Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Rodriguez Key at anchor

We heard there was snow up north, really?
We got off at first light (7:15 am) Tuesday morning so we would have the high tide with us on the way out and also through Caesar Creek. The channel into Black Point marina runs for over a mile and it’s dug out to a depth of 10 feet. So far, so good. However, exactly at the exit of the channel is a spot marked 4 ft on the charts. Beyond that it’s 5 ft followed quickly by 6 ft and deeper. The exit procedure is to avoid the 4 ft spot by turning north or south. The last time I went north and saw 4.7 ft with a 1.5 ft tide so this time I decided to go south with a 1.9 ft tide. I cleared the shallows with a reading of 5.2 ft! I can only conclude that the tides somehow don’t reach there or the charts are wrong.

I had a similar problem exiting through Caesar Creek. There are two entrances, a northern branch or the main western entrance. The west entrance has a 4 ft spot (they seem to be popular in these parts…) so I thought I would try the northern entrance that claimed to have 5.5 to 6.0 ft. With a 2 ft tide, that ought to be a piece of cake. Wrong! The tide station in this case is in the middle of Caesar Creek so you would think it would be accurate. I barely cleared the entrance with a reading of 5.2 ft (and this with a 2 ft tide!) The exit on the gulf side is supposed to be deep so I was surprised to see a depth reading of 5.2 ft as I exited the channel! It seems you can never relax in these channels!

Birds are everywhere!
Sorry about all the detail but you tend to think a lot about depths down here. We were tooling along when all of a sudden our speed started to drop, a sure sign that we had picked up something on the rudder or keel. Looking back, sure enough, you could just see a shadow below the surface. As we slowed the boat, whatever it was dropped down out of reach. When we rev’ed up the engine again, it came back to the surface. I couldn’t reach it with the boat hook, too deep. So we had fun with this for ½ hour until it finally dropped off on its own accord. The rest of the way was uneventful.

At the anchorage, I dived to be sure there was nothing on the prop or rudder and found both clean. You could see the bottom and we (Matthew and I) inspected our anchor which had buried itself, no dragging tonight! Matt dived down to the anchor for a closer look.

We had intended to use Rodriguez Key for Hoolie relief but found that there was nowhere to land a dinghy, it’s all mangroves. They have a root system that extends out over the water and it’s impenetrable as far as land access is concerned. So we motored almost two miles to Rock Harbor and found a boat ramp for Hoolie. Wednesday it’s off to Marathon!