful homes and golf courses, mile after mile, that’s relaxing. There’s just enough spice to keep things interesting.

The Famous Pontoon Bridge - Opens on the Hour (Usually)
This morning we left at 8:00 with some wind blowing into the marina and were in very tight quarters. Fleetwing, when lying sideways, just about fit between the two lanes of boats with very little room to spare. You had to pirouette the boat to get it turned which involves turning the boat in its own length (without a bow thruster!) It involves cranking the wheel as if to turn to starboard, put it in reverse, the prop walk causes the aft to go to port, the bow then turns to starboard, you then give it a burst of forward thrust with the wheel locked for a starboard turn, more reverse when you get too close to the boat on one side of the lane, the prop walk continues turning the bow to starboard, another burst forward which further turns the bow, etc. until you’re pointed in the direction you want to go. The boat moves perhaps 5 to 10 feet at most fore and aft but it turns 90 to 180 degrees as desired. It’s a must have skill in the tight quarters down here. Ann wants to learn it too and we’ll practice it in bigger spaces before execution in a tight marina.

We’re at the Osprey Marina tonight where one of the attractions is a free ride into town to an Italian restaurant which we took advantage of. It was a treat for the cook after a long day and the meal was great. It turned out that the chef was from New Jersey as was the waiter. The place was packed but we arrived early enough for a good table. The marina here was very compact and I had to once again execute a pirouette turn to get into my slip. They have a pet alligator that comes out once and awhile to sun himself but we didn’t see him. Ann and Hoolie didn’t go far tonight for Hoolie relief! It will be a shorter day Wednesday.