Saturday, March 17, 2012

Ft Lauderdale - At a mooring

Lined up in Miami - calm before the rough exit through the inlet!
Since we didn't have far to go we had a leisurely breakfast and hauled anchor about 9:00 am. Along the way the Coast Guard warned that when two cruiseships are transiting the inlet at the same time, the inlet will be closed to all other traffic! Fortunately, we were able to get out before the cruiseships left. What we did not figure on was the outgoing tide, about 2 kts and the incoming waves, about 3 ft. The current transformed the waves into squares! Our bow would plunge into the trough between the waves crests and cut off the top of the following wave which would then wash down the length of the top deck - all accomplished with a resounding pound (boom!!) and a wild action on the helm. It was the roughest stretch of water I've ever been in, much rougher than Hell Gate or the East River. After a while I tried to avoid some of the worse of the waves, you could see down into a "hole" in the water as a trough passed by, about 4 ft down. After what seemed like forever (about 20 min) I was able to turn north and escape the inlet. The water was the usual sea wave action, nothing at all like the inlet! Wow. Next time I'll pay more attention to whether the current is outgoing or not when exiting an inlet. By the time we approached Ft Lauderdale, the tide had changed and the inlet had incoming current, the inlet was relatively smooth except for passing boats which showed no mercy - but that's normal wave action when there's no current, not a problem.

Lots and lots of spring breakers
At Ft Lauderdale we like to take a mooring by the bridge to the beach. There are only 7 moorings available and we were afraid that they would all be taken on a Saturday but they were not. In fact, there are still three empty moorings even now at 8:00 pm. It's a three block walk to the beach from the dinghy dock at the marina so we ventured forth to see the spring breakers. What a crowd! The beach was packed, wall to wall kids! It was too crowded to walk Hoolie so we headed back to the boat.

The mooring field here is right next to a bridge that opens ever half hour so there's lots of car traffic but it's surprisingly little wake action since all the boat slow down for the bridge. On Sunday we'll head north to Palm Beach Yacht Center for two days and visit with Joe Mastri before heading further north.